Will 'Swingtown' Be CBS' '30 Rock'?

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September 10th, 2008

For a show hardly anyone seems to watch there are a bunch of fans of the CBS show Swingtown online who hope Swingtown isn't cancelled. There's the requisite sites and message boards to save the show though I haven't yet seen whether Swingtown fans plan to send condoms to CBS instead of the peanuts its Jericho brethren sent.

There still has been no formal word and it's very possible that CBS would say nothing even if it did cancel it. But is there a chance it would be saved? On the Nielsen ratings numbers alone the chances of that are so close to zero that they might as well be zero. The numbers are so bad, especially after being shipped off to the ghetto that is summer Friday nights that they are not even worth detailing here. But sometimes there are other factors besides the numbers and perhaps this is one of those times.

For one, CBS is apparently very enamored with the show's producer/creator Mike Kelley and CBS Paramount signed him to a seven figure two year deal. BiCoastal, co-produced with Sean Hayes is already slated for the CBS owned Showtime. The show focuses on the challenges of a man trying to balance a normal family life in LA while falling in love with a man in New York.

Kelley's path to riches apparently involved producing a lot of beer commercials, but he has written for One Tree Hill and The O.C. as well as NBC's Providence. He also worked on Jericho which means it's possible for CBS to love the man without loving the show, but the buzz seems to be that execs at CBS really like Swingtown and are disappointed with the numbers.

After inking the two year deal, Kelley said that Swingtown was his priority and that he thinks there is a home for the show and hopes it is on CBS. While normally I'd look at its numbers and say, "Uh...no," I'm not convinced CBS wouldn't give it another shot next summer or mid-season merely because it makes the execs at CBS feel good.

NBC's 30 Rock doesn't pull great numbers although it does OK in terms of percent of viewers who are in the 18-49 demographic and reportedly does well among high income viewers as well. But the insiders at NBC, including NBC chief Jeff Zucker *love* that 30 Rock is an insidery show that pokes fun at the network. Without that love, I doubt 30 Rock would still be on the air (I enjoy 30 Rock very much, by the way).

CBS may have similar feelings towards Swingtown. If Les Moonves likes it, that may be all that's necessary. After all, he paid Katie Couric a bunch of money and just this week said he's very happy with how things are going and is very patient even though the CBS Evening News could be re-titled the CBS Evening Lose, because it's always in last place. There are external factors at play that could save the show despite the poor showing in the Nielsen ratings.

We'll see.

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