He Said/She Said: Is Spun Out being hung out to dry?

Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate what’s on our minds. This week, we ponder the treatment and fate of CTV’s Spun Out. Did CTV do the right thing by pulling the show from its schedule and website after the arrest of one of the actors? Is it fair to burn it off in the summer with little notice of its new premiere date? Read what we have to say and look for our podcast with co-creator Jeff Biederman tomorrow, recorded just before the premiere announcement.

She Said:

The second season of Spun Out has had quite the roller coaster ride. Given the prestigious post-Super Bowl slot, the show was shelved  before that day  when actor J.P. Manoux was arrested on voyeurism charges when hidden cameras were found in a condo he rented out to two women.

I had mixed feelings about that decision, but CTV was in a very difficult spot with no right answer, only a least worst answer. The second season had already been filmed in its entirety. If they erred, it was on the side of sensitivity for whatever might come out of the then-new investigation and in trying to protect their reputation after the show was tainted by association — a show that had already weathered a controversy when one of the co-creators was accused of making racist comments on Twitter.

It seemed overkill to scrub the show from their public and media sites. But to pull the show? I feel like I can’t second-guess that decision. The charges are creepy. The potential was for further creepiness to be uncovered. Manoux has not been found guilty, but reputations and advertisers rarely wait for guilt to be declared.  Innocent until proven guilty is a legal distinction, not an indication of how our brains and hearts work.

I  haven’t heard that anything new has come out of the Manoux arrest, but it’s possible CTV is aware of something that makes the coast clearer now, or it’s possible that the fact it hasn’t become a big media story yet means they feel they can burn it off safely in the summer.

And a burn off it is. Cast and crew started talking about a July 14 premiere date on social media Friday — a mere four days in advance. CTV confirmed that date after my inquiry, saying promos would start right away and an official announcement would occur Monday — the day before the premiere. Again, I find it hard to second-guess that decision given the uncertainty, though I wish they didn’t feel it necessary. Because of the way TV funding works I suspect they had to air it sometime — but there are no requirements for publicity.

Fans will be able to watch the second — and I have to assume final — season. CTV will fulfill its obligations get the CanCon points while minimizing controversy that might hurt their business interests. The heartbreak in this situation is everyone who worked so hard on the show who had their hopes dashed and their series tainted by association. For their sake, I hope Spun Out season two makes the good kind of splash now that it can finally air.

He Said:

I echo Diane’s thoughts in just feeling badly for everyone involved, in front or and behind the cameras.

I had the chance to visit Spun Out‘s Toronto set during both seasons and everyone was happy to be there and proud of their work. The energy of the live audience during a first season taping with guest star Jason Priestley was palpable and exciting, and that was somehow lost when it went from stage to the small screen.

The sophomore season — returning tomorrow — marks a change in format as the live audience angle has been shelved. I spoke to co-stars Paul Campbell, Dave Foley, Becky Dalton and upcoming guest star Jennifer Tilly during production (those stories will be up on the site in the coming weeks) and they liked the new direction the show was going.

Now viewers will get a chance to see that and decide for themselves, but likely too late for ratings to matter at all. This is a burn-off of a project that is, sadly, dead in the water. Spun Out feels more like a summer show than a winter one — if there is such a thing — and it’s sandwiched between The Big Bang Theory and Hot in Cleveland, so at least Foley et al. are in good comic company.

(As an aside, Campbell and Darcy Michael both landed production deals with Bell Media, so there’s that.)

As Diane pointed out, Bell Media will get the CanCon requirement filled by broadcasting Spun Out as will Project 10, the show’s production company.