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Is Abrams Spread Too Thin? October 12, 2006

by Rosario T. Calabria , Filed under: Abrams , trackback

Star Trek fans eagerly await the time that JJ Abrams really begins to produce (and maybe direct) Star Trek XI, but it appears for now that Trek has to get in line behind all of Abrams TV projects. Abrams currently has 3 hour long shows running on ABC: ‘Lost’, ‘What About Brian’ and ‘Six Degrees’. As the headline in CTNow states: 3 shows keeps Abrams sprinting. It appears that the latter two shows are currently his focus. Abrams recently had to cancel plans to direct an episode of Lost so he can work on his other shows, telling TV critics in a conference call last week: "I’m depressed because I was supposed to leave today to direct an episode with a mind blowing story, but because of these other shows Iwas unable to do that." And it isn’t just Abrams. Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof are also slated as Trek XI producers, but both of their ‘day jobs’ are on Abrams TV shows. Lindelof  keeps quite busy as a showrunner for ‘Lost’ (along with Carlton Cuse) . Bryan Burk, like Abrams, is an exec producer on all three shows (Lost, Brian and Six Degrees).

Fixing Six Degrees and What About Brian 

The most likely reason Abrams is sticking in LA is the new show ‘Six Degrees’ . Six Degrees is promoted as ‘The New Show from JJ Abrams’ but some are questioning how much involvement he has had to date. "J.J. Abrams’ involvement in it doesn’t seem to extend much past his "Executive Producer" title" says The SFist, and TV Squad says that they have given up on the show concluding "I’m not sure how much input executive producer J.J. Abrams has in the writing of the show, but there’s nothing here that even remotely comes close to Alias, Felicity, or Lost." And ‘Six Degrees’ has been fading in the ratings, losing roughly 30% of its initial audience through 3 episodes. Its last episode delivering 7.0 million viewers and lost half the “Grey’s Anatomy” lead-in audience. Things seem a little better for the second season of ‘What About Brian’ after Abrams stepped in and made some changes. According to Zap2It: "Abrams isn’t working with the show full-time, but his stamp on it is more evident. He brought in Josh Reims, who worked with Abrams on "Felicity," as an exec producer to work with creator Dana Stevens, and pushed the idea of covering more storytelling ground this season." According to Nielsen Fast Nationals, the show opened its second season with a 5.1/8 (3.0) rating, which is better than last season’s finale (4.9/8 3.3). Though the viewer figure is not high, and ‘Brian’ placed last in the time-period, retention out of its lead-in was very good (88% for viewers and 97% for A18-49).  With ABC no longer airing the dominant Monday Night Football on Monday’s, these ratings are acceptable, but there is definitely room for improvement.

Lost losing its lustre?

Another of Abrams’ shows is the fan-loved and critical favorite “Lost”, but the show lost viewers during its second season and some in the media and fan community that feel JJ should become more involved in the ABC hit. Others are just giving up on the show entirely, read ‘MSNBC: Why Lost has lost me as a viewer.  Abrams is committed to working closer this season and has already co-written one episode and pledges to direct at least one episode later, but he and Lindelof certainly cannot put the show on autopilot. Although the show premiered to 18.9M viewers, that was a 15% drop from the finale last season. And things got even worse in its second week, it dropped 10% and is in a virtual tie with CBS’s ‘Criminal Minds’.

And what about next season?

Even after Abrams sets things right on all his currently running TV shows, he has also made a multi-million dollar commitment to Warner Brothers to produce new TV shows. Pilot season kicks early next year, but those shows get developed over the winter. So it looks like Abrams will be going from the frying pan and into the fire. The last word from the writing team for Star Trek XI was that pre-production would really kick off early next year, one only hopes that Abrams, Lindelof and Burk can find the time. 

 

Read more from Rosario Tino at his blog: Entertainment Now.

 

 

Comments

1. Adam Cohen - October 12, 2006

I think Star Trek is a firmly scheduled production. Paramount is committed to getting this movie out for 2008. Maybe Abrams has to back out as director and give someone else the job. He certainly will remain as Producer, but I too am concerned to read how spread thin he has become, as his product suffers tremendously.

As an example, I have totally given up on Lost myself. I watched the first season, loved it, and then with all the nonsense that culminated at the end of last season, I lost all interest in the show and its characters. It’s too twisted, too contrived for me to enjoy it. At this point, Lost has become an annoyance.

So, with Trek, the bottom line is that they get a good script. I don’t care if Abrams directs it or not, the story is the first priority.

2. James Heaney (fka Wowbagger) - October 12, 2006

Well, that’s depressing. Obviously, I’d prefer that Abrams give up these other shows (bah; who needs LOST, anyway? ;) ), but it is just as unlikely that he would do that as it is obvious that his shows are lacking the quality that they used to have.

3. Jon - October 12, 2006

He should do like Speilberg did.Hand off the older stuff to a new team and stay current with new creative (star trek?)projects.

4. Anthony Pascale - October 12, 2006

well that is what he did with Alias when he switched to lost and to lost when he switched to MI3. The problem is both shows suffered. Now he is trying to fix lost, and his other shows. Also the ‘backfil guys’ are also producers on Trek so it is a catch 22.In July he signed two multimillion dollar deals. One with Paramount one with Warner. At some point they are both going to want some product out of him.

the good news for Trek is right now Orci and Kurtzman are done with Alias and with Transformers are are pretty focussed on Trek. They should have the first draft done at the end of the month…assuming that they can get that done ith the limited time Abrams gives them. The real issue will be in the December/Jan timeframe when the movie is really supposed to get in gear into pre production. All three shows TV shows will be in production still, and he is likely to have a pilot or two for warner. I just don’t see how he can commit to directing trek xi( even though he has stated he will probably direct ) without stepping away from his TV shows.

5. Duane Boda - October 12, 2006

Its obvious he can do the job but with all of his current obligations he has to decide whether or not he really wants this job. Unless Paramount has a Iron-Clad contract with Abrams to handle every aspect of this film I’d hand over the latest project to someone else. Hes simply spreading himself too thin – and any film project will be bound to suffer – is that what we have to loo forward to? I hope not!
I’d get a new guy to handle the film and leave Abrams to his own devices.
Also…as I been asking. Do they plan on updating the original pilot of Star Trek….The Cage? Due to the zero lack of responses I would assume not!

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