July 8, 2012
Vijaya Prasad

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The New West Wing?

I’m a big fan of Aaron Sorkin, his work including the West Wing, and that the fictional characters Sam Seaborn, Jet Bartlett, and other fictional characters have strong twitter followins, six years after the show existed the television stratosphere.

So when I saw that Richard Schiff was promoting a new show, it spiked my curiosity. The new show, titled Chasing the Hill is “…a pay-per-view online series launching Sunday, July 15th at 6am PT” according to its website. It’s a political show, that shows how the world has changed has changed, appropriate for an election year!

The show’s gotten some good press, mainly from Politico and The Hollywood Reporter. A quote from the latter,

The fictional plot will feature appearances from real-life politicians, adding a kind of docudrama feeling to accompany the series’ guerilla-style approach to give the series a sense of realism. Many scenes will be shot on location with hand-held cameras.

The politics of releasing a show online in a pay-per-view model are certainly evolving.

I love that Richard Schiff is working with Joshua Malina, also alum for The West Wing. The show had some talented actors and it’s always disheartening to see them guest star in minor roles when they were great. This show might give them a chance to shine again!

The Hollywood Reporter article, published in mid-April quoted the premiere episode date as sometime in mid May.

(Show Director Brent) Roske says after the first episode posts in mid-May, and they will wait about six weeks to put up the second episode. After that they hope to post a new episode every week or two until they complete the first batch of ten, and then they will decide if it goes forward for a second season.

The (more recent) Politico article contradicts that information:

The show is scheduled to have six episodes in its first season and can be downloaded on a pay-per-view basis.

Doing the math on it, it seems the show will likely lose at least part of their audience  if the powers that be, take six weeks to air the second episode, given that they’re already behind their original schedule. Unless,that is, the first one is beyond phenomenal and gets glowing reviews in The New York Times.

I don’t agree with their pay structure, with all the online content out there that’s available free-of-charge, this feels like they’re asking their goal audience to put their faith in West Wing credentials (see screenshot above), but that also had Aaron Sorkin’s name, and if he endorsed this show, I’d reconsider. Till then, I’m afraid I’ll be watching The Newsroom.

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