The plot involves a group of would-be robbers who get the idea for their target from a TV tour of the celebrity's lavish New York penthouse. The plot will follow an arc so that it unfolds over 24 episodes, the typical span of a network series. Already, however, there is concern about how the series will continue past the first season. Mr. Burnett told The Times that maybe the first season would end in a twist to set up the second season, or maybe the gang of thieves comes up with a new target.
Here at Watercooler, we wonder why even worry about it? Why not just commit to a story that wraps up, as planned, in the 24 episodes? One thing that worries us about ABC's other hit "Lost" is that it will ultimately end up like Fox's "The X Files," never coming to any resolution because the network doesn't want it to end, until fans just get so frustrated with being strung along they give up. We would feel much better about committing to the hour every week if we knew "Lost" was, say, a 72-episode commitment, that over three years we will follow the story, knowing that each week will build on the week before and that we are getting closer to knowing the truth. The network could even play up the episodes by number, so to emphasize just how many more are coming.
If ABC does commit to the series, Mr. Jagger has agreed to appear regularly, though not in every episode. How much easier would it be to sell through these projects to big-name talent if they were sure they could commit to a set number of shows, and then be done?
With all the talk of engagement, and the ability for consumers to time-shift, it seems to make sense to start approaching new series in a way that emphasizes the quality of the stories over quantity of episodes. And if networks are going to move further into the game of selling their shows for iPods or on DVDs, a story that has a clear beginning, middle and end makes sense.