Producer Jerry Bruckheimer all set to lord over American television this year

MUMBAI: He started out producing blockbuster films like Bad Boys and The Rock. However, over the past few years producer Jerry Bruckheimer has been making a huge impact on television.

Week in and week out his shows like the forensics drama CSI and the reality show The Amazing Race have helped US broadcaster CBS top the charts and beat competition from ABC, NBC and Fox.


Media reports now indicate that with four new projects landing series orders and six shows returning for the 2005-06 season, Bruckheimer is on the threshold of breaking the record held for decades by Aaron Spelling as primetime's most prolific series producer on American television during a single season.

Bruckheimer is poised to field 10 series in the upcoming season, topping the personal best of eight series in a season that Spelling notched twice in his long career, most recently in the 1994-95 season and also in 1984-85, a period in which Spelling also kept busy producing eight to 10 telefilms per season. Such is the clout that Bruckheimer exerts that a couple of years ago he topped Entertainment Weekly's Power 101 list of the most influential people in American entertainment. He had displaced Tom Hanks at the time.

Bruckheimer has attributed a major part of his success on the small screen to his ability to attract terrific writers. The characters and storylines they create are then able to attract great actors. Not surprisingly CSI is a personal favourite. In a recent interview with Worldscreennews he expressed his passion about getting inside worlds one knows nothing about and to show viewers how they actually work.

CSI, which airs in India on AXN, takes viewers inside the world of forensics, which very few people know anything about, and really expose the brilliance of these individuals who do it for a living every day to solve crimes. The show was so successful that it spawned two spinoffs.


Now Bruckheimer is working on a new series for CBS titled Close To Home. The show will revolve around the legal profession. The main character will be a female prosecutor and the series will chart her steps in putting together cases against the suspect. The show will be set in a Midwestern suburb, a far cry from the bright lights of Las Vegas or the sprawling metropolis of New York.

LOOKING TO DIVERSIFY: This will be the seventh show that Bruckheimer is making for CBS. However it is not just crime and drama that Bruckheimer is working on. Modern Men, which will shortly air on the WB Network, marks the producer's foray into the realm of comedy. The story deals with friends in their twenties. The series stars Josh Braaten, Max Greenfield and Eric Lively. They are just desperate enough to seek the help of a renowned life coach to solve their relationship issues.

One character has luck in the dating world yet has trouble achieving an emotional connection, Another person Doug can't move on from his ex-while the third is a womanising bachelor. However, they realise that in today's day and age it takes a lot more to keep a woman happy and satisfied than it used to. Today's women are career minded, self-sufficient, and don't need a man for support - they are looking for more and the guys are trying to keep up.

Bruckheimer is also making E-Ring for NBC and Just Legal for the WB. A Reuters report quotes TV historian Tim Brooks as saying that Bruckheimer's impressive tally is a sign of the American television landscape. Says Brooks, "Only a handful of producers have controlled so much primetime turf, including Spelling, Norman Lear and Quinn Martin, who was a TV power player in the 1960s and '70s.

"It is a remarkable accomplishment and indicative of how the networks are changing their approach to programing acquisitions. The networks today, because of the vast pressures on them, look to fairly limited sources, and when they find a source they try to maximise it. I doubt that a producer 20 or 30 years ago would ever have been be given the chance to produce that many shows."

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