A&E couldn’t afford to continue making the series NERO WOLFE, which cost them less than a million per episode…nor have they had the bucks to produce a single, original, weekly dramatic series since then…
…but they can lay out $2.5 million per episode for edited reruns of THE SOPRANOS.
10 thoughts on “A&E’s Check Book”
Lame. We need a show like Nero Wolfe on the air.
Lee, have you seen the new “Mystery Movie” wheel on Hallmark, the new shows with John Larroquette, Lea Thompson, Joe Penny, and others?
I’ve seen the Larroquette show and pieces of the others. I wasn’t wowed.
_Edited? What #@%$!# edited? “Pfui.”
A&E can spend $2.5 million for edited reruns to broadcast along with their raunchy reality shows, but they chose not to spend less than a million for “Nero Wolfe” ??!! If I were feeling charitable I might call it a fit of nimcompoopery, but I’m still feeling rancour over the loss of “Nero Wolfe” so I’ll call it contemptible.
I will say this in A&E’s defense…NERO WOLFE pulled the oldest demos on the air, older even than DIAGNOSIS MURDER, so they weren’t getting a lot of support from advertisers. The production company also was having an impossible time selling the show overseas… there just wasnt a market for it.
At the time, A&E wanted to renew the show, but would only kick in a small percentage of the production costs… the studio had to make up the rest with foreign sales, etc. When the studio could find the financing, the show died. A&E could obviously have bankrolled the whole thing… if they wanted to.
They were also developing a TV series based on Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels, with McBain serving as a writer/producer on the show. The network paid for several scripts to be written, but ultimately “couldn’t afford” to go forward.
What I think all of this proves is that A&E has the money for original drama series programming, but lack the confidence, committment and development skills to make those shows happen. They would rather rely on acquisitions (MI-5) and reruns (SOPRANOS).
After they edit them, A&E is paying for a 5 minute show? That sounds like a good idea.
I, too, wonder where A&E has suddenly found so much money to spend — massive ad campaigns as well as expensive reruns. And how disgusting to see A&E’s funeral reality people smirking down at me from billboards and buses coming at me with Ms. Gotti’s “new hairdo” splashed all over them in NYC.
I’m quite sure that people never had the pleasure of being confronted by “Nero Wolfe” in the streets of New York, or anywhere else, for that matter. If A&E had spent even a fraction then of what they’re blowing on hype now, the show would have not only reached younger viewers but appealed to them bigtime, judging from all excitement generated by the DVDs in reviews and blogs all over the internet.
There was so little off-network promotion for “Nero Wolfe” that if you weren’t part of A&E’s regular old-skewing audience you had to be Nero Wolfe to find the show, which slipped into the lineup in…April.
The reinvented A&E may be skewing younger these days, but they’ve also fallen out — well out, in fact — of the Top Ten Ad-Sponosored Cable Network Rankings for the first time in years. They’ve obviously lost the “educated” part of their “educated, affluent” target audience and I suspect that the “affluent” part will go down with it, if it hasn’t already. Not only because of “”Gotti,” “Family Plots,” and “Dog,” etc., but you’ve got to wonder why anyone who could afford to rent or buy the readily available “Sopranos” DVDs would resort to watching butchered, commercial-ridden reruns on A&E.
Forgot to mention how ironic it seems that, as you reported, “the production company also was having an impossible time selling the show overseas… there just wasnt a market for it” — because the show has been airing all over the world for the past two years, mostly through Hallmark, I think — in some 40 countries.
I don’t know how it’s doing in the ratings, but the fact that several countries have begun reissuing the Nero Wolfe books should be some indication. I was astonished to find brand new editions in Japan, for example — with screenshots of the TV series on the covers! They’re adorable in Japanese: Hutton, Chaykin,and Smitrovich from “Doorbell” on “Doorbell” and Hutton and Chaykin from other episodes in “Some Buried Caesar,” which wasn’t even part of the TV series. Yell if you’d like cover scans.
Hallmark paid chicken feed for NERO WOLFE…and so did everybody else. That’s the problem. The backers of the first two seasons of NERO WOLFE pulled out. If the production company had been able to raise alternative financing for the show, there would have been a third season.
Nero Wolf was great. But…Dog and Gotti, now edited Sopranos? Who exactly is the target audience?