I have a theory that you can tell how important a show is to a big-name TV writer/producer by how many of his Trusted Lieutenants(tm) he hires to work on the show. By that standard, the remake of Cupid, now going into production as a series, must be really important to Rob Thomas: the show has at least three other producers from Veronica Mars, including his second-in-command in the writing of Mars, Diane Ruggiero. (Ruggiero also fits into the category of showrunners working on other people’s shows while between projects; she was recently booted from her job as showrunner of The Ex List.)

According to people who were in test audiences for the new pilot (or say they were), the premise of the new version is pretty much the same as the original: guy thinks he’s Cupid, needs to match up 100 couples in order to get back to Mount Olympus and cavort with his fellow Greek gods; has sexual tension with his shrink who doesn’t know if he’s the real deal or just crazy. I will take a wait-and-see attitude, but the original series will be very hard to beat, and while Jeremy Piven was known as a real jerk to writers and producers, he brought an edge to the character that kept the show from being too sugary. Bobby Cannavale is an unknown quantity; he could bring the same qualities to the show, or he could wind up as just another Krasinski — he has potential, but I haven’t seen him display that kind of Bruce Willis quality Piven has, of being really annoying in a strangely charming way.

One more thing is that ABC got the idea to revive Cupid in fall of 2007, when Pushing Daisies looked like the big new hit. I assume that they were on the lookout for another whimsical fantasy/comedy/drama and realized that they already had the rights to exactly that kind of show. Things have changed, and they’re going to be unveiling the show at a time when whimsy isn’t selling and fantasy is on the way out. They must think it still has potential if they’re giving it a series order, but it is an example of how TV trends can change so fast that this idea, which looked like hopping on the bandwagon in late 2007, seems a little risky by late 2008.

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