'Daisies' Staff Not Ready to Say Die
November 11, 2008 9:37 PM
"The idea would be to finish out the season's story arcs in comic books" if the on-the-bubble hour isn't picked up, Fuller told a full house at the Paley Center for Media on Tuesday night. He said he hoped his writing staff, most of whom were present for the "Inside the Writers' Room" panel, would be part of the project "to satisfy the fans and ourselves, to finish up the stories we'd love to tell." Warner Bros. Television, which produces the series, is a corporate sibling to DC Comics, which would be the likely publisher, Fuller said. (He also mentioned Wildstorm as a possibility.)
"That would clear the slate for a movie," Fuller added.
"Pushing Daisies" is scheduled to wrap the final episode of its 13-episode order on Thursday, and there's still no word from the network on whether that back-nine order is forthcoming, Fuller said. "It's radio silence," he said. "We ask ABC and they say 'wait and see.'
"We have a great back nine we pitched to the network," he added. "I think they're waiting on a lot of factors," including the ratings, which went up when the show was the lone network entertainment program to air in its regular slot against Barack Obama's half-hour informercial. They gained a million viewers that night, and are hoping to retain at least some of that gain on subsequent episodes.
"If it's our last episode," Fuller said of the one currently shooting, "it's something we can all be proud of."
Although he wouldn't go into great detail, he compared it to the ending of his earlier series, "Wonderfalls." "It sets up a new direction for the series, but it's a satisfying ending," he said, adding, "It's a big game-changer."
Given the many plot strands that have been unfurled this season, the writers had to choose one story to service. "So we chose one to service in the best way possible, and Aaron [Harberts] and Gretchen [Berg] wrote the shit out of a script," Fuller said.
Fuller said that starting with last week's episode, "Dim Sum and Lose Some," they're "shifting the show into a 'Twin Peaks'-ian soap opera." Further evidence of that was given with next week's episode, "Oh, Oh, Oh, It's Magic," which was screened at the Paley Center. (No spoilers here, except to say that it was one of the funniest episodes yet.)
And speaking of game-changers, both Fuller and his fellow executive producer Peter Ocko applied that description to the writers strike earlier this year. "The long-term effects of the strike have been more detrimental than expected," Fuller said, pointing to a 20% permanent loss of viewers during the 1989 strike and an unknown loss this time around. "The networks have to adjust their expectations of what a success is." (This means you, ABC.)
"What's working is the tried-and-true—procedurals, hospital dramas—and that's scary," he continued. "It doesn't bode real well for the future."
Ocko agreed, saying, "We're at a tipping point. The networks have to lower the bar of expectations."
Striking a somewhat optimistic tone, he said, "Other venues will be more receptive and have more cash than the networks." (DirecTV, are you listening?)
Other tidbits emerged during the panel discussion, moderated by Kristen DosSantos and featuring "Daisies" staffers Aaron Harberts, Lisa Joy, Dara Creasey, Chad Creasey, Abby Gewanter, Jim Gray, Gretchen Berg and Kath Lingenfelter, in addition to Fuller and Ocko:
—Marian the muffin lady from "Wonderfalls" will appear on "Daisies," competing with Ned and Olive in a Comfort Food Cook-Off. "Fox actually had to loan out the character from their library so she could do the show," Harberts explained.
—Fans hoping to keep the show alive or to show their appreciation have sent pies, daisies and daisy seeds to the staff. "And who doesn't like pie?" quipped a writer.
—Asked by DosSantos if there was "any chance of a loophole" that would allow Ned and Chuck to touch (if you don't know why that's a problem, the Daily Blink is amazed you've read this far), Fuller responded incredulously, "Like during an eclipse?" He explained, "I think it's more fun to see the characters overcome an obstacle than to have the obstacle disappear," and enumerated some of the creative ways that obstacle has been surmounted thus far.
—The pitch for the storyline of Emerson Cod's missing daughter came from ... Emerson Cod himself. Shooting one of the early episodes, actor Chi McBride suggested that his character's motivation for becoming a private investigator might be that his daughter disappeared, and he wants to find her. As Berg quipped, "Done!" An upcoming episode will return to that storyline and introduce the mother of the missing girl ... and perhaps more. (The Daily Blink doesn't do spoilers!)
—There will be a soundtrack CD released on Dec. 9, according to Fuller. It will include music from the show's score, and, if they can get permission from various labels, Kristin Chenoweth's duet with Ellen Greene on "Birdhouse in Your Soul," among other songs performed during the show. Fuller also said they're hoping to put songs by the Bangles and Lionel Richie, among others, on a planned season two CD.
—Wendie Malick and Nora Dunn will be the guest stars on a future episode, playing the Aqua Dolls, erstwhile rivals to Lily and Vivian Charles' Darling Mermaid Darlings. Berg described the Aqua Dolls thus: "They swam for Christ and country." Fuller, on the other hand, called them "the Sarah Palins of synchronized swimming." Also in that episode, Wilson Cruz will play "solo synchro sensation Sid Tango," Harberts said.
—There will be an entire episode that's an homage to "Pete's Dragon."
—Lisa D. Horowitz