Sunday, December 29, 2013

Producer talks about delays for MTV's ‘Wait ‘til next year’ (SLIDESHOW)

More than just the cast members and community had to “wait ‘til next year” for the MTV show of the same name to find a spot on TV. Producers and other members of the crew also had to wait to see whether their hard work would ever see the light of day.
SLIDESHOW: "Wait 'Til Next Year"
Don Kaplan, now a columnist for the New York Daily News, recently wrote a column about the half-decade long wait it took to get the show from conception to the screen.
“Here’s one for you if you’ve ever found yourself in front of the TV mumbling that you could cook up something better than what you’re watching,” he wrote. “I was actually part of a team that produced a series that was better than what I’d been watching — and it was picked up by MTV.”
He went on to write that the crew was “clueless” as to what it would take to get the idea on the air. He called the long wait a “doozy,” even by industry standards.
The show, which followed the 2011 Lincoln Park High School football team through a season in which they broke the state record for consecutive games lost, wrapped filming in early 2012. It didn’t debut on the network though until near the end of the high school football season this year, almost two years after the season the show followed.
The team had lost 43 games in a row when the 2011 season began, and went winless until late this season to stretch the streak to 66 games.
According to Kaplan, “there are astoundingly emotional reasons behind the losses and the show turned out to be deeper and more poignant than anyone had any right to expect.”
No official statement regarding the delay was ever released by the network, Kaplan said in his column, adding that he was not privy to those details, either.
Instead, MTV executives issued a statement to him: “Many at MTV love the show, especially the cast and their underdog stories. Ultimately, we found a groundbreaking way to premiere the show... Additionally, we ran it during the height of high school football season when we thought it could resonate most with our viewers. That said, as everyone in the business knows, TV development is not for the faint of heart.”
The “groundbreaking” way to debut the show that was referenced was that about a week before the show began to air, the entire 12-episode run was released to the MTV mobile app. The show then aired with two episodes each Friday during the season.
Kaplan does, however, speculate about some of the reasons the show was delayed. He wrote about the network having three different top executives while the show sat collecting moth balls — and how those executives viewed the show.
“A major issue seemed to be how executives believed the sports-themed show would not appeal to female viewers. Funny thing is, teenaged girls love it — at least according to Twitter, where oodles of them tweet about holding viewing parties and even secretly watching on their phones in class.”
Kaplan said that, in the end, the show cost the network about $10 million to produce, which included years of development and time spent scouting schools in Los Angeles before Lincoln Park eventually was chosen.
The show itself was not what many viewers expected from the beginning. It wasn’t until the third episode of the season that any on the field action was shown, instead spending time introducing the “characters” who would be followed throughout the season.
The show primarily followed around nine people.
At the time of the show, Jim Kalbfleisch was returning to the team he had coached previously twice before, including to a playoff berth in 2002. The show described him as a “crusty old veteran who came out of retirement for one last challenge.” He continues to coach basketball at Huron High School, where he led both the boys and girls teams to district championships in 2012. He’s coaching both basketball teams again this winter.
Show biographies for the other eight primary cast members include:
• ”Ed Foley spent more than a year behind bars after he was caught selling weed in school. Can Ed turn his life around through football?”
• “Naeem Ruffin is a talented athlete, but he’s also a troublemaker. Will his big mouth get him in hot water with his gruff new coach?”
• “Cody Cole has a disastrous home life that’s left him raising himself and making some big mistakes along the way. Can Cody get on the right path without any parental help?”
• “Amanda Hinkle and Cody were in love until Cody broke her heart, leaving her unable to trust boys. But now Cody’s trying to change. Can Amanda learn to trust again?”
• “Naeem’s in love with Danielle, but for the first time in her life, Danielle has strong feelings for another girl. Who will Danielle choose?”
• “Yanni Martin is dating Danielle, despite disapproval from Yanni’s mom and competition from Naeem. Can Yanni overcome them and have the relationship she wants?”
• “Dakota Luna lives for football, but at nearly 400 lbs he’s not in shape to play. Can Dakota radically change his body so he can help his team?”
• “Ashley Haas stays out of trouble and has plans for college. But she’s in love with Ed, who’s in and out of jail. Will she have to leave him behind to have the life she wants?”
The show followed the team as it bonded through practices, parties and pranks. It showed the team aspiring to make the playoffs in the preseason and then struggling with the realities of losing each week.
The season is finished airing on TV, but each episode is available through the MTV app. No details of a potential DVD release were made available by the network.
(Staff Writer David Komer contributed to this story.)
Contact Video Coordinator Dave Herndon at 1-734-246-0867 or Follow him on Facebook and @NHDaveH on Twitter.

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