"The Beautiful Life: TBL" -- RIP
Late Friday -- one day after Nielsen sent word the audience for "the Beautiful Life: TBS" had fallen to under 1 million viewers in its second episode, CW sent out an announcement that it had yanked Ashton Kutcher's new supermodel soap from its schedule effective immediately -- earning it the distinction of becoming the 2009-10 TV season's first cancellation.
"Production has ceased on 'The Beautiful Life' in New York," CW said late Friday in an e-mail, surprising no one since it was a Take Out the Trash Day - you know, the Friday before a holiday weekend. (Yom Kippur is Monday).
Networks love to announce show cancellations - and executive cancellations - late on the Friday before a holiday, because it increases the likelihood people will miss the news.
The show was shooting its seventh episode when production was shuttered Friday.
"The show will be pulled from The CW's schedule immediately. Timeslot replacement will be announced shortly," CW continued in its Take Out the Trash Day announcement.
(Expect reruns of new "Melrose Place" to fill the timeslot -- that series could use the additional sampling)
Frankly, "TBL" had looked DOA since since its unveiling one week earlier, attracting an anorexic audience of 1.4 million viewers.
In its second broadcast, it fell to 1 million, and by the second half hour was down to under 1 mil. This despite the show's rampant Ashton Kutcher-ness - he was an executive producer on the show and the drama series is semi-autobiographical, what with Kutcher being hot and from Iowa and having moved to New York City to become a male model as a way to get into acting, and the show being about a hot farm boy from Iowa who goes to New York City to become a male model to save the family farm.
We will miss the drama that was "TBL" - and we're not even talking about what you saw on the screen. Last July, CW had to push back the start of production on the series by a week. But everyone concerned insisted it was not because the show's only recognizable star, Mischa Barton had been put under an involuntary psychiatric hold the previous week at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. It was because some of the sets were not completed on time, CW insisted.
In the show, about hot young supermodels living together in a coed residence in Manhattan, the 23-year-old Barton had been cast as the older supermodel trying at all costs to hang on to her supermodeldom. By the second -- and sadly, last 00 episode, that included handing paparazzi photos of her doing lines of cocaine in exchange for a photo they'd obtained of her with her brand new baby. A skanky younger supermodel had thwarted all the trouble she'd gone to in disappearing from the modeling scene for a few months so she could go off quietly and have the baby in secret.
Because in the supermodel world it's still the 40's and unwed motherhood is frowned upon? Because in the supermodel world being known as a cokehead is better than being known as a mother? Honestly, the whole thing made no sense.
Anyway, for a while late last summer, The Reporters Who Cover Television were all a' twitter, wondering whether Barton would be let out of involuntary psychiatric hold in time for start of production on the show. She reportedly returned to work just 12 days after being released from the hospital and, days after that, "TBL" cast and crew, and the head of CW programming Dawn Ostroff assumed well-rehearsed nonchalant poses in response to all questions about Barton at Summer TV Press Tour 2009:
TV Critic: "I assume you are concerned about Mischa Barton's health?"
Dawn Ostroff: "It didn't come up."
Lisa de Moraes
September 25, 2009; 7:43 PM ET
Categories: TV News
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