February 10th, 2006; a date that will live in infamy. It was on this day that innovation and creativity received a crippling kidney punch, as the critically acclaimed television series “Arrested Development” aired its final episode on Fox Television; its replacement? “Skating With the Stars.” If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.
[For those of you unaware or unfamiliar with the show, please resume your normal daily routine, as this attempt at whimsy will not register.]
The show serves as a terrific example of the sometimes risky and unappreciated result of “breakthrough” performance. Completely different in content, delivery, and filming style, the show became a critical darling very quickly, while also building a loyal, rabid (albeit small) fan following. The flip-side of this designation is the risk involved with ignoring a formula intended for the flock. Television is made for the masses…ratings over quality. If you need any reaffirmation of that fact, realize “The Bachelor” is currently in its 17th season of craptastic entertainment.
It takes courage to step into a Blue Ocean. Truth be told, “Arrested Development,” in all its brilliance, may have never seen the light of day if not for previous envelope-pushers like “Soap” and “The Office” (no, not our American vanilla version, I’m talking about the Ricky Gervais model.) Greatness takes
risks and unconventional methods, even at the cost of ratings/share. In the case of AD, that meant three seasons of brilliance before the plug was pulled.
But, here it is 7 years later, and Arrested Development fans are still clamoring for the return of their beloved show. Meanwhile, who cries for “Skating With the Stars?”
John “Whit” Whitaker is Founder of the HR Hardball™ movement. Sundays are Fundays on Hardball, hope you enjoy!