ABC, You Need a Hit Show — Try “Malibu Country”

“Entertainment Weekly” is the best entertainment magazine out there, but I think they’re dropping the ball on the upcoming fall shows it keeps mentioning and mostly, for the one, it doesn’t mention.  And, here’s a disclaimer, I’m not objective.

In the past few months, “EW” has had two articles, including one in the new issue with the cast of the upcoming “Dark Shadows” movie on the cover, about upcoming fall shows that have buzz.  And, the show that I’m buzzed about when networks reveal their new fall show line-ups in two weeks is not mentioned.  More on that later.

While I’ve ranted time and time again about country music radio being ageist and sexist, thus we basically only heard one song from Reba McEntire’s last album, “All The Women I Am” which opened at #3 on the Billboard album chart.

The first single, “Turn On the Radio” became Reba’s 60th Top 10 hit on the country charts, making her the first female country artist in history to achieve that many top 10 hits. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week of January 1, 2011, making it McEntire’s 25th #1 song on the chart, tying Dolly Parton for most #1 songs by a female country artist.

Here’s “Turn on the Radio” live in Moline, Illinois, that I recorded last October:

After that, Reba’s cover of Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy” stalled at #22, “When Love Gets a Hold of You” peaked at #40, and “Somebody’s Chelsea” missed the top 40 reaching only #44.

However, this is not about Reba, the country music icon.  It’s about Reba, the actress.

As you may or may not know, Reba was originally cast as  the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” in James Cameron’s “Titanic”, the second biggest movie ever made!  However, Cameron had to change his shooting schedule and because Reba had already scheduled her tour, she had to drop out and the role went to the fabulous Kathy Bates.

“Reba” made her television series debut in the fall of 2001 with the WB hit, “Reba”.  She played a divorced mother of three children that had to deal with divorce, her teenage daughter’s pregnancy, and her ex-husband and his mistress’ pregnancy.  And, that was just in the pilot.

The show ran for six seasons and earned Reba a “People’s Choice Award” for Favorite Female in a New Television Series” in 2001 and a “Golden Globe” nomination in 2006 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy.

The show, over the six season run, averaged four million viewers, which was great for the upstart WB network.  “Reba” set a new all-time viewership record for any program on the WB’s Friday night (best-ever Friday in women 18–49).

That was then and this is now, “Entertainment Weekly”.  Wake up and listen to me.

Last fall, Reba confirmed that ABC wanted a pilot for her second television series titled, “Malibu Country”, which will also star Lily Tomlin as Reba’s mother, Shirley.  The show is being produced by Dave Stewart.  Yes, the Dave Stewart from the ’80s new wave band, the Eurythmics.  It will also feature a gay teenage character!

Reba will star as a divorced mother of three who moves to Malibu, California to restart her music career.  What, a divorced mother of three?  Original. 🙂

However, I’m very excited about the “restart her music career” part.  This means Reba could be singing every week or, if not, several times during the season.  It also means, like Glee, that Reba can crank out several albums and not have to service the songs to country radio.  This means she could sing country, pop, dance, whatever she wants and not have to kiss country music programmers’ ass!

The pilot was filmed last month and if ABC picks up the show (and it’d better be), production would begin on the first season in August.

Note to ABC, my station’s affiliate:  You’ve had many crappy, low rated shows over the past few years.  Although this show will not score “Lost” or “Desperate Housewives” ratings, it doesn’t have to be successful if you know what you’re doing.  I’m still ticked at you for getting me involved in “Eli Stone” and “Commander-in-Chief” and cancelling them after two seasons and one season, respectively.

I hope to see this show this fall and finally have something that I’d like to watch on ABC.



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