|Created by||Ian Abrams
Patrick Q. Page
|Developed by||Bob Brush|
Panther the Cat
|Narrated by||Kyle Chandler
|Theme music composer||W.G. Snuffy Walden|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||90 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Bob Brush|
|Running time||45–48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||CBS Productions
TriStar Television (1996–99)
Columbia TriStar Television (1999–2000)
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution (U.S.)
Sony Pictures Television (International)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Audio format||Stereo sound|
|Original run||September 28, 1996– May 27, 2000|
Early Edition is an American television drama series that aired on CBS broadcast network from September 28, 1996 to May 27, 2000. Set in the city of Chicago, Illinois, it follows the adventures of a man who mysteriously receives each Chicago Sun-Times newspaper the day before it is actually published, and who uses this knowledge to prevent terrible events every day. Created by Ian Abrams, Patrick Q. Page, and Vik Rubenfeld, the series starred actor Kyle Chandler as Gary Hobson, and featured many real Chicago locations over the course of the series' run. Despite fan efforts to save the show, it was cancelled in May 2000, and it began airing in syndication on Fox Family Channel that same month. Fan conventions about the show were held for multiple years, and CBS Home Entertainment later released the first and second seasons on the DVD format in the United States in 2008 and 2009. As of May 2012 Early Edition can be seen on TV Guide Network.
The origin of Early Edition stems from a collaborative idea between writers Vik Rubenfeld and Pat Page. After meeting each other while playing volleyball in Manhattan Beach, California, the pair began discussing ideas for feature films. While talking on the phone one day, they each contributed key parts for the idea of Early Edition. Rubenfeld believed the idea was more suited to television than a feature film, noting that, "it was a really unique way to put a character in physical jeopardy each week." The duo proceeded to write a document that described the show's characters and setting, and treatments for the first twelve episodes (a document known as a show's "Bible" in the TV industry). In the process they also created a detailed treatment for the pilot episode, which entitled them to "Story By" credit when the Pilot later aired.
Despite their idea, Rubenfeld and Page still faced the daunting task of finding a way to get the show on network television with limited television production and writing experience between them. Rubenfeld decided to pitch the show to Ian Abrams, whom he knew through a group called the Professional Authors Group Enterprise (or PAGE). Over lunch at RJ's restaurant in Los Angeles, Rubenfeld and Page pitched the idea of "a guy who gets tomorrow's newspaper today." With Abrams's help, they decided to try to convince Tristar to pick up the show, and went about adding a few ground rules for the story, such as having the paper always accompanied by a mysterious cat. In an effort to rouse Tristar's interest in the show during their pitch meeting scheduled for August 24, 1995, Abrams had a mock newspaper created with the headline "Let's just let it end. O.J. Simpson confesses he is guilty of homicide." The catch to the mock newspaper was that it was dated the next day, August 25, 1995. After presenting the fake newspaper during the pitch meeting, a very lively conversation ensued, until someone realized the paper was dated the following day. Early Edition was green-lit not long after.
Since its debut, the plot of Early Edition has been compared to other intellectual properties with similar themes. In particular, the 1944 feature film It Happened Tomorrow centered upon a newspaper reporter who received a newspaper a day in advance. However, Early Edition 's creators claim that Early Edition is in no way based on this film. Ironically, in Poland the show was titled, "It Happened Tomorrow."
The series was filmed entirely within the Chicago area, with interior sets filmed on the Early Edition Sound Stage at Studio City in Cicero, Illinois. Many famous Chicago locations are seen throughout the series, such as Navy Pier in the third season episode "Play it Again, Sammo." The building used for exterior shots of McGinty's bar, a location of central importance to the series, was formerly used by the Chicago Fire Department, and is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Franklin Street and West Illinois Street in downtown Chicago. Additionally, Hobson lived in the Blackstone Hotel during the show's first season.
In the opening credits of each episode, W.G. Snuffy Walden, is credited with composing Early Edition's title theme music, and later wrote the theme song to another hit TV show starring Kyle Chandler called Friday Night Lights During Early Edition's original broadcast run in the United States, an edited version of the song "Time Has Come Today" by The Chambers Brothers was used during a revamped opening title sequence from episode 403 until the series' conclusion.
Episodes and plot
Early Edition premiered in the United States on CBS on September 28, 1996. A total of 90 episodes were produced over the course of the show's four seasons, with the last original episode airing in the United States on May 27, 2000. Its original time slot was Saturday night at 8pm Central Standard Time, sandwiched between airings of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Walker, Texas Ranger. When Dr. Quinn ended in May 1998, Early Edition then began airing one hour earlier at 7pm for the remainder of the show's run. In January and February 2000, Early Edition went on temporary hiatus as the Dick Clark game show Winning Lines aired in its time slot.
Plot and synopsis
The show chronicled the life of Gary Hobson (played by Kyle Chandler), a resident of Chicago, Illinois who mysteriously received the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper a day in advance, effectively giving him knowledge of the potential future. His newspaper was delivered by a ginger tabby cat at least once each day, with the first copy arriving every morning at 6:30am, no matter what his physical location was. Armed with knowledge of the future, he would then try to prevent tragedies described in "tomorrow's" Sun-Times from occurring, whereby story text and headlines in the newspaper changed to reflect the outcome of his actions. Often, Gary didn't wish to be saddled with the responsibility of performing these deeds. The paper effectively presented him with many Sophie's choices: where he had to choose between helping different people in need for assistance.
The first season begins by showing Hobson coming home from his job as a stockbroker, only to be thrown out of the house (and later divorced) for no apparent reason by his wife Marsha. Upon taking up residence in the Blackstone Hotel, Hobson begins receiving a copy of the Chicago Sun-Times, accompanied by "The Cat" every morning. Slowly, Hobson realizes the paper's contents reflect events that are to happen during that day, and confers with his co-workers and friends Chuck Fishman and Marissa Clark. After deciding to use his knowledge of the future only for good (and not primarily for profit), Hobson is soon consumed by trying to prevent tragedies and help people, leading him to quit his job. During the season, Chuck consistently tries to use "The Paper" to make money, while Gary develops a precarious relationship with police Detective Ezekiel Crumb. By the season's end, Gary had begun to uncover some of the mystery surrounding the paper, including confirmation that a man named Lucius Snow received the paper from the cat before him.
Season two continues Hobson's adventures with the paper and his friends. Detective Crumb sometimes joined Gary, Chuck and Marissa after retiring from the police force and works at McGinty's as a part-time bartender. Despite being closer to the paper he often did not want to know how Gary got his so-called "hunches" and never learned of the paper. At the end of season two Chuck (Fisher Stevens) leaves the show as a regular character, leading to some major changes in season three. Within the course of the series, Gary discovers that a few other people share his gift of receiving a newspaper early. The only people, besides Gary, who know about his gift are his parents; his friends Chuck Fishman (a former fellow stock broker) and Marissa Clark (the blind former receptionist at the brokerage); and Erica and Henry Paget, a single mother and her son (Gary gives Erica a job at McGinty's) though he tried to tell a few people such as his attorney and various police officers (Episode 407/408, "Fatal Edition"). On some occasions, he is given the ability to wake up in another time (such as in the early 20th century) to change the past. People who encounter Gary often strongly suspect (or know) that he has a secret, but do not know what it is e.g. Crumb.
During the course of the series, it is never clearly stated where the paper comes from. In one episode, Gary meets the group of people apparently responsible for giving him (as well as others) the Paper. Nothing much is revealed about them except that they have some sort of supernatural abilities, such as being able to mysteriously appear at any location.
In season four, episode 420, "Time" (the series finale that aired a few episodes early), it is briefly explained why Gary started receiving the paper. Apparently, he was given the responsibility by Lucius Snow (the man who received the Chicago Sun-Times before Gary), after Snow saved Gary's life when Gary was a child. The responsibility is represented by a pocket knife imprinted with the initials of the person next to receive the paper (Lucius gave Gary the red Swiss Army Knife). The initials mysteriously change every time the current person decides on a new person to receive the responsibility. At the end of the same episode, Gary passes on the same pen knife to a young girl named Lindsey Romick who had just lost her grandfather; and it is implied that Lindsey will begin receiving the paper when Gary is no longer able to carry on the responsibilities.
Cast and characters
- Gary Hobson — Kyle Chandler
- Marissa Clark — Shanésia Davis-Williams
- Chuck Fishman — Fisher Stevens (Narrator) (season 1–2)
- The Cat — Panther, Pella, and Carl
- Erica Paget — Kristy Swanson (season 3)
- Henry Paget — Myles Jeffrey (season 3)
- Patrick Quinn — Billie Worley (season 3–4)
- Detective Marion Zeke Crumb — Ron Dean
- Bernie Hobson — William Devane
- Lois Hobson — Tess Harper
- Detective Toni Brigatti — Constance Marie
- Miguel Diaz — Luis Antonio Ramos
- Detective Paul Armstrong — Michael Whaley
- Phil Kazakian - Fyvush Finkel
Chuck was a foil to Gary, being a somewhat cynical, wisecracking realist in contrast to Gary's growing idealism. In early episodes, Chuck seeks to parlay the advance knowledge provided by the newspaper into windfall profits (e.g., sports betting and stock-market 'insider trading'). Over time, however, he begins to take a role in helping and backing up Gary as a problem-solver.
Davis-Williams may have performed an overlooked artistic service, in portraying a blind person able to cause one to totally overlook her blindness. Marissa often was the voice of reasonable conscience, balancing Gary's earnest idealism against Chuck's skeptical realism. Chuck also did the voice over narration at the opening and closing scenes of the episodes in season one, but this role would diminish during the second season, save for a few episodes. Instead a standard line was used during opening credits, and a closing narration remained in a few episodes, but as season progressed there was no narration for either the opening or closing scenes, and in the episodes "Walk Don't Run" and "Deadline" fictional Chicago Sun-Times columnist Molly Greene does the closing narration as part of her column.
Stevens's departure from the show after two seasons, however, fundamentally changed the dynamic of the show. The device of his voice-over narration was shifted to at first Gary and then Marissa in season three. This was eventually done away with, the theme music was changed, and there began a revolving door of foils for Gary, including Patrick Quinn (Billie Worley) and Erica Paget (Kristy Swanson). The latter had a romantic subplot with Gary. Fisher Stevens made several guest appearances on the show after leaving, and several of the characters stayed (such as a hard-boiled detective named Crumb, and Gary's bartender Patrick).
Early Edition also featured many notable guest stars during the series' run from television, feature films, and other entertainment industries.
Notable TV regulars to appear include Felicity Huffman, Ken Jenkins, Leslie Hope, John Spencer, Fyvush Finkel, Laura Leighton, Jane Krakowski, George Takei, Cynthia Nixon, Robert Picardo and Robert Duncan McNeil, Pauley Perrette, and Peri Gilpin.
Former Chicago Sun-Times publisher David Radler also appeared several times on the show as the publisher of the Sun-Times, the newspaper that was delivered to Gary, while movie reviewer Roger Ebert made a cameo as himself. Other cameos include Tara Lipinski, Coolio, Tone Loc, Dick Butkus, Pat O'Brien and Martina McBride.
There was a second-season cross-over with Chicago Hope with Hector Elizondo, Jayne Brook and Rocky Carroll playing their characters from that show. Also during the third season, CBS used an Early Edition episode as a promotional vehicle for the network's Martial Law TV series starring martial arts expert Sammo Hung. In the fourth and final season, professional wrestlers Tommy Dreamer and New Jack guest starred in the episode Mel Schwartz, Bounty Hunter.
Cancellation and beyond
After May 27, 2000 (the end of its fourth season), CBS decided to end the series' run. Despite fan efforts to save the show, and a USA Today poll showing respondents were in favor by a two-to-one margin of keeping the "family-friendly" show on air, CBS did not renew the show for a fifth season. Fans of Early Edition continued to show support, even going so far as to stage three fan conventions in downtown Chicago in 2001, 2002, and 2004.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment owns the international DVD rights to the show, although they have not made any releases yet.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The First Season||23||June 24, 2008|
|The Second Season||22||July 28, 2009|
The Fox Family Channel was the first entity to acquire syndication rights to Early Edition, at a price of $500,000 per episode, and the show began airing on Fox Family in May 2000. The series debuted in wider syndication in September 2000, and was more recently seen on ION Television, where it last aired in January 2007. FamilyNet currently airs the show nightly at 9/8c. Early Edition recently aired on GMC (formerly Gospel Music Channel), and returned to the current schedule in March 2011. In May 2012, TV Guide Network began airing the series.
Early Edition has and continues to be broadcast in a number of countries outside the United States, For example, in Spain the show aired first on Canal+ and, recently, by Calle 13 and Sony Entertainment Television (SET en VEO); it has been aired from Monday to Thursday from August until the end of November 2007. In Poland, Early Edition aired several times on TVP channels under the title "It Happened Tomorrow". In Estonia, Early Edition is being aired by TV 3, with the title translated to "Tomorrow's News".
Outside the US, the series has been broadcast by the following stations under the following names:
|Argentina||Early Edition||'||Sony Entertainment Television|
|Belgium||Demain à la une||Tomorrow's Headlines||La Une|
|Brazil||Edição de Amanhã||Tomorrow's Edition||Rede Record|
|Bulgaria||Утрешен вестник (Utreshen Vestnik)||Tomorrow's newspaper||NTV|
|Canada||Early Edition||Global Television Network|
|Canada (Quebec)||Le fou du Dinsdale||Dinsdale's Folly||[where?]|
|China (Mainland)||明日新闻||News from Tomorrow||CCTV-8|
|Colombia||El diario del destino||The Paper of Destiny||Caracol TV|
|Czech republic||Předčasné vydání||Early Edition|
|Denmark||Mig og Fremtiden||Me and the future||TV3, TV3+|
|Estonia||Homsed uudised||Tomorrow's news||TV3|
|Finland||Aikavaras||The Time Thief||Nelonen|
|France||Demain à la une||Tomorrow's Headlines||M6, NT1, Numéro 23|
|Germany||Allein gegen die Zukunft||Alone against the future||ProSieben|
|Greece||Τυχερή Έκδοση (Tiheri Ekdosi)||Lucky Edition||Mega Channel|
|Hong Kong||Early Edition||'||Hallmark Channel|
|Hungary||A kiválasztott - Az amerikai látnok||The chosen - The American prophet||TV2, AXN|
|Iran||در برابر آینده||Against Future||Channel 2 (Iran)|
|India||Early Edition||Early Edition||Hallmark Channel
|Israel||מהדורה מוקדמת||Early Edition||Channel 1 (Israel)|
|Italy||Ultime dal Cielo||News from Heaven||Rete 4, Canale 5|
|Mexico||El diario del Destino||The Destiny's Paper||Canal 5|
|New Zealand||Early Edition||Early Edition||TV2 (first run)|
|Philippines||Early Edition||'||Studio 23|
|Poland||Zdarzyło się jutro||It happened tomorrow||AXN|
|Portugal||Edição Especial||Special Edition||TVI|
|Romania||Viitorul începe azi||The future starts today||Antena1, AXN|
|Slovakia||Zajtrajšie noviny||Tomorrow's newspaper||TV Markíza|
|Slovenia||Prva izdaja||First Edition||AXN|
|South Africa||Early Edition||'||SABC3|
|Spain||Edición Anterior||Previous Edition||Sony Entertainment Television|
|Sweden||Morgondagens hjälte||Tomorrow's hero|
|Russia||Завтра наступит сегодня||Tomorrow comes today||Hallmark Channel|
|Turkey||Erken Baski||'||Kanal D|
|Venezuela||El diario del destino||The Paper of Destiny||Televen|
|Vietnam||Bản tin sớm||early Edition||VTV1|
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- Early Edition "Play It Again," Sammo (1999)
- "Excerpt from PTC E-Alert - Vol. 4, No. 25". Parents Television Council. 2000-05-03. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
- "EELFEST News". EELFEST NEWS. Archived from the original on 2009-07-23. Retrieved 2008-03-05.
- "Early Edition - More Details, Extras and Early Cover Art for 1st Season DVDs!".
- "Early Edition - 2nd Season Formally Announced: Specs and Package Art Revealed!".
- "Early Edition Debuts In Syndication". EarlyDues' Early Edition. 2000-01-11. Retrieved 2008-03-05.