Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What It Means For Your Weekend

Since Tom is expecting me to stay on top of Arrested Development news, I might as well link to this column, which helpfully offers a status report on all the rumors flying around:

Fiction: The show has already been snapped up by Showtime to the tune of a 26-episode order, which will be announced any day. Fact: Showtime's hands are tied, pending a decision by "Arrested's" creator and executive producer, Mitch Hurwitz, who is said to be physically and mentally drained and undecided whether he wants to come back for more.

Fiction: FX is also in the bidding for "Arrested Development." Fact: There is no bidding. ABC was once in the mix but is thought to have dropped out, leaving it a Showtime-or-nobody proposition.

Fiction: Hurwitz can take his time making a decision because the actors and writers love the job so much they'll wait it out. Fact: Contractually, Hurwitz has basically until June to go forward (or not). After that, he loses most of the cast and writing staff.

Fiction: If Hurwitz wants to keep the show in production, Showtime is on board no matter what. Fact: The word is that Hurwitz would require huge wads of cash to be lured back, and there are surely limits to Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt's largesse (even at the "No Limits" network). But if a deal can be worked out, the cabler is apparently indeed on board to commit to 26 new originals over two seasons.

Hurwitz -- difficult to snare for interviews over the past year and pretty much impossible lately -- couldn't be reached for comment, while Showtime merely confirmed its ongoing interest in the property. But it's as easy to see this thing falling apart as coming together, given the guru's ambivalence and the fact an agreement would require Showtime to lay out upwards of $60 million for a series with iffy mainstream appeal at best.

After all the drama of the last couple years, I'm too exhausted to hang any strong emotion on the outcome one way or another. And while it would be great to see the show continue, the show's semi-finale on Fox is a dignified, reasonably satisfying ending that would make it easier to accept the show not returning.

But for now it's all still up in the air.

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