Mailbag: ‘Lucky 7’ and ‘We Are Men’ canceled

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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"We Are Learning to Swim" Stuart (Jerry O\'Connell) tries to teach Gil (Kal Penn) how to swim as Carter (Chris Smith) watches in an attempt to impress Maisie, on We Are Men, Monday, Oct. 21 (8:30-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Robert Voets/CBS)

You have questions. I try to have answers.

Q: Is it true that “Lucky 7” was canceled after only two episodes? My husband and I were really enjoying it.

A: It is true. ABC pulled the drama about a group of lottery winners when the ratings proved disappointing, making the unlucky Lucky the first broadcast network show of the season to be canceled. But it soon had company. CBS has since yanked We Are Men from its lineup — although the silver lining in that news is that it will bring Mike & Molly back on Nov. 4 instead of early 2014.

Q: I watched “The Americans” on FX every week. What happened to the show? It was great!

A: The Americans, a fine drama about Russian spies in America in the Reagan era, had a 13-episode first season that aired from January to May. A second season has been ordered, to begin in January 2014.

As has been pointed out here from time to time, people accustomed to TV series running from September to May have had to adjust to different scheduling cycles on cable and broadcast. Where a hit broadcast show may make 24 episodes in a season, cable series tend to have fewer episodes; HBO’s The Newsroom, for one, had 10 episodes in its first season and nine in its second.

Programmers may also split those episodes into even smaller bites, so The Walking Dead’s current, fourth season on AMC consists of eight episodes now and then eight more in 2014. Broadcasters as well have looked at shorter runs in some cases, as with summer-only series or when piggybacking two shows in the same time slot to minimize reruns. CBS, for example, announced Hostages as a Monday-night show for the fall, with Intelligence taking over the time slot in February 2014.

So, once again, viewers have to keep a sharper eye on when shows come, go and return.

Q: I am a big fan of court shows and wondered what happened to “Judge Joe Brown.” Why isn’t it shown in our area anymore?

A: Because it isn’t being shown anywhere. While it was the second most popular court show in syndication (behind only Judge Judy), the Hollywood Reporter said plans for a new season ended “after negotiations on a new contract broke down, apparently over Brown’s salary.”

Brown reportedly made $20 million a year. But Brown told the Reporter his actual income was more like $5 million based on a split of revenues from the show instead of a salary, and that “Hollywood trick economics” hurt his pay. Either way, the distributor, CBS Television, apparently wanted to pay Brown less because of declines in ratings and ad sales, and no deal was made

Brown said in April that he planned to launch a new court show and a talk show in 2014. But such plans may not have been helped by video of a profane, seemingly disoriented Brown that popped up in August — a rambling talk that was promptly parodied by comedian Mike Epps. (You can find both videos on YouTube.)

Q: I used to watch a hilarious show about a sock puppet [!] in the late hours on MTV. Can you tell me the name?

A: You are probably remembering Sifl and Olly, which aired on MTV in the ’90s, both in late night and in prime time. Created by Hudson High School graduates Liam Lynch and Matt Crocco, it had two sock puppets in conversations derived from Lynch and Crocco’s own odd, real-life chats. And the characters continue to pop up online; in 2012 they appeared in a series of videos discussing video games like Skulls of Duty — which. like other games they talk about, does not really exist,

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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