Thursday, May 14, 2009

Showrunner Musical Chairs

Fox announced yesterday that Lie To Me will be returning for a second season and it has a new showrunner: Shawn Ryan. Ryan's resume is short but sweet: FX's former gritty and ultra violent cop drama The Shield and CBS' slick and more mainstream The Unit.

The two shows are polar opposites, which is not something you see much of - usually a writer/producer has a certain set style that they stick with but Ryan's two shows don't have much in common. Obviously The Unit leans more towards the usual CBS fare, which tends to be geared towards middle-agers while The Shield was more in your face, fast paced ala 18-39 crowd. David Mamet was The Unit's other showrunner, but the show doesn't really match his super talk-laden playwrite style either, so who know's where The Unit gets it's style from.

I'm interested in seeing if Ryan pushes Lie To Me into dirtier territory or not. Keeping in mind that it's on Fox, which means either an 8pm or 9pm slot, he can't start cursing and slaughtering like in The Shield. Remember, though, that FX and Fox is the same parent company so they may permit him some leeway that CBS may not.

Ryan has another project with CBS for the 2009 season called Confessions Of A Contractor based on a book about an LA contractor working with wealthy clients and falling in love. The deal is for a put pilot (that means the network will have to pay heavy penalties if the pilot is not picked up) but is cast-contingent (meaning the network has a say in casting). In January the network announced that, because they couldn't find a lead actor for the series, it was being pushed to mid-season.

Another showrunner shuffle occurred last week at CBS: Executive producers Ed Yeager and Ric Swartzlander will be leaving CBS family laugher Gary Unmarried. The show is about to wrap up it's first season with consistantly so-so ratings and there's no word if there'll even be a second season yet. "Creative differences" was the reason given.

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