ABC has pulled the plug on midseason drama Mind Games after five low-rated airings. For the next two weeks, the network will use the Tuesday 10 PM slot for extra sampling of its promising midseason Sunday drama Resurrection, which will air repeats in the slot. Beginning April 15, ABC will launch Season 3 of utility player Celebrity Wife Swap in the q0 PM hour. The writing has been on the wall since Mind Games debuted to a 1.1 demo rating only two days after ABC’s Oscar telecast, where the procedural starring Christian Slater and Steve Zahn was promoted. It dived to a 0.6 in its second week, matching that rating again this Tuesday when it was hampered by the the lack of original lead-in. Mind Games became the third ABC drama casualty in the Tuesday 10 PM slot this season, joining cancelled freshmen Lucky 7 and Killer Women.
TV critics love deeply flawed guys on cable dramas. On broadcast, maybe not so much? Christian Slater and Steve Zahn play brothers — a con man just out of prison, and a brilliant bipolar expert in the field of human behavior, respectively — who form a problem-solving firm that uses psychological manipulation.
One TV critic at the Mind Games Q&A, told the ABC show’s creator she was totally into the pilot until the final twist when she “lost any empathy” and wondered if it would be addressed in the second episode. The creator, Kyle Killen, explained that “what cable’s done to television” is “expanded the palate” and lead characters were no longer expected to be fixed quickly.
Another critic noted it’s Killen’s third recent stab at characters leading a dual life — the other two being NBC’s short-lived Awake, about a cop leading two parallel lives after a car accident, and Fox’s short-lived Lone Star, about a con artist living two lives in Texas. “Nope, just beating the same dead horse,” Killen responded, suggesting he’s maybe not destined to strike up with this particular TV critic one of those effervescent friendships that TV critics and show writers sometimes strike up. Taking the high road, he explained the brothers of Mind Games aspire to help people, which maybe makes it the easiest of his recent TV projects for a wide audience to embrace.
Another critic wondered if Killen had given any thought to switching the two actors’ roles — because, the critic said, Slater is maybe better suited to play a bipolar guy, the illness often goes undiagnosed, tends to run in families, and expresses itself differently among siblings. Killen said he’d never given any thought to switching the two actors.
New ABC drama series Black Box will succeed Scandal in the Thursday 10 PM slot, launching on April 24. Scandal is finishing its season a little earlier as its order had to be reduced because of star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. Fellow new drama, Mind Games, originally slated to premiere on March 11 in the Tuesday 10 PM slot, will start two weeks earlier, on February 25, as ABC is cutting short the run of underperforming drama Killer Women. The series stars Christian Slater and Steve Zahn. Veteran Dancing With The Stars will return on March 17. And the network is banking on new Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis, expanding the February 24 episode to two hours, and adding a two-hour special on February 25, leading into the premiere of Mind Games. ABC also announced today a new Disney-Pixar holiday special, Toy Story That Time Forgot for the 2014 holiday season, a follow up to Toy Story Of Terror.
EXCLUSIVE: Vinnie Jones and Luis Guzman have been tapped for recurring roles on ABC’s midseason drama series Mind Games, about two brothers — Ross (Christian Slater), a con man, and Clark (Steve Zahn), suffering from bipolar disorder — as they run a problem-solving firm that uses psychological manipulation.
Jaime Ray Newman Joins ABC’s ‘Mind Games’ As Regular, Rockmond Dunbar Cast In ‘The Mentalist’ As Potential New Regular
EXCLUSIVE: Jaime Ray Newman (Drop Dead Diva) has landed a new regular role on ABC’s midseason drama series Mind Games, about two brothers — Ross (Christian Slater), a con man, and Clark (Steve Zahn), suffering from bipolar disorder — as they run a problem solving firm that uses psychological manipulation. Newman will play Anna Gordon, a seasoned con woman who is trying to turn over a new leaf and is hoping that her somewhat skill set will be perfect for Ross and Clark’s company.
Rockmond Dunbar (The Game) is set for a recurring three-episode arc on CBS’ veteran drama The Mentalist, with potential to become a series regular. He will appear in episodes 7, 8 and 9, playing FBI Supervisory Agent Dennis Abbott who is a tough, no-nonsense cop who doesn’t suffer fools and isn’t overly impressed by Patrick Jane’s skills or charm. The Mentalist is looking for new regulars as part of a cast changeover that includes the planned exit of original cast members Amanda Righetti and Owain Yeoman in a plot twist. The series also is casting a new female regular.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Eli Attie has closed a two-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Under the pact, Attie is joining the studio’s new ABC drama Mind Games, from creator Kyle Killen, as co-executive producer. He also will develop. Attie, who segued to a screenwriting career after serving as Al Gore’s Chief Speechwriter, most recently served as co-executive producer on Fox’s long-running drama series House. Before that, he worked on two Aaron Sorkin series, first on the Emmy-winning The West Wing for five years, where he likely used some of his Washington experience, and then on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Additionally, Attie’s screenplay Smile Relax Attack was named to the 2009 Black List. “Eli has a phenomenal reputation — virtually every writer who’d worked on a staff with Eli raved about him, so we knew he’d be a valuable addition to our studio’s roster,” 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said. “And when it came to finding someone to work with a writer as adept as Kyle Killen on Mind Games, Eli immediately came to mind, and they really hit it off. We look forward to working with him on this important series as well as developing with him down the road.” Attie is with WME and Jackoway Tyerman.
Related: 2013-2014 ABC New Series