***So unfortunate (and understandable) HBO pulled the plug on Luck, three episodes into filming of its second season, due to the furor over three horses injured (two first season, one two weeks ago) and euthanized. Wanted this drama to succeed so bad, because it showcased the world of horse racing in a unique way, and for the talent involved, from executive producers Michael Mann and David Milch to Dustin Hoffman and the all-star cast. Somehow, I sense that PETA, an organization often using over-the-top, shock tactics to make its case for more humane animal treatment, would never let a horse racing drama fly under any circumstance, despite the best efforts by HBO, Luck‘s production team, and the American Humane Association’s effort to take maximum precautions. What PETA doesn’t get is that horse racing, like any sport involving animals or humans, runs the risk of injury, and sad to say where horses are concerned, injuries in many cases lead to them being put humanely out of their misery. This happens often–and in the case of the third Luck horse casulty, the injury happened out of nowhere, off the track. PETA’s idea of using stock racing footage for the real thing (their suggestion to HBO) is unrealistic, and viewers would spot it in a heartbeat. All that said, Mann, Milch and company made a big mistake by not going public after the second horse was euthanized to acknowledge the situation, spell out what precautions were taken in the first place, and what would be done going forward when the second season went into production, with consultation from both PETA and AHA. Like Johnson & Johnson years ago with Tylenol, they would be better off a step ahead of the issue, instead of way behind.
***So disappointed with The Rosie Show getting the ax at Oprah Winfrey Network five months into its run. When you introduce a live talk/variety hour at 7 p.m., the same hour as Wheel Of Fortune, Jeopardy! and entertainment news series, chances were it would take a long while for people to drop their long-standing viewing habits and come over. Rosie gave it a fair try, and couldn’t work things out. At the same time, perhaps what audience the program did have and lost week-by-week communicated that in their eyes, fair or not, Rosie O’Donnell couldn’t go back home to being TV’s “Queen Of Nice” again.
***So excited about Comcast finally on square one with its independent/diversity network project, announcing the first quartet of networks selected, and BabyFirst Americas, the first of that quartet, launching April 1. Great move on Comcast’s part to bring all of the nets together in public so soon for a Washington D.C. ceremony, attended by more than 950 people. Love to see a repeat here in New York for the press and advertiser crowds before Aspire, Magic Johnson’s venture, is up next, turning the switch this summer.
***So frustrated another worthwhile event doesn’t pay attention to the calendar and risks losing valuable audience in return. TechCrunch’s two-year-old Disrupt conference, always good to find startups with interactive TV applications, and another place to make the case for greater participation by venture capitalists, angel investors and incubator/accelerator involvement in TV investments, is up against The Cable Show in Boston that week. This follows Internet Week NY’s horrendous upgrade from early June to mid-May, smack into a super-crowded TV upfront period. Still don’t get why IW, having a great time period to stage its expanding carnival of attractions, couldn’t stay put. As for TechCrunch, all of those startups with TV prospects could have used that mid-May time to exhibit at The Cable Show, or participate in that event’s Imagine Park showcase. Great opportunity gone to pot.
***So blown away by Discovery Channel’s Frozen Planet, which started its limited run last Sunday night. The production team behind such Discovery miniseries as Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Life have done it spectacularly again. If one minute you watch doesn’t put the breath on hold, the next minute will. Jet let your eyes and soul follow the journey, while the producers make room on their mantlepieces for well-deserved Emmy and Peabody awards.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!