Today in show business news: A Fox comedy gets the axe a day after an ABC comedy did, Showtime is developing a potentially controversial new show, and an American Horror Story alum returns to the show.
Another day, another comedy down. Yesterday it was ABC's Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 (we can start saying "bitch" now that it's off the air, right?), today it's Fox's Ben & Kate. The network has pulled the show, about a brother and sister duo played by Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson (son of Don & Melanie G.), from its schedule starting immediately, and will be replacing it with back-to-back episodes of Raising Hope. Ah well. Though many critics (though, ahem, not all) liked the show, and as is almost always the case its small fanbase was fairly devoted, Ben & Kate never had the oopmh, in ratings or in on demand viewings, of other Fox comedies like New Girl and, to a lesser extent, The Mindy Project. (Which just did a fairly significant cast retooling.) Meanwhile Fox has only one new comedy coming in during the midseason shuffle, the strange-looking The Goodwin Games, which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, "recently had its episode count cut to just seven." So... it's thin times in the Fox comedy department, just when they looked to be getting robust. (THR also points out that Raising Hope's future is in jeopardy, as its creator and showrunner Greg Garcia just finished a contract with Fox and is moving on to new things.) At least there's The Following to buoy the network! Or, well, maybe not. American Idol? Hm, not really. All right then, New Girl it is. Go long, Zooey. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Robert De Niro and his producing partner Jane Rosenthal have successfully pitched a project to Showtime, one with the button-pushing title The Fourth Reich. The show would be about neo-Nazis, particularly "a dogmatic faction of the neo-Nazi movement in South Boston. When a former leader is sprung from jail by agreeing to become a confidential informant to the FBI, he assimilates back to his old life and finds his estranged 15-year-old son has been co-opted by his former best friend and now current leader of the Brotherhood. The trajectory of the series will track the central character caught between two worlds as he starts to gain perspective and change." So... it's American History X meets Donnie Brasco meets Good Will Hunting. Hm. The Boston thing is strange. I know that people like that do exist in Southie and elsewhere in the city, but it's not exactly a hot-bed. Ah well. The show does sound kind of interesting, though it's going to be really hard to make many of the characters even remotely likable. At least on Sons of Anarchy they're not complete monsters. But neo-Nazis? Those dudes are real jerks. But really, we shouldn't worry. We can trust a network like Showtime to handle the material delicately, wisely, and without a hint of sensationalism. I mean, that's just what Showtime does. Showtime is the one that aired The Sopranos and The Wire right? [Deadline]