If a television celebrity doesn’t appear on television, do they make a sound? What was once career death, television actors and actresses are reviving their careers on sitcoms and dramas around television. And what’s even more macabre is the face that many of these new-start shows are doing fairly well. We could be seeing a shift in television when many of the familiar faces are hanging in on for dear life when it comes to their television careers.
I never knew who Julie Bowen was until Happy Gilmore came out. But since then, she really hasn’t done much with her career. Enter ABC’s new show Modern Family. She plays a funny mom who is controlling and has three kids. But what works is that she herself seems like a controlling person. One of her co-stars is Ed O’Neill from Married With Children. He’s been seen here and there but this seems like the first real series that he’s been on since his other dysfunctional family. I give credit not only to their agents but also the casters for ABC. This is genius to put together a familiar cast of faces into one television show. This instantly gives the show respectability. What’s even better is that both their characters are similar to the one’s they’ve played in the past. There’s an immediate identification with the show because of this. I gave Modern Family a shot on a suggestion from a friend and instantly loved it. I could do without the gay couple and Asian kid but for the most part, it’s a good half hour of solid laughs.
The other good example is Courtney Cox and her show Cougar Town. My friend did not suggest this so I haven’t seen this one. But is seems to be doing well in the ratings and she’s always been pretty funny. Her and the other lady from Scrubs (Christa Miller) are also familiar faces from previous shows. Again, this is an ABC show and perhaps they are on to something. People don’t like taking risks, especially when it comes to television shows. It’s the worst when you try a new show and then it gets canceled after four spots. That’s two or even four hours of time wasted. Viewers want results and instant success and feedback. This isn’t to say that new actors can’t get exposure. Just bring then into the mix slowly or if they’re young enough, throw them on the Miley Cyrus how to become a celebrity process.
I like what the executives at ABC are doing. Other major networks should take heed of their positive results. Safe is usually better than sorry and if ABC can expand this and use it as a foundation to find the next Lost, they will overtake CBS as the new powerhouse of normal television. This is far better than throwing four new faces together like how they did with The Deep End. While I kind of liked that show, I knew it was doomed from the pilot because it had all new faces (and because Billy Zane is a ratings killer).
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