Studio 60

It says a lot for the current state of New Zealand television industry when one of the best scripted and performed drama programmes on our screens right now is 20+ year old M*A*S*H.

Wedged between a sitcom and drama series weekdays at 11:30am, TV3 has been running through the entire series of M*A*S*H in order (except for missing a season a couple months ago, so Radar and Frank Burns left twice). It has been the last bastion of taste and the golden days of television for anyone else having an early lunch.

Jamie Farr who played cross-dressing Corporal Maxwell Klinger said earlier this year he still thinks M*A*S*H could wipe the floor with anything else on American TV at the moment. America is clearly not the only battlefront they can accomplish this on.

Re-fried drivel oozes from every pore of prime time television in this country. There is nothing real, heroic, inspirational or even tasteful in the largest proportion of what is pushed down our viewing throats.

Jud Hirsch’s character mirrored this sentiment in the tirade he launches in the first scene of “Studio 60 on Sunset Strip’s” debut on Thursday night.

Ironically, this new series by the creator of the fantastic, multi award winning “West Wing” and lesser known, but still wonderful “Sports Night” was relegated to an abysmal 10:30 at night.

Why? Were the programme directors scared that more people like me would watch it, understand the poignancy of that opening scene and start a revolt against the cheap dirge that has been pushed too far for too long?

For it’s first three series West Wing held a good prime time spot, before sneakily being put on later and later until not even the VCRs were still awake for it’s final season during which M*A*S*H’s Alan Alda featured as the leading Republican nominee for president.

One of the last episodes was filmed live to air as Alda and the Democratic nominee, played by Jimmy Smits squared off. This method, very seldom used in this genre, ushered the series in this country quietly into oblivion.

Some major changes need to be made to the content of television and the ideology of those who make it in this country. Otherwise when the final episode of M*A*S*H rolls around once again soon and we too say “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” to true “reality” in New Zealand television.

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip
Thursday June 21, 10.30pm

Aaron Sorkin’s (The West Wing) daring comedic drama – Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, launching Thursday June 21 at 10.30pm – exposes the politics, personalities and pandemonium of producing a flagship series on a major television network.

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip weds Emmy Award-winning writer/producer Aaron Sorkin’s crackling dialogue with a stellar cast, including Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet. The series begins when the beleaguered executive producer of a long-running late-night sketch-comedy series interrupts the live broadcast and has a meltdown on air. The network launches into full-scale damage control and shrewd and self-confident network president Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) scrambles to make things right. She squares off against the chairman (Steven Weber) to rehire a brilliant, unpredictable writer/producer team Matt Albie and Danny Trip (Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford) – who had left the show years ago under a cloud of controversy. Together, with the brilliant cast of the show, they have to bring Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip back from the brink.
Series star Amanda Peet says it was the impressive script that made her go for the role of sassy studio executive Jordan McDeere. “When I read the script, I was just floored. I’d been looking for a really good role in a really good script, which is very hard to come by unless you’re, you know, Naomi Watts,” she says.

“So I was like, ‘This is really, really, really good. But I’m not sure I should pursue it and blah, blah, blah.’ And afterward, my fiancé – who’s a writer – he read it. Then he walked into the room holding the script, and he looked like he’d been shot. He said, ‘This is one of the best things I’ve ever read’.”

She was ecstatic that she landed the part. “To be picked by Aaron Sorkin is such an honour. I’m only hoping to follow in the footsteps of Allison Janney and Felicity Huffman. That’s my goal.” She is also pleased to be working with former co-star Matthew Perry again. “He’s been a dear friend since we did The Whole Ten Yards. And over the years he was always saying, ‘We should do a TV show like Moonlighting together’. And both of us would laugh and go, ‘Oh, maybe eventually that’ll happen’. So when this happened we were laughing and saying – in our wildest dreams – we could have never imagined a scenario that was this amazing.”

Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip premieres Thursday, June 21, at 10.30pm on TV2.

Starts Thursday 21 June 10.30pm, on

Behind the humour of producing a popular late-night comedy sketch show is a world of backstage politics and romances, and a very delicate balance between creative talent, personalities and executives.

Ryan Sproull recommends watching “Children of Men” and “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” when it screens here and blogs about the state of TV in NZ:

“But that doesn’t stop Rebecca Loos from being a “celebrity” on “Celebrity” Treasure Island. She is not a celebrity, Matthew Ridge is a prime munter, Touchdown is the devil, and TVNZ pimps this stuff out to Kiwi viewers who don’t know any better and are knowing less by the second.

“To New Zealanders, this unique and special responsibility means quality television that educates, informs and entertains through local home-grown programming and the best of international programming.”

It just felt appropriate to quote the TVNZ website there. Why is this on my mind? Because Studio 60 is to American television what The West Wing is to American politics. It says, “Imagine a world where people shaping that world had slightly more integrity than they do in the real world.”

After much speculation, NBC ordered a full season’s worth of episodes for “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” the critically praised drama whose poor ratings placed it on the brink of cancellation.

Sources said NBC will pay the show’s producer, Warner Bros. Television, a lower license fee for the nine additional episodes than they negotiated for the initial 13 episodes, which was said to be in the range of $2.5 million to $3 million per episode.

NBC and Warner Bros. TV declined comment. “Studio 60,” from “West Wing” mastermind Aaron Sorkin, is set behind the scenes of a late-night sketch comedy show. It stars Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford and Amanda Peet.

Airing behind the breakout new hit of the season, “Heroes,” “Studio 60” got off to a promising start, but the ratings quickly fell. This week, the series averaged 7.7 million viewers overall and finished third in the hour.

I was checking out TradeMe, and discovered this.
It is a DVD with two episodes of programmes, that are to be aired on TVNZ next year.
So, if your into buying TVNZ branded DVD’s, here we go.


edit: I found these as well. Theres another DVD with Rude Awakinings and The Nine. Link

I have just seen the first episode the new show from Aaron Sorkin and it is, unsurprisingly, awesome. The man who brought us the movies “A Few Good Men” and “The American President” and TV shows “The West Wing” and “Sports Night” has done it again with his new one “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”. Bringing Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry together is a touch of genius. Episode 1 gives us a Saturday Night Live-like show in jeopardy after the host (Judd Hirsh) gves a ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore’ meltdown speech about the network TV industry on their live broadcast getting himself fired and leaving the network president Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet) scrambling to replace him on her first day in the job. She wants Danny Tripp (Whitford) and Matt Albie (Perry), former writers for the show fired a few years before and now doing movies. Whitfords character who recently tested positive for coke is now unable to direct until he tests clean for 18 months so is available and Perrys character has just split with girlfriend, who works on the show, has just had back surgery and is high and whacky on pain medication for the whole episode resulting in some hilarious moments. Fast talking Sorkin dialogue from start to finish. Smart TV returns.
It is great. It is good. You will watch. You will love.
TVNZ has scheduled it for 2007. Hopefully it gets a good timeslot.
Also stars D.L. Hughley, Steven Weber, Timothy Busfield.

NBC has renewed its critically acclaimed, first-year drama “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” for the remainder of the 2006-07 season despite persistent rumours it was going to be cancelled.

Emmy Award-winning executive producer-writer (NBC’s “The West Wing”) Sorkin and Emmy-winning executive producer-director (“The West Wing”) Schlamme returned to television this Fall with this crackling take on the drama behind the humor of producing a popular, late-night comedy sketch show, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

Sorkin lays bare the backstage politics, romances and delicate balance between creative talent, on-air personalities and network executives in an instant text-messaging world. Prominent are Jordan McDeere (Amanda Peet, “Syriana”), a savvy new network entertainment chief who inherits a massive public relations disaster on the series — even before she starts her first day — and Matt Albie (Matthew Perry, “Friends”) and Danny Tripp (Bradley Whitford, “The West Wing”), a brilliant creative team that she wants to resurrect the program.


About the show

Aaron Sorkin takes us behind the scenes of a fictional late-night sketch comedy series.

Lately, funny has been in short supply at Studio 60. The executive producer just had a breakdown. The control room is out of control. The actors are acting up. And thats just for starters.

Now the shows only hope at a successful future lies with two wunderkind writers (Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford) and a headstrong new network president (Amanda Peet).

Brand new show which has just started in the US. Here’s the trailer: