About

James Hibberd's 'Rated' is TVWeek.com's daily programming news and ratings blog.

Email James Hibberd. Subscribe: Rated RSS feed / TVWeek E-Daily Newsletter

Categories

James Hibberd



Why NBC’s Version of 'Coupling' Didn’t Work

July 13, 2007 1:58 PM

“I can answer it with three letters: N-B-C. Very, very good writing team. Very, very good cast. The network fucked it up because they intervened endlessly. If you really want a job to work, don’t get Jeff Zucker’s team to come help you because they’re not funny … I think I’m entitled to say that because I think the way in which NBC slagged off the creative team on American “Coupling” after its failure was disgraceful and traitorous. So I enjoy slagging them off. That’s the end of my career in L.A. I’ll be leaving shortly.”

-- Steven Moffat, a writer and producer on the successful BBC version—and demonized NBC version—of “Coupling.”

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.tvweek.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2661

Comments (13)

Amanda:

I love you, Steven Moffat.

He can get in line. There are a lot of sitcom people not working in Hollywood right now. Or they're being asked to pad their stories out to an hour with dramatic elements and re-pitch. I don't know that for sure, but it certainly seems so when you look at the fall schedule.

I just hope that "team" Moffat talks about handles their next British import better than they did his show. And how about some reasonable expectations and audience building to support these show.

Fortunately I fully enjoy Coupling on BBC America (which I think is overseen by, ultimately, Zucker, isn't it?) and on DVD.

John:

Jeff Zucker has royally f---ed up the network that once had all the best shows on television. Somehow he has continually ascended to higher and higher levels of power at NBC, even though he has made some HORRIBLE desicions. I'm glad someone has finally acknowledged that the NBC Emperor is indeed naked!

Nick Caldwell:

That would be Steven Moffat, the creator of Coupling.

Jennifer:

Amen to that.

It's unbelievable some of the crap that gets put on television (and then of course pulled off right away for low ratings) due to crappy, uninformed decisions made by power-hungry network execs who 'think' they know it all but actually have no talent, no real experience in developing story and character, no idea whatsoever as to what they're doing, just an over-priced suit full of arrogance and nothing worthwhile.

These guys should be serving fried burritos at Taco Bell drive-throughs, not incompetently messing with television intended to be enjoyed by tens of millions of viewers (and their advertisers).

At the very least, they should be put into these high-level network jobs starting at $30,000 a year until they've proven their actual ability to deliver quality programming that gets ratings. That will weed out the current batch of self-important idiots fast.

Jennifer:

Amen to that.

It's unbelievable some of the crap that gets put on television (and then of course pulled off right away for low ratings) due to crappy, uninformed decisions made by power-hungry network execs who 'think' they know it all but actually have no talent, no real experience in developing story and character, no idea whatsoever as to what they're doing, just an over-priced suit full of arrogance and nothing worthwhile.

These guys should be serving fried burritos at Taco Bell drive-throughs, not incompetently messing with television intended to be enjoyed by tens of millions of viewers (and their advertisers).

At the very least, they should be put into these high-level network jobs starting at $30,000 a year until they've proven their actual ability to deliver quality programming that gets ratings. That will weed out the current batch of self-important idiots fast.

Robin:

Sure, but NBC also scored big with the remake of The Office.

Stephen Van Sant:

I am a huge fan of the BBC Coupling and have seen every episode. I saw the first episode of the NBC Coupling, which was basically a remake of the first BBC Coupling episode. And guess what, Steven? IT REALLY SUCKED. If you can't nail a show with the same script and different actors, it's already in trouble. Blame Jeff Zucker and his eeevil team's interference if you want, but the show I and the American people saw was terrible and had awful ratings. He had a right to cancel it. Would you have complained if Zucker had interfered and the show was a huge success, yet unfunny as hell?

P.S. why complain 4 years after a show gets cancelled? Did Zucker do something to you recently that brought back memories?

adamblast:

That would be Stephen Moffat, *creator* of Coupling, *creator* of the currently brilliant Jekyll, and every fan's dream candidate to replace Russell T Davies as the Doctor Who show-runner next year.

Thank God for NBC's stupidity--Moffat's been making brilliant TV ever since.

Steven Moffat:

Hello.

In response to an earlier remark - I mentioned the NBC Coupling only cos I was in LA on a press junket about Jekyll and got endlessly asked about it. And, yes, the American Coupling didn't work, I know - I'm talking about the REASON it didn't work. Which was, far as I could see, endless and ill-informed network interference. I may have been intemperate in what I said, but I don't think I was unclear.

But anyway, it's only some old comedy. Whatever. I'm sure everyone involved is nice really. Except me.


Steven

Steve, I can't imagine your not being a pleasant, interesting person. It shows in your work.

How could a man who invented a name for a porn video (in an ep of Coupling) called Lesbian Spank Inferno be anything but the nicest of guys?

Seriously, I'm not much of a fan of the Zuckster, either.

Love Coupling, though. And Jekyll (although I haven't seen the finale yet, saving it for tonight) was outstanding.

Thanks for all the great TV, and Stop by my blog, too.

http://IAmATVJunkie.com

Seems the practice has seeped & oozed down through the entire NBC conglomerate!

Case in point: the Dresden Files on Sci-Fi Channel. Despite input by the writer of the books the show is based on and good ratings the execs decided not to renew. What's more, they KNEW they were not going to renew in JUNE, but waited until AUGUST when the lead actor - Paul Blackthorne - had found a recurring role on another series. THEN they posted a statement obliquely implying this was why the show wouldn't be renewed. Class act, that.

The fans are understandably angry & just as equally confused as to why such a quality show is not on the fall schedule. The series has fans all over the world & the number grows daily as new fans are made through DVD sales & rentals. Despite a total LACK of advertising & NO re-runs, the DVD's are selling VERY well and over 4,000 (100 per day) signatures have been posted to the New Home 4 Dresden Petition.

Yet neither NBC nor Sci-Fi have yet deigned to acknowledge their customers - the viewers - despite thousands of letters. They seem to stubbornly believe they (the suits) know what's best & that we viewers do well to chew gum & breathe at the same time.

GE needs to get their Sig Sigma-trained brains in gear & do something before there's nothing left of the network or its subsidiaries!

Zarina:

Correction: I meant SIX Sigma - sorry for the typo!

Post a comment