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Whose Line Is It Anyway?


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#1 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 09:50 PM

Best comedy show on TV! This incarntation is one of best of the series. The special guest is pretty good too...


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#2 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 11:16 PM

It never fails to make me laugh. Big belly-buster laughs, too. Colin Mochrie, who can't seem to buy a job anywhere else, is, on this show, the funniest person on earth.

 

I can even stomach Wayne Brady, with his all-technique no-talent singing, although I usually fast-forward through any "musical" portions. That said, WB is still pretty good at improv.

 

I don't really miss Drew Carey; he was basically phoning it in in the ABC version of the show, anyway, and whenever they involved him it was obvious he was the weak link. No problem, he has other pretty amazing talents.

 

There was a Comedy Central version of this at one time that wasn't very good; a British import hosted by some stuffy comic. My understanding is that the cast of The Drew Carey Show used to do improv during hiatus in LA for fun, and then saw this show and brought it to ABC with them in it.

 

It costs next to nothing to produce, so I never understood why  ABC cancelled it.

 

On this version they bring out guest stars (did they do that on ABC?). My gut feeling is that this idea might backfire, but it seems to have worked out so far. Ratings have been surprisingly good, and it is already renewed.


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#3 OFFLINE   fluffybear

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 02:59 AM

 

 

It costs next to nothing to produce, so I never understood why  ABC cancelled it.

 

 

 

Ratings!   ABC could not justify (no matter how cheap it was to produce) to keep a show which placed in the bottom 10 (of shows airred by the 4 MAJOR networks). 


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#4 OFFLINE   fluffybear

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 03:00 AM

 

 

On this version they bring out guest stars (did they do that on ABC?). My gut feeling is that this idea might backfire, but it seems to have worked out so far. Ratings have been surprisingly good, and it is already renewed.

 

The shows highest rating featured guest star, Robin Williams. 


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#5 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:25 AM

The show was originally a British show and Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles were on it as regulars. I did like that version. The host would just turn to the audience and get ideas for the skits, which was very funny to sometimes here what people would call out. Or he would pull suggestions from the audience on pieces of paper out of a hat.

When Drew Carey hosted the one version, the show was good except for when he would try improv. He's a good comic, but not an improv artist.

As for Wayne Brady, he is quite talented. I don't think his singing is that bad and to be able to sing in all those styles and do it as improv is impressive.

I'm glad that it got picked up for another season. I can't stop laughing when I watch it. I do like how they use the guest stars. In the older versions, that normally would have been an audience member. In the ABC/Drew Carey version, they used the guest stars as the fourth comic.


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#6 OFFLINE   renbutler

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:51 AM

The British version was outstanding, although the American stars were so popular that they just started producing many of the shows in the US (this is still pre-Drew Carey). Clive Anderson was a great host.

 

In the first reboot, Drew Carey was the anti-Clive, but I think some of his screw-ups were the highlight of the show. In fact, this is one of my favorite moments all-time: https://www.youtube....h?v=QAS2W4r_UmE.

 

Aishah is growing on me. I hate her loud voice that she uses to introduce the stars, but after that she's not bad.



#7 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 03:09 PM

If you watched the original British version...  it took a little bit for them to fall into a groove.  I believe it started out on radio, and I think the performers had to develop a bit for the TV audience.  It was also a little bit before some of the more familiar modern guests were part...  but people like Ryan Stiles and Colin were on the British show...  that's why some of them were on Drew Carey's sitcom... and subsequently the ABC version of Whose Line...  taking the best of the performers who had been on the British show.

 

Aisha, I like her... but you can see in her exactly what I saw in Drew Carey at first...  she is trying too hard to explain/introduce the show... Drew did that when the ABC show first launched, but over time basically learned more how to get out of the way...  Aisha is likable and funny, and I think she will learn after these early shows that she doesn't have to over-explain everything... you can actually see her loosening up a bit already I think... so that will be fine.

 

I hope they will bring other performers from the old shows back... there were a lot of good ones besides the staples of Wayne/Colin/Ryan...

 

Oh... and there's a little bit of sneakiness with the guest-performers... because the ones that are on other shows... IF it is a CW show then that is advertising for the CW... IF it is for another network show, then I'm sure they get some compensation for that...  so it is a sneaky way to get some money via the guests.

 

As always, the show works best when things go wrong...  probably the best moment of the new series so far...  the episode with the synchronized swimmers and Colin/Ryan had to use them as props... and you could see those guys were properly uncomfortable about manhandling the swimsuit-wearing girls... and that made the skit way funnier than it would have been otherwise.


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#8 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 03 August 2013 - 07:18 PM

Or the look on Colin's face when he was the game show prize. It's nice to have a show where what they say is actually true. It's obvious that it is really improv, though I think they did "martial arts film" a few times already on their mat. But the magic lotus move was pretty good.



#9 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 04 August 2013 - 06:24 PM

The running jokes are also good, when things happen... like getting kicked in the head and then everybody keeps working that into the rest of the show somehow.


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#10 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 07:58 PM

...Aishah is growing on me. I hate her loud voice that she uses to introduce the stars, but after that she's not bad.

 

The loud voice is probably due to her also being on another show where the main idea is to outshout each other. Howard Stern perfected the "overlapping conversation" technique decades ago; folks on his show know exactly how to make that work, and have raised it to an art form. But no one else seems to be able to figure this out. And The Talk and its other clones seem to not have the first clue on how to accomplish that.


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#11 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 08:07 PM

...Oh... and there's a little bit of sneakiness with the guest-performers... because the ones that are on other shows... IF it is a CW show then that is advertising for the CW... IF it is for another network show, then I'm sure they get some compensation for that...  so it is a sneaky way to get some money via the guests...

 

CW, that's just normal inbred synergy. Others, I sincerely doubt there is any compensation to or from other shows. The world just really doesn't work that way. Actors are not part of a "star system" like Hollywood in the thirties; they are free agents, private contractors. The only motivation for the show is to help bump ratings, and the only motivation for the actors is that they get paid. It is really unlikely that there is any more to it than that.


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#12 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 01:20 PM

CW, that's just normal inbred synergy. Others, I sincerely doubt there is any compensation to or from other shows. The world just really doesn't work that way. Actors are not part of a "star system" like Hollywood in the thirties; they are free agents, private contractors. The only motivation for the show is to help bump ratings, and the only motivation for the actors is that they get paid. It is really unlikely that there is any more to it than that.

 

Au contraire...   a lot of actors are forbidden from appearing on shows on a competing network during their contracts... exceptions are made, however, for talk show appearances that promote the show.  I have to think Whose Line gets similar treatment...  they say "we want Billy Bob" and ABC says "you can have Billy Bob as long as every time you introduce him you introduce him as 'Billy Bob from CSI:FBI:AMA:LMNOP'"...


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#13 OFFLINE   Church AV Guy

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 05:01 PM

I must be on a different page from the rest of you.  I have seen all four versions of this show (UK version, Drew Carey  version, the Game Show network Green Screen version, and this one) and I have liked each successive one less.  Skipping through the parts I don't so much care for, I can watch this version of a 30 minute show in something like seven to ten minutes.  Just how many commercial breaks do they need to put in a show that is so inexpensive to produce?

 

I'm not so impressed.


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#14 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 15 August 2013 - 11:33 PM

Au contraire...   a lot of actors are forbidden from appearing on shows on a competing network during their contracts... exceptions are made, however, for talk show appearances that promote the show.  I have to think Whose Line gets similar treatment...  they say "we want Billy Bob" and ABC says "you can have Billy Bob as long as every time you introduce him you introduce him as 'Billy Bob from CSI:FBI:AMA:LMNOP'"...

 

This construct is pure fantasy, existing probably no place other than inside your mind. Production companies and networks have no motivation to do this. If they do, then just what is that motivation? Fear that someone might see an actor from that other show, like their work and then see that person in a promo for the original show or go on IMDB and discover that he is also in their show and might convert that person into a loyal viewer? If that is problematic, then it's an awfully good problem to have.

 

Exposure of an actor on another production is seen as promotion. as a good thing, and is not seen as something that can dilute the brand or cause harm. Such clauses would be considered restraint of trade. Even rare noncompete contracts (which seek to prevent an actor from working for a competitor for a period after no longer working for the first company) carry very little weight anymore because there is strong legal precedent in them being shot down. Which made them even more rare.

 

The contracts of actors focus primarily on them being available for the part they are signed for, so only if there would be a scheduling conflict would it violate a contract. Billy Bob can't decide to guest on another show if that takes him away from being able to make call on the show he is contracted for, for instance, and he can't do a dangerous stunt that might threaten the primary production, or work on a movie for 14 hours the day before a 5 AM call for the main program.

 

Allowing actors to moonlight makes them happy and broadens their skills and appeal and makes them more likely to sign for a show in the first place knowing they have the opportunity to also do other things, once again as long as it does not threaten the schedule. And a spot on "Whose..." takes a couple of hours out of the day, meaning there is typically no logistical problem.

 

Almost every actor who has a continuing part in a TV series also attempts to find other work during hiatus, and that has been the common practice for decades. Every series lead tries to get a movie role for the summer, except for those too busy or too rich to want to work that much. Look at veteran actor Dennis Haysbert (The Unit, 24) , for example. He is often seen in a TV drama, and right there in the very same program is an insurance commercial starring, guess who, Dennis Haysbert himself. The production company loves that. The sponsor loves that. Everybody wins.

 

That said, there are also development deals and "put" projects and holding deals and clauses regarding right of first refusal, and various other things that put minor restrictions on what an actor can do, but no one holds a gun to their head; they are usually saved for those who can't afford to stand up to such leverage, which is why those are not comparatively common among successful working "named" lead or even 2nd and 3rd-billed actors in TV dramas and comedies, but there is nothing like the old Hollywood system where studios control every aspect of an actor's professional and even personal life, and nothing even close to suggesting that.

 

Sure, studios would like to have more control over actors and what they do in their professional and private lives and what they tweet and when they tweet, but all you have to do is look at the Charlie Sheen story where the most powerful network and one of its very most popular shows run by one of the most successful showrunners ever had absolutely zero control over the situation. All they could do was fire him, which he wanted and they didn't. The show, which was a golden goose for years, had a little bump in popularity due to the publicity factor, then promptly sunk in the ratings and will never be the money machine it once was. The only one who wanted that was Charlie.

 

What is typical, even ubiquitous, is that everyone signs for 5 or 6 years, meaning they have to be availble to show up and act in the project they signed for, and are allowed to do wnatever else they can fit in and are lucky enough to get. Studios have the right to fire an actor at any time, which is how they prevent having to pay actors for a show that is not picked up for a consecutive season or cancelled. If the show is wildly successful, runs for 100 episodes and gets a syndication deal, then if the show goes beyond the original 5 or 6, actors then bargain for a new deal, which is significantly more money (because at that point the production company can afford it).

 

It's really not any more complicated than that.


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