How TV Fatigue Can Hurt Good Shows

Norman Weiss
TV Tattle

How TV fatigue can hurt good shows

Wonder why ratings for acclaimed shows like How to Get Away with Murder to Empire are down? Richard Lawson thinks he has an answer: giving up on a show, even if it’s great to watch, can be relieving. "It’s more that shows like HTGAWM and Empire have such spark and swiftness and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink verve to them that they get exhausting,” he says. "Which is different than bad, but it has the same effect: it got to the point that the thought of pressing play on a DVR’d episode of HTGAWM would fill me with dread. It was just too much to keep up with, so much plot and style whizzing around that it was easy to get lost mid-episode, mid-act, even."


Jeopardy!’s Powers Players Week enlists Louis CK, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and Al Franken

Anderson Cooper, Chuck Todd, Jonathan Franzen, Lara Logan, Melissa Harris-Perry and David Gregory will also be part of next month’s Jeopardy! theme week. PLUS: Wheel of Fortune contestant solves a puzzle with one letter.


Empire has flopped in foreign countries, but is it really because of its minority cast?

A Hollywood Reporter article points to Empire in declaring that foreign viewers are resisting Hollywood’s diversity push. But as Slate’s Aisha Harris points out, the story is problematic because it doesn’t say how Empire is faring compared to similar, largely white shows. For example, Empire hasn’t done well in Germany, yet German TV viewers don’t have an appetite for serialized shows.


The People v. O.J. creators: Johnnie Cochran is the only non-tragic figure, FX gave no pushback on F-words

With one episode left, Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, who’ve spent years delving into the O.J. Simpson case, give their thoughts on the American Crime Story series. For instance, they point out that the misogyny Marcia Clark experienced mirrored the misogyny aimed at Nicole Brown Simpson. As for the Mark Fuhrman tapes, Karaszewski says, “The story is a tragedy for every character on screen, except for Johnnie Cochran. Because those tapes allowed Johnnie to get his message across, which is, at the end of the day, what he cared about.”


Nia Vardalos joins The Catch

The star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 will recur on the Shonda Rhimes series as a "a neurotic but formidable counterfeiter.” Vardalos previously guest-starred on Shondaland’s Grey’s Anatomy in 2012.


Martin Sheen’s O.J. Is Innocent docuseries lands an Investigation Discovery

Sheen will executive produce and narrate the six-part true-crime doucseries Hard Evidence: O.J. Is Innocent.


TV Land is developing a sitcom set in purgatory

Elsewhere would follow a "successful but shallow woman” who dies and gets a second chance at enlightenment in purgatory.


Jill Hennessy is the latest big name to join Fox’s Shots Fired

The Crossing Jordan alum is joining the racially charged drama series, playing the affluent mother of a teen involved in a police shooting. PLUS: Grey’s Anatomy books American Crime vet Gwendoline Yeo.


The Daily Show has become “eminently missable” under Trevor Noah

Noah’s problem is a lack of urgency and an absence of a strongly defined worldview, says Maureen Ryan. She adds: "Now more than ever, viewers want comedy commentators who not only make sense of the current-events cyclone we’re living in, but who bring an agenda of their own. It’s clear by this point who’s winning and losing the election from a comedic perspective. While Noah complacently floats above the fray, (John) Oliver and (Samantha) Bee sting.” PLUS: It’s time to “#BringBackJon”!


Transparent is under fire for using non-union musicians

Members of the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 47 handed out leaflets this week at a shooting location for the Amazon series, asking: “Where’s the pride for musicians?”


Here's what happens when you mention the Philips Norelco Bodygroom on Conan

Last week, Conan O’Brien and producer Jordan Schlansky reviewed the Philips Norelco Bodygroom. This week, Philips Norelco swamped them with dozens of Bodygrooms in their original packaging.


Will.i.am: It annoys me that Game of Thrones only has 2 black characters

The Voice UK judge and Black Eyed Peas star says: "Even though there are only two black people on it, I love that show. It’s awesome but, yeah, that kinda annoys me that it has only two black characters.”


As a polarizing figure, can Sarah Palin attract advertisers to her proposed judge show?

The former VP candidate stands to make a lot of money with a syndicated court show. As Lloyd Grove points out, though, "What remains to be seen is whether advertisers would be willing to associate their brands with Palin, who despite a loyal following, is a polarizing figure who plays better in 'the real America,' as she called the small towns in flyover country, than she does on the coasts."


Empire’s first 2 episodes back from hiatus feel like a rerun

Why it was inevitable that the Fox drama would begin repeating itself. PLUS: Art is beginning to imitate life for Bryshere Y. Gray.


A former KGB spy weighs in on The Americans

Former KGB secret agent Jack Barsky explains how accurate Phillip and Elizabeth are on their FX series.


Why do retired late-night hosts grow Retirement Beards?

David Letterman and Jon Stewart have retirement beards, while Jay Leno is clean-shaven. "It is,” says Dan Zak, "a biological reaction to a lifetime of performing under intense scrutiny. Letterman’s face is saying, less than a year after his final show, that it is free."


So far, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is having no problem directing every episode of Season 2

Esmail, who also serves as head writer, says his directing every episode makes the show more efficient. “I am so very specific in how I want to shoot the show and the visual grammar of how I want to tell the story,” he says.


Check out Judd Apatow’s Instagram tribute to Garry Shandlling

All week, Apatow has been posting images of Shandling, from his childhood to the last episode of Larry Sanders.


MTV’s Spring Break turns 30

Original MTV VJ Alan Hunter says of helming Spring Break coverage: "By 1986, we knew that MTV was a powerhouse, and pretty much whatever we aimed our cameras at was going to draw some attention thereafter. So we knew that if we went down to Daytona and had fun for a week, it was gonna be crazy and probably crazier than it was before. We went down there with the intention of filming every bit of the craziness, and me at the forefront with the microphone—usually with cans of beer being emptied on my head. I loved the chaos."


Russia is getting its own House

The Russian version will be the first official remake of the Hugh Laurie medical series.


Assault charges against a Mob Wives star have been dropped

Drita D’Avanzo is in the clear after her alleged victim refused to help prosecutors.


Discovery orders globe-trotting survival reality show The Wheel

Competitors will be sent to dramatically different inhospitable landscapes around the world, with little preparation in what Discovery is calling a “very innovative and very ambitious” take on the survival reality genre. PLUS: Discovery will take viewers inside a motorcycle bike club with Sacred Steel.


Cartoon Network renews Steven Universe and Uncle Grandpa

The hit animated series will be back for both of their fifth seasons.


Hulu’s The Path is literally cult TV, but no cult classic

The TV drama revolving around a fictional cult is sometimes fascinating, but too sluggish and unfocused, says James Poniewozik. The Path, he says, "is so careful not to make (the cult religion) Meyerism reflect any particular belief system that the faith feels like a grab bag. So, ultimately, does the series. Sometimes it has the eerie tone of a supernatural thriller; sometimes it’s a low-key family ensemble piece; sometimes it’s a melodrama.” PLUS: It’s slow and hypnotic, but not yet great, there’s no doubt viewers will lose patience, the first few episodes are like attending an unfamiliar church, it falls into the mid-range of long-form TV drama, the excellent cast makes The Path riveting, it’s a shame a show about spirituality rings so hollow, and Aaron Paul talks going from Jesse Pinkman to The Path.