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Sunday 19 October 2008

Strange Days Indeed

Well this has been one of the weirdest weeks ever. But I mean that in a good way.

If you've been following the blog you'll be aware that I have my name on a couple of shows airing on US network TV right now. I think I may have let it slip out once or twice.

The beginning of last week found me in Los Angeles for not unrelated reasons... a couple of days of intensive meetings and a day at the studio, meeting the Eleventh Hour creative team and generally bonding with a whole new bunch of people. I'll write more about where that's leading when the time is right.

Eleventh Hour made its debut on CBS a couple of nights before I flew in, so I didn't get to see it go out. But I arrived in the midst of intensive publicity campaigns for both shows; so I drove out from the airport past giant Eleventh Hour roadside billboards, switched on the TV to find a Crusoe trailer every twenty minutes or so, radio spots for the CBC and NBC evening lineups...

I caught the second episode of Eleventh Hour in a motel room in San Luis Obispo, held up on the road and missing all but the last few minutes; caught the whole of Crusoe in another motel, this one in San Juan Bautista (a charming little town, first visited on a research trip in 2003; its Mission was used as a major location in Hitchcock's Vertigo, though the bell tower from which Kim Novak fell was added in a matte painting).

And I've just been told that Eleventh Hour's ratings increased in its second week, and Crusoe "topped NBC's season-to-date average in the Friday 8-10 p.m. slot by 23% in 18-49 (1.6 vs. 1.3) and 50% in total viewers (7.3 million vs. 4.8 million)."

Whatever that means.

But hey, maybe now I can get a meeting at the BBC...

Thursday 9 October 2008

Eleventh Hour USA

The show debuts tonight on CBS in the slot right after CSI, and I'm holding my breath, crossing my fingers, and wishing 'em luck.

I talked about the show concept, and influences, and the whole issue of adapted formats, in an interview with Tom Green for the Writers' Guild newsletter a few weeks ago.

Tom asked,

Did producers/commissioners consider Eleventh Hour to be sci-fi? Is it a genre they worry might put people off?

And I said,

When I sold Eleventh Hour I pushed it as the Prime Suspect of science – a pro-science procedural with today's Bad Science in its sights, grounded entirely in the current state of technology. So no, it was never meant to be science fiction. Although I’d have been happy to see sf writers involved, because they tend to know where the line between actual science and speculation lies. Most arts-background people are far more ignorant of science than professional scientists are of culture. What I wanted for Eleventh Hour was the same kind of probity that you’d apply without question in a legal drama or a medical show. The last thing I wanted was a pasting from the Government’s chief scientific advisor.

If you want to see the full interview, you can find it here.

Next Friday on NBC: Crusoe.