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TERRA NOVA Lays
Off X-FILES Writer!!

I am – Hercules!! Chris Brancato, a writer whose credits include “Eve,” a first-season episode of “The X-Files,” is among the writers just laid off at Fox’s upcoming dinosaur drama “Terra Nova.” The layoffs apparently have to do with the bulk of the series’ first season being moved from midseason to next autumn (with only its two-hour first episode airing in May). Brannon Braga, co-creator of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” “Threshold” and the TV version of “FlashForward,” remains the series showrunner. Co-showrunner David Fury (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Lost”) left the series some time ago, but his departure apparently had more to do with creative differences than scheduling. Find all of the Los Angeles Times’ story on the matter here.
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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:12 p.m. CST

    He wrote ONE episode of X-Files

    by Margot Tenenbaum

    William Gibson wrote more episodes of TXF than this nobody.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:29 p.m. CST

    Yeah, and they both sucked.

    by ROBRAM89

    Gibson wrote two of the worst episodes in the history of the series.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Concession:

    by ROBRAM89

    I do admit I feel bad arguing with somebody named Margot Tenenbaum. Let's be friends.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:36 p.m. CST

    This is shaping up to be terrible.

    by liesandpicturesofalsolies

    I pray to the baby jesus I am wrong, of course.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:39 p.m. CST

    Clusterfuck

    by SmokingRobot

    Brannon Braga and Steven Spielberg. Seriously, are you kidding me?

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:42 p.m. CST

    Coming soon!

    by bigpale

    Schadenfreude: The Brannon Braga story. Written by Ronald D. Moore.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Just add cowboy hats...

    by Hint_of_Smegma

    ...and this is a serious rip-off of 2000AD's Flesh series. I have no doubt they'll even have their own version of Ol' One Eye at some point as a recurring threat.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 11:20 p.m. CST

    On your mark, get set... TERRIBLE!

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    Why are they putting up with so much shit just because Spielberg is attached to this? With the exception of E.R.* and two WWII minis on HBO, the Spielberg name doesn't really pull in the TV viewing audience anymore.<p><p>* - And most of the credit for E.R.'s success went to its show runner John Wells.

  • Nov. 3, 2010, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Somebody Ought To Do A Show, About Making The Show

    by Media Messiah

    This has become one interesting disaster. I would love to see a scripted drama show on HBO, about the behind the scenes mess that is Terra Nova. All the quiting, firings, backstabbings, lies, theft, and poor planning, is so strange, that it has become stranger than fiction.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 12:14 a.m. CST

    Well there's your problem

    by funkylovemonkey

    Why does Brannon Braga keep on getting work?

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 3:22 a.m. CST

    I suspect this is another fucked-up talent holding deal

    by Jim Jam Bongs

    Like The Good Guys, I suspect what is going on here is that Braga had been signed to an expensive talent holding deal with FOX that was about to expire. So FOX needed to rush through with a pilot at least for him in order to avoid paying out a hefty penalty. As for Spielberg's involvement -- it could have something to do with the fact that several years ago the now-late Michael Crichton had a talent holding deal with FOX to develop a series that went now where. Perhaps after his passing, that contract passed onto Spielberg's company, and he's being a nice guy (which he is known for) and will lend his name to fulfill it. But please don't take my word for any of this-- this is just based on conjecture from trade news gleaned over the past several years, and alcohol.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 3:48 a.m. CST

    Terra Nova premise sounds Crichton-like

    by Jim Jam Bongs

    That's one reason why I wonder about the Spielberg connection. The basic idea could have been put together by FOX development executives several years ago and Michael Crichton agreed to it (even if it was not originally his idea). He died, and his talent holding contract was passed on legally to Spielberg's production company. Again, this is just my wild speculation.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Epic Fail in the making

    by ATARI

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Yup, this one has smelled funny

    by The McPoyle Clan

    since the beginning. It's starting to reek now.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Gee, why not bring in Espenson and go full trainwreck?

    by SpyGuy

    She can make all the characters depressed and near-suicidal at all times, just as she did for CAPRICA and tried to do for BUFFY.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 10:17 a.m. CST

    He created First Wave, too

    by Mahaloth

    I liked First Wave, actually.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 11:39 a.m. CST

    David Fury left this show due to "creative differences"?

    by Leto III

    Wow, I'm shocked.<p>Also, I hear the sun comes up in the morning, and fire trucks are usually painted red.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 1:04 p.m. CST

    Was kind of excited about this...

    by jimmy_009

    Keyword being WAS. Sounds like a giant mess.

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Uwe Bowl wouldve made a better TV show

    by DioxholsterOperationsOutpost

    than this dump

  • Nov. 4, 2010, 8:35 p.m. CST

    SpyGuy: You are thinking of Marti Noxon, not Jane Espenson

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    It sounds like you have confused the two female Buffy writers. Espenson is generally regarded as the one fans like the most, over Noxon.<p><p>The theory that this show could the result of a talent holding deal clusterfuck is interesting and explains all. The same theory has been applied to The Good Guys. And look at the latest news about FOX -- the network's ratings have fallen overall this season, and they've been losing their key demographics across the board. It's been the big story in the TV trade news. I wonder if Kevin Reilly may be out of a job by the end of this TV season.

  • Nov. 5, 2010, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Prof. Pop-Cult, have you seen CAPRICA? I mean Espenson

    by SpyGuy

    Noxon is worse, granted, but Espenson took a bad series and made it even worse.

  • Nov. 5, 2010, 9:31 a.m. CST

    No I have not watched Caprica...

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    Is Espenson's work on it as bad as the episodes of BSG she wrote, where she had the characters engage in prattling cute-speak? Is that what Caprica has been like under her? UGH. She should not be writing for serious dramas. Her style lends much better to light-hearted dramas. She should be scripting for a show like Glee, Eureka, Hellcats, or The Good Guys (this show could actually benefit from her style, I think). I just don't get why she has been trying to tackle writing the more serious dramas and inappropriately injecting her self-aware quirk-speak style of dialogue, which worked on Buffy but doesn't with these shows.

  • Nov. 5, 2010, 12:47 p.m. CST

    After Fury Departed

    by jellymoff

    I lost interest in ths.

  • Nov. 6, 2010, 12:21 p.m. CST

    prattling cute-speak

    by JAMF

    yeah that sums it up. theres prattling tough-speak from the sicilian gangsters too... sorry, i mean the 'taurons' from the planet tauron. coz you know... its set in space - wear everyone dresses like its the 50s and use computers with holographic touch screens.

  • Nov. 6, 2010, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Brancato...

    by TheMalteseForeskin

    About Brancato... 1. His one X-Files was almost 20 years ago when he was a baby writer and it was majorly rewritten. Yet that one credit continues to get him work. 2. He had an overall deal at ABC for years and developed nothing that got on the air (and in the process he made millions and cost the studio a ton of dough trying to get project after project off the ground. All failed to reach the low bar of getting on ABC's air). If there was a hall of fame for selling pitches that never get on the air, he'd get in on the first ballot. 3. He has described himself as "ABC's Jerry Bruckheimer". The only difference being that he doesn't get shows on the air. 4. His first big break (and an enormous source of pride for him) was Hoodlum. Nuff said. 5. He has a notorious reputation within Hollywood of being a guy who's made far more money than he's earned (a lot of writers know him by this rep alone). Many a writer/producer/director has played nice with him over the years because that's how the game is played. But many would tell you privately that they resent having to pitch to/seek approval from a guy who's own qualifications are so wanting. 6. This is subjective so take it for what it's worth but many who know him attest his "success" to how ingrained he is with decision makers at or near the top of the studio food chain (there are a few higher ups who clearly dislike him and Brancato has formed conspiracy theories about how they're working to hurt his career. Certainly that's a more comforting thought than admitting that you haven't produced anything good in a decade). I think even those that would be kind to him would say he's a good salesman but can't deliver (or maybe even more kindly... "hasn't delivered in about 10 years"). 7. The last few development cycles under his overall deal he should've picked up his paycheck while holding a gun and wearing a ski mask. 8. He wrote Species II. 9. Even by Hollywood standards, he's a particularly insecure person. And this was before his reputation took the huge hit it's taken over the past 5-6 years. He knows where his reputation resides currently and it drives him insane (heck, he might even read this just to see if anyone would give a sh*t about him). People in the industry (just like people on these message boards) know what "scheduling" means when someone is let go. David Fury may very well have been let go for "creative differences" (i'm not aware of the particulars but as someone else in this thread alluded to, he has a rep as being very talented but difficult to work with), but Brancato has seen his overall deal come and go with nothing to show for it (other than the millions he made for getting nothing on the air) and as he grew desperate to keep his career afloat, he reached out to a friend to get him SOME work on a tv show (which is how he got the Tera Nova gig in the first place)... and now he's been let go from that show. Maybe there's something else going on that's great for him that I'm unaware of (i'm sure that's the light he'd pitch this in. Like a politician he's VERY aware of spin. I heard he tried to spin his epic failure at ABC as a result of his sensibilities being too hardcore/masculine/aggressive for GayBC... the rumor was this spin was met with many a courteous nod). Given what I've learned about Brancato through various dealings/second hand accounts over the past 10 years, I think it's fair to say that his career is struggling and he's grown increasingly desperate to prove that he is in any way relevant. 10. Here's some psychoanalysis for you in case anyone still cares about this... on some level he is aware that the world is full of insecure, angry, fake, self-centered people just like him... and he has a special needs child who has to grow up in a world full of people just like him. And lastly... 11. From a friend of mine when they heard about Brancato being let go from Terra Nova (paraphrasing an even much longer rant if you can believe it)... "Maybe if he wasn't such an insecure, phony, vain, abusive, failure of a human being, he'd be able to hold on to a job. I've worked in this town for 17 years and I literally know no one else in this industry who's made so much for doing so little. Even the Uwe Boll's of the world make things. I can't tell you how many times my boss has said "Chris Brancato" and "What's he ever done?" in the same breath. I think people like him survive in this town because studio execs know and like them. So the Brancato's of the world are kept afloat (and get rich) on the off chance that they'll luck into producing something profitable (or at the very least "airable"). For every Chris Brancato the studios reward, there are a dozen genuinely talented people that fall silent victim to this type of thinking. In corporate America they call that Opportunity Cost." Take this for what it's worth.