Saturday, October 30, 2004


Perhaps in response to the glut of those so-called "reality" shows (at least those which are affected by audience participation), a couple of the scripted series are leaving facets of their fate up to the fickle feelings of their fans.

On a recent episode of 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent', two different endings were filmed to show what happened to Detective Goren's arch-nemesis. In one scenario shown on the East Coast, Nicole Wallace lived, killing her protege and making good her escape.

But on the West Coast, Wallace was killed with two shots to the heart by Goren's partner, Detective Eames. But she killed her protege in that scenario as well.

116,000 people logged on to to vote as to which ending would be her fate.

The answer was revealed on the following Sunday night's show. As a child-killer, one would think Nicole Wallace was an easy target for getting "voted off the island". Dick Wolf, the 'Law & Order' overlord, has proven time and again that actors are interchangeable and definitely replaceable. But he's a big fan of Nicole Wallace - "Personally I am loath to find permanent solutions for characters who leave shows."

It appears the audience agrees with him. There were 62,074 votes to let her live, and 54,224 wanted to see her dead. (By the way, I voted for Nicole to live. I agree with Wolf: all the great TV heroes should have their arch-nemesis.)

With the other show, the audience participation is not as direct, but its impact has more import. The producers of 'Jack & Bobby' have filmed three endings for the November 3rd episode. One ending has Grace McCallister ecstatic (which probably means, knowing Grace, that Kerry wins), one in which she's downcast but determined to see Hillary Clinton win in the next election, and one in which a recount will be needed.

Which one they use depends on how the presidential election goes the night before.

Perhaps they should have filmed four endings - in case pigs start flying and Ralph Nader wins. Now that would make for an incredible ending; maybe they could get Bruce McCullough to play the Flying Pig! ('The Kids In The Hall')

If there is need of a recount, they might need to do an extra episode just to deal with the injunctions, inevitable court rulings, and the ensuing race wars (as warned by Robb Courdry of 'The Daily Show').


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