Renewals, Renewals (Plus: Li-zar, Barbarian Queen)

Odds n’ ends:

– The Futurama renewal is now official and Michael Schneider provides some details on how Fox and Comedy Central plan to make this work: apparently part of the deal is that Fox will retain the right to turn around and sell the new episodes to someone else; this leaves the door open for a possible Fox network revival if they’re in sudden need of another animated show, but it means that when the episodes go into production, the Fox production company can try to start a bidding war over them. So Comedy Central will get the episodes, but it might get them second. Update: Schneider has added more details to the article about where Futurama will make its budget cuts. As expected, there will be a smaller writing staff and a shorter production schedule, among other money-saving devices.

Nurse Jackie did so well in its debut that Showtime has already ordered a second 13-episode season. It’s been speculated elsewhere that Jackie could be the show that finally elevates Showtime to something resembling HBO status. Many of their other shows have been of the “Yes, but…” variety, or shows that rely very heavily on shocking central gimmicks; Jackie, which has a fairly un-gimmicky premise and depends on the stories and above all the central performance to make it interesting, has the potential to be a show that provides viewers with a deeper experience than other Showtime shows. As I said in my previous post, I don’t think it’s there yet, but it has the potential for depth and full-fledged emotional involvement that Californication, Dexter and even Weeds do not.

– Finally: I should have posted this before Old Christine creator Kari Lizer spoke at Banff, but here she is in one of her last acting appearances after becoming a writer on that USA network farm team of successful writers, Weird Science. In this clip, Lizer takes time off from her writing duties to make a cameo in an episode written by another young, unknown staff writer… Paul Lieberstein.

(To explain the subject heading, there was a TV episode that featured a character named “Li-zar, the Barbarian Queen,” a tip of the hat to Lizer.)

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