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The Z List - This Week's Biggest Losers 05/19/07

5/19/2007 3:59 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Paul HaggisGeorge Lopez lost a bunch of money this week because of Geico, whose cavemen characters helped nudge him off the ABC-TV grid. At least Lopez made it to the promised land of syndication; others in the annual network TV upfront derby weren't so lucky.

Paul Haggis: On the film side, Haggis, who shares his hometown of London, Ontario with hottie couple Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams -- is used to making history. He's the only screenwriter responsible for back-to-back Best Pictures ("Million Dollar Baby" and "Crash"). But on the small screen, his much ballyhooed NBC drama "The Black Donnelly's" is simply ... history. Maybe Haggis should have taken the hint when the network relegated an eighth episode, "God is a Comedian," to the realm of iTunes because it was deemed too violent. Squeezed in between "The Departed" and "The Sopranos," this story of four brothers in an Irish mob family wound up not having the luck of their brethren.

Donald LogueDonald Logue: It's never a good sign when a sitcom's working titles were way funnier than the one they eventually used. Who knows? If ABC's "Knights of Prosperity" had stuck with either "I Want to Rob Jeff Goldblum" or "Let's Rob Mick Jagger," it might not have been grounded for life. But Logue was a sport about it all, jumping onto the IMDB bulletin boards before the upfronts, giving fans the scoop and putting in his two cents about the context of his cancellation. "We opened against a bowl game (Notre Dame LSU) and did well," he wrote of his show's critically acclaimed first episode. "The next week we were pre-empted by George Bush assuring the U.S. public that 25,000 more troops were going to be asked to give up their lives by getting between Sunnis and Shias who have been fighting for 1300 years..."

Andy RichterAndy Richter: Conan's former sidekick just cannot catch a break in primetime. With NBC chopping "Andy Barker P.I.," he's got another one to add a trash heap, which includes "Quintuplets" and "Andy Richter Controls the Universe." What really stings in this case is that Conan co-created the show with Richter and threw all of his weight behind it at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. "I feel like this is the best primetime work I have ever done," said Richter at the time. But when Richter saw that NBC was willing to put all six episodes up on the Internet before they had aired, it must have felt about as good as reading the reviews for his Olsen twins flick "New York Minute."

Michael Rapaport Michael Rapaport: Always a fun guest on "The Best Damn Sports Show Period," this guy's sitcom "The War at Home" was moved around willy-nilly for two years by Fox, eventually winding up in the death slot of 7:30 PM Sundays. And even though Rapaport has another TV pilot cooking over at CBS called "Fugly," he still sounded pissed when he sent out a pre-emptive MySpace bulletin last weekend, confirming the cancellation of his family comedy. It was definitely in-your-face entertainment ala "Married with Children," but one suspects that if Simon Cowell had been cast as the nosy neighbor, it would have survived.

Aaron Sorkin Aaron Sorkin: In the sketch show, coin-flip sweepstakes, Sorkin's low-rated "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" lost out on Monday to the scandal-plagued "30 Rock." Sorkin fans everywhere are still in mourning, bemoaning the fact that a new bionic woman has been favored by the Peacock over unabashedly adult entertainment. But after a hiatus revamp failed to win viewers with more romance, this very expensive failure will now get to play out the string on Thursdays. Still, Sorkin has what no others in TV land have: the ability to cry all the way to the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts-Mike Nichols bank (the stars and director of the upcoming Sorkin-scripted feature film, "Charlie Wilson's War").

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There are more than 18 Black Donnelly's fans---which is a miracle since it had either reality or teenage show lead-ins and was stuck in 24 hangover land at 10 pm on Mondays. We'll see how the DVD set sells. You never know. Too bad it was cancelled...but at least it wasn't another Friend's retread that had such predictable stereotypes and pathetic characters and writing as Studio 60. I for one am waiting on Goldcase to be put in the 10pm slot next year on Mondays. If it weren't for the Office and Earl, NBC would be dead.

2667 days ago

bíró zoltán    

2665 days ago


Paul Haggis did a wonderful job with The Black Donnellys. It was well written, produced and acted. NBC's decision to cancel it is just another nail in their coffin of ratings and the reason they will continue to trail behind all the other networks.

I'm adding my hope with the others that this fantastic show will get the recognition it deserves and be signed for a second season on a network that will appreciate it.

2677 days ago


Wow, it looks like the Donnelly fans came out to spam this article, all 18 of them. Sorry to burst your bubble, but YES the show sucked.

The brothers were way too stupid and inexperienced to pull any of this crap off and take over a part of NYC, plus they were such scumbags that you wanted them dead by the third episode, especially Jimmy. Add in a horrible narrator and bad plots, you get TBD. One hell of an awful show, worse than Studio 60 which had some good actors.

Any show that loses half of it's pilots audience in a matter of weeks deserves to be cancelled. NBC did the right job there. If only they can pick up better pilots the next time around.

2676 days ago


Puh-leeze. The Black Donnely's sucked horribly. Who cares about a family of delinquints? I couldn't even get all the way through the pilot it was so awful. I'm especially angry because they canned the incredible Studio 60 for it. Of course, most of America isn't intelligent enough to get that show, so they had to fall back on (what else?) a violent Irish family. I blame the moronic American people who can't get enough of Jerry Springer and reality TV.

2676 days ago


Reply to T-Bar: So most of America isn't intelligent to get Studio 60, but one such as yourself who is intelligent enough to get it can't spell delinquent.


2674 days ago


To Mike........if the show was really that unwatchable as you say, how did you ever stay around until the third episode? Seriously, TBD is a great show with depth that you apparently haven't reached yet. It's ok, there has to be shallow people in the world too!

2673 days ago


What a crock! Both respondents with negative feedback about TBD had spelling issues. "...half of it's pilots audience..." should be "...half of its pilot's audience..."

But I digress. THIS IS FRIGGIN PAUL HAGGIS!!!! CRASH, anyone??!! The writing was great, and I really hope the recent shake-up at NBC will result in this show coming back.

2669 days ago


if this guy aint HIGH i dont know who is!!!

oh yeah-- an FIRST! for the FIRST time ever!!

2681 days ago

Nikki Allen    

You guys couldn't be more wrong about Haggis. The Black Donnellys did not fail because it was a horrible show. It was so amazing and if you took the time to actually sit down and watch all of it (which is on, you would know that! The Black Donnellys failed because it wasn't advertised enough and it was in a horrible time slot. Think about it, Studio 60 and The Real Wedding Crashers were both in the same time slot and they got cancelled too. What does that tell you? The time slot was one of the things that did it. I'm just hoping that another network sees what NBC couldn't. That The Black Donnellys is one of the most amazing shows on TV and should be on TV for years to come. Haggis is amazing and in no way did anything wrong by making this incredible show!

2680 days ago

Ernest Phillips    

You're so WRONG. The Black Donnellys is a great , GREAT, show. Its my belief one that the show wasn't given enough time to take root. I also think the show is a victim of "reality-nomics". Reality-nomics is the word I've coined for cheap networks that don't want to pay for real actors on real tv shows. Instead, they offer a small amount of prize money (compared to the production costs of a great drama like TBD) to watch a group of "real" people make idiots of themselves. Americans seem to love watching the misery and cut-throat behavior of people.

I hope Haggis, along with the actors of TBD shop around and get the show picked up. It will be a rain maker for someone. Please do some research before you slam a cancelled show. It doesn't always mean its a bad show, sometimes it means the network heads made a BAD decision.

2680 days ago


First of all, "God Is A Comedian" was the 3rd episode of "The Black Donnellys" (no apostrophe, the name is not possessive). Had you actually watched the show, you would know that. It's NBC that should be on the Z-List for screwing up "The Black Donnellys" because it was great, it was just very badly promoted and went up against CSI: Miami AND the NCAA playoffs. It also had a nauseating 2-hour Deal or No Deal lead-in for its 3rd-7th episodes.

2680 days ago


the Black Donnellys had to be the best drama on tv.

2680 days ago


The Black Donnllys is the best show to hit network television in a long time. And then to have it replaced by a reality show is an insult to NBC viewers. NBC did not give this show a chance to survive. They did not promote it well and then put it in a known failure of a time slot. This show has a lot of supportive fans that are doing everything in their power to get this show back.

2680 days ago


The Black Donnellys was the best thing that has happened in television. The demise of the show (though hopefully not permanently) was all due to the disastrous decisions that NBC has been making. All of their other shows have done so much worse. Haggis is not to blame. It's the network. The show has a huge fan following despite the fact that the show had practically no media promotion. I personally want to thank Paul Haggis for giving us some real television, and now, something worthwhile to fight for! The show is smart, witty, emotionally wrenching, passionate.... the writing, acting, and directing are all superb.

I mean, NBC put Heroes in hiatus in the middle of the season, and then lost a huge chunk of fans when they finally decided to bring it back. Whose fault was that? Why do you think that NBC is in fourth place? It certainly isn't due to a single show!

2680 days ago
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