Tim Minear Kicks FOX to the Curb

by Paul William Tenny

firefly.jpgI was wondering when Tim Minear was going to realize that Fox is probably the worst place you could try to setup a new show. They are the most arrogant of all the networks, one would think and justifiably so, because of the strength American Idol gives them every year. House is fantastic and even beat Idol in the demo right before it wrapped up the most recent season, but Idol just destroys everything around it.

Fox also has a notoriously short fuse when it comes to ratings, which in my mind makes it a place to avoid at all costs. Less money to work with, and even a smaller audience are small prices to pay when it means getting more than a token chance to find your groove. Hell, most shows can't do that until the second season, but that's not good enough for Fox. They want a winner from the first episode or they'll can it.

And really, it looks bad on their development executives that they can't find a show their bosses will like long enough to see the mid-season mark. Are they inept, or their bosses just stupid? Is requiring all new programming to be a break-out hit a failing strategy that will see the other networks leave Fox in the dust when people get bored with Idol? It'll happen, you know. There's a reason Star Search isn't on the air anymore.
Minear came up through the ranks as a writer in the early 90's, bouncing between series until landing on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman in 1996 for two seasons. Starting in 1999, Minear joined Angel in its second season as a writer and producer, penning 18 episodes over the course of four years and producing a great deal more. Angel creator Joss Whedon teamed up with Minear again for Firefly, their first venture on Fox, which was canceled after producing 13 episodes, and having aired just 11. Firefly was loved by critics and fans, sold well enough on DVD that Fox commissioned a feature film based on the series they disliked so much that they rewarded the hard work by canceling it.

The film didn't do much better than the TV series, even though I've seen people say it is the best science fiction film ever made, beating out even Star Wars in all of its incarnations.

Next up for Minear was a series called Wonderfalls, again on Fox, and again canceled after 13 episodes. Fan support for the series encouraged Fox to release it on DVD, as they had done with Firefly, which they did eventually do. Again I have to question Fox's motives. If it was good enough to spend money to release on DVD, or even make a feature film, why are these series being canceled so quickly?

It just gets worse from here, though. Minear tried his luck at Fox one last time, and as usual, the house always wins. Drive was heavily promoted by the network yet it didn't even make it to a fifth episode on the air. It's doubtful it'll ever be released on DVD with so few episodes in the can.

So it's hardly surprising that Tim Minear started looking for other networks who didn't so such amazing disdain for quality content that didn't happen to bring in 24 million viewers for the pilot just because Fox stomped its feet and demanded we tune in. With their penchant for quickly canceling shows, is it any wonder people won't watch new Fox series?

This story wouldn't be worth much without this amusing twist. Minear has been pushing a new series called Miracle Man, which Fox bid on, but was beaten out by ABC simply because ABC was willing to commit to shooting a pilot. Had Fox done the same, for all we know this could have been the fourth straight series of his to air on Fox - and probably canceled just for spite.

Unfortunately, this new series appears to religiously themed, something I don't particularly care for. Not saying it isn't going to be any good, or that such themes are inherently bad or boring, only that an EP whom I've become a big fan of is doing a show you probably couldn't pay me to watch.

"It's about losing everything and starting over and finding that there is a higher purpose in life," Minear tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It's about a man who says, 'I don't know how to be good, but I'll try to be better.'"

The show will cover familiar ground for Minear, who attended evangelical schools growing up and whose father is an engineer for Christian radio shows. "Miracle Man" will take some cues from the scandals that brought down the likes of Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, but Minear says the show won't make light of anyone's beliefs.

"It's a love letter to the religious," he tells the HR.

Thanks, but no thanks. I'm sure there is a large potential fan base out there for this, but I'm not a part of it. That is entirely besides the point, of course, because Fox will just cancel it anyway.


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