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HBO Declares "12 Miles of Bad Road" Six Feet Under

In yet another twist to come out of premium cabler in as many days (following the departure of entertainment president Carolyn Strauss), HBO has announced that it has swiftly killed new series 12 Miles of Bad Road, following weeks of rumors to that effect.

HBO had ordered ten episodes of dramedy 12 Miles of Bad Road, starring Lily Tomlin, Mary Kay Place, Kim Dickens, Leslie Jordan, and Gary Cole, but only six episodes had been shot before the writers strike began... and in recent weeks HBO began to re-evaluate their commitment to this series and ordered production to be placed on hold. Meanwhile, rumors reached my ears that Tomlin wanted out of her contract, a fact not helped, I am sure, by the fact that the series didn't ever resume production again.

And now it's official: HBO won't air the series. The series' executive producers, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason, are now said to be shopping 12 Miles elsewhere but have not yet found any buyers. According to Variety, TNT has passed on the series and several others, such as Lifetime, are said to be in the running. But can you really see Tomlin or any of the others shifting from HBO--dinged though its cachet is--to go to basic cable outlet like Lifetime?

Having seen the completed pilot for 12 Miles last year, I have to say that I am squarely with HBO on this one. Despite my love for Tomlin, I found the pilot nigh unwatchable, its characters one-dimensional and shrewish with little depth. I also, scandalously, found it completely lacking in humor, an egregious error in a series that sells itself as a one-hour dramedy, satire or no. I even watched it twice, just in case I missed some glimmer of promise lurking in there.

Whatever 12 Miles hoped to accomplish, I had a hard time envisioning it joining the hallowed ranks of previous HBO series like The Wire, Six Feet Under, Rome, Carnivale, and The Sopranos.

HBO made the right decision not to air 12 Miles and, with Strauss now stepping down from the main programming gig, they really do need to re-evaluate their own development and realize that other cablers--like FX and Showtime--have really overtaken them of late as being homes for creative, visionary cable fare and the audiences who would have in years past turned to HBO to meet this need.


Unknown said…
Thank goodness! I can't remember the last time I disliked a pilot so much. As a Texan, I had such high hopes for it but was completely offended and angered at the depiction of my home state. When the white trash husband yelled at his wife for getting his hamburger order incorrect, and then proceeded to get his gun and shoot the hamburger, I threw my shoe at the television.
Anonymous said…
Thank goodness, indeed! Boy, was that an awful pilot.
HBO really needs to step up their game. As you said, Showtime and FX are leaving HBO in the dust in terms of new and original programming. I feel like HBO has been treading water since they lost "Sex" and "Sopranos" and while I thought Rome was brilliant, they need some fresh ideas.

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