Deadline (American TV series)
|Created by||Dick Wolf|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Original run||October 2, 2000– April 7, 2001|
Deadline is a television series which was shown on NBC in the 2000–2001 season. It starred Oliver Platt as Wallace Benton, who worked for the fictional New York Ledger. This was a daily newspaper which was seen in many episodes of Law & Order.
Cast and characters
- Oliver Platt as Wallace Benton
- Bebe Neuwirth as Nikki Masucci
- Tom Conti as Si Beekman
- Lili Taylor as Hildy Baker
- Hope Davis as Brooke Benton
- Damon Gupton as Charles Foster
- Christina Chang as Beth Khambu
Series creator Dick Wolf hired Robert Palm as head writer and executive producer. Palm worked for years as a newspaper reporter on the Hartford Times and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and then moved into screenwriting with jobs on Miami Vice. He and Wolf had worked together previously on the tenth season of Law & Order. They didn't want to do another "cop show" and agreed on one with journalism as its focus. In 1999, Wolf pitched the show to NBC with Oliver Platt as its star and sold it without producing a pilot, as is the norm, but with a three-minute trailer. Wolf and Palm worked with NBC Entertainment President Garth Ancier on developing the show with Platt in mind. Plots for the show were based on true stories from newspaper articles that Palm and Wolf found. Richard Esposito, a New York newspaper veteran of 20 years, was hired as a consultant on the show. He worked with the actors and writers on outlines of stories and on "everything that helps them get a feel for the tone and pace of a newspaper." He also introduced Platt and other cast members to journalists around the city. Wolf invited director Michael Ritchie to direct episodes of Deadline but he had to drop out for personal reasons.
Platt had been approached numerous times to do a television show but it was Wolf's reputation and the chance to do it in his hometown so that he could be close to his family that persuaded him. Wallace Benton was modeled on veteran New York journalist Jimmy Breslin, Mike McAlary and other New York tabloid columnists. To research for the role, Platt spent time with crime reporters Phil Messing of the New York Post, Lenny Levitt of Newsday, and Juan Gonzalez and Jim Dwyer of the New York Daily News. The actor went out on stories with them, watched them interview and listened to them work the phones. During lunches, he remembers that he "got them to tell me their trade secrets."
The New York Ledger's offices were constructed at the old New York Post building on South Street in New York City. The show based their look of the their offices on old black and white photographs of the newspaper. The Post allowed the show to shoot the pilot episode in its old offices and then agreed to a short-term lease through November 2000. Shooting started in mid-July 2000 and the first episode debuted on October 2, 2000. Deadline was scheduled to run Mondays at 9 pm opposite ABC's Monday Night Football and Fox's Ally McBeal.
- Pilot (originally aired October 2, 2000)
- Lovers and Madmen (originally aired October 9, 2000)
- Perception (originally aired October 16, 2000)
- Daniel in the Lion's Den (originally aired October 23, 2000)
- Howl (originally aired October 30, 2000)
- The Old Ball Game (originally aired March 17, 2001)
- Don't I Know You? (originally aired March 17, 2001)
- The Undesirables (originally aired March 24, 2001)
- Somebody's Fool (originally aired March 24, 2001)
- The First Commandment (originally aired March 31, 2001)
- Just Lie Back (originally aired March 31, 2001)
- Shock (originally aired April 7, 2001)
- Red Herring (originally aired April 7, 2001)
Variety magazine praised Platt's work on the show in their review: "Platt, best-known for his work on the big screen, is a colorful choice for Benton, and, judging from the first episode, he can carry the bulk of the action." USA Today criticized the show's authenticity in their review: "The only thing accurate about Deadline is the sense of urgency implied by the title. Someone had better fix this show fast, before it becomes yesterday's news." The Boston Globe found fault with some of the characters on the show: "Benton's merry band of journalism students are silly, and the show should replace them with an expanded cast of Ledger co-workers."
The Pilot episode was seen by 14.3 million viewers but its rating declined steadily afterwards with 6.8 million viewers watching the last episode. NBC cancelled the show after five episodes. NBC showed the remaining episodes during the spring of 2001, in at least one part of the United States; they followed the network's broadcasts of Saturday night XFL football games in the western time zones.
- Liebeskind, Ken (July 17, 2000). "On Deadline". Mediaweek.
- G.G. (October 6, 2000). "In Wolf's New Deadline, the Detective is a Reporter". Christian Science Monitor.
- Grego, Melissa (July 17–23, 2000). "Auteurs Join Wolf Gang". Variety.
- Fries, Laura (October 2–8, 2000). "Deadline". Variety.
- Bianco, Robert (October 2, 2000). "Deadline". USA Today.
- Gilbert, Matthew (October 2, 2000). "Deadline Misses, and That's a Crime". Boston Globe.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 1, 2000). "NBC Reports Deadlines Demise". Hollywood Reporter.
- Deadline at the Internet Movie Database
- Dick Wolf and Oliver Platt talk about Deadline at the New York Press Club