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Emily's Reasons Why Not aired on January 9, 2006 on ABC.

To this featherweight sitcom goes the distinction of having been canceled after one telecast. For the record, Emily ( Heather Graham), was a perky blond editor of self-help books who, as a result of a largely unsuccessful love life , had developed " five reasons to dump a guy"( that'll help!). Reilly( Nadia Dajani) was her sarcastic girlfriend, Josh ( Khary Payton)her wry, gay pal, and Glitter ( Smith Cho) her former assistant and current backstabber at the office( Glitter had stolen one of Emily's ideas and used it to get promoted). Ever hopeful, Emily, who also narrated , was currently pursuing handsome Stan ( Victor Webster), the new marketing guy at their Santa Monica office.

Why was Emily's pulled from the schedule so quickly? According to ABC programming chief Steve McPherson, " Creatively we just did not get the show where it needed to be." Based on the none-too-successful novel of the same name by Carrie Gerlach.

A Review from Variety

Emily's Reasons Why Not
(Series -- ABC, Mon. Jan. 9, 9 p.m.)

Filmed in Los Angeles by Pariah in association with Sony Pictures Television. Executive producers, Vivian Cannon, Robin Schiff, Gavin Polone, Emily Kapnek; producers, Heather Graham, Carrie Gerlach Cecil, Coral Hawthorne; director, Michael Patrick Jann; writer, Kapnek, based on the novel by Gerlach Cecil.

Emily Sanders - Heather Graham
Reilly - Nadia Dajani
Josh - Khary Payton
Glitter Cho - Smith Cho
Stan - Victor Webster

ABC's promotional assault on behalf of this promising comedy has been hard to miss, as the net continues to pursue a bet-the-farm-on-a-few-shows marketing strategy. Built around the billboard-friendly Heather Graham, series is being paired with the lobotomized return of the John Stamos starrer "Jake in Progress," creating a one-hour block for the beautiful but perplexingly lovelorn. Breezy and fun, there are several reasons to sample "Emily," but also plenty of room for skepticism over whether this witty half-hour has the depth to survive a highly competitive timeslot.
A publisher of self-help books who isn't too adept at hearing advice, Graham's Emily is rebounding from a disastrous relationship with one of her authors (guest star Mark Valley) before opting to embrace her childhood roots, when things seemed simpler. As such, she decides, if she can come up with five reasons not to date a guy, "he's history."

Obeying the reasons (which at times flash across the screen) is put to the test quickly, as Emily begins an office romance with the new marketing guy, Stan (Victor Webster), who seems strangely (indeed, given Graham's assets, very strangely) reluctant to touch her. This fosters all sorts of debate with her sour friend Reilly (Nadia Dajani) and gay pal Josh (Khary Payton) about whether Stan might be gay, especially after she witnesses his preferred form of exercise, Brazilian jujitsu, which kind of looks like the trailer for "Brokeback Mountain."

Adding considerable spice to Emily's office environs, meanwhile, is her so-called "back-stabbing former assistant" Glitter Cho (Smith Cho), who delights in tormenting her. A potential breakout character, Glitter enters to the strains of the "Jaws" theme, deliciously embodying a sense of cheerful evil.

"Emily's" is characteristic of many a modern comedy -- heavy on voiceover and cute little visual flourishes as well as very girlish obsessing over relationships, "Sex and (Insert City Here)" style. At least in the premiere, though, Graham is a beguiling enough heroine, surrounded by amusing characters who make the mundane feel relatively fresh -- highlighted by the laugh-out-loud funny jujitsu workout.

Credit some of that tone to writer-producer Emily Kapnek, working from Carrie Gerlach's novel. Yet as with any such wispy premise, it's questionable how many suitors can implode before the show begins to grow tedious. (The fact that behind-the-scenes changes delayed production, allowing ABC to send only the long-in-the-can pilot for review, isn't a particularly good sign.)

The program also anchors a Monday lineup with which ABC has traditionally struggled, as the Disney network prepares for life after "Monday Night Football." That said, "Emily" and its eye-catching star should be enough of a combo to inspire a respectable audience to give it a look. As for whether viewers stick around and choose to forgo "Two and a Half Men" for one attractive woman, the series is going to have to consistently prove it can deliver reasons why, or she's history.

A Review from The New York Times

Spotting Mr. Wrong to Find Mr. Right

Heather Graham is the Heather Locklear of the Dragonball Z generation - the kind of seraphic beauty who is funny only when playing a Becky Sharpe or fantasy figure. Instead, she has been cast as a nice, lovelorn career girl in ABC's sitcom "Emily's Reasons Why Not."

As Emily Sanders, an ambitious Los Angeles-based editor of self-help books who cannot help herself find a suitable mate, Ms. Graham is lovely and not the least bit sympathetic, not even when cast against a scheming former assistant and office rival, a slinky sex kitten, Glitter Cho (Smith Cho). Emily seeks happy-hour advice and consolation from her best friends, Josh (Khary Payton), a gay man, and an outspoken childhood friend, Reilly (Nadia Dajani).

The sitcom, based on a chick-lit novel by Carrie Gerlach, is a tepid knockoff of "Sex and the City" and any number of similar single-gal series. Emily, like Carrie Bradshaw, delivers a voiceover narration of her dating woes, summed up in a list of her five main reasons for not pursuing a particular man. (No. 3: He has a subscription to Martha Stewart Living.)

The show is not original or funny, but it serves as an illustration of looks inflation, the Hollywood version of the grade inflation that plagues colleges throughout the nation. Since the days of Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern, actresses tapped to play unlucky spinsters keep getting more and more ludicrously glamorous. Jamie Lee Curtis's career as a sexpot was waning in 1989 when she began playing a single woman in "Anything but Love." Since then, the Botox and cosmetic surgery epidemic keeps raising expectations about women's appearance: perfection is now considered a starting point.

Ten years ago, the former model Brooke Shields was too stunning to be believable as a gawky columnist in "Suddenly Susan," so the sitcom worked her beauty into the part, portraying her as a runaway trophy bride who is given a column by her eccentric would-be brother in law, and is resented by her workplace colleagues because of it. Ally McBeal had gaminelike good looks, but she was neurotic enough to repel men believably. As the central character in "Sex and the City," Sarah Jessica Parker's appeal was that she was sexy, but not always stunning, more jolie-laide than belle de jour.

In "Emily's Reasons Why Not," Heather Graham is cast as just an ordinary book editor who happens to have the face of an angel and the body of a comic-book temptress, which she shows to advantage at the office in tight T-shirts and belly-baring bodices. She too cannot find a decent man to date, which suggests that the male shortage in Los Angeles has been drastically underestimated - as if show business were like the Battle of the Somme in 1916, eliminating or maiming the best men of a generation.

Not many actresses go to the lengths, or weight, Renee Zellweger reached to portray Bridget Jones in the movie versions of the best-selling novel and its sequel. But the better ones find a way to work self-mockery into their roles - even Candice Bergen found her inner Gorgon to play Murphy Brown.

Ms. Graham, however, makes no effort to be more human or comically appealing. She is about as engaging as rock salt. She is an excellent candidate for the cover of Maxim, but she is unfortunately the No. 1 reason not to watch "Emily's Reasons Why Not."

Emily's Reasons Why Not

ABC, tonight at 9, Eastern and Pacific times; 8, Central time.

Gavin Polone, Emily Kapnek, Vivian Cannon and Bill Diamond, executive producers; The "pilot" was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Michael Patrick Jann. Produced by Pariah in association with Sony Pictures Television.

WITH: Heather Graham (Emily Sanders), Khary Payton (Josh), Nadia Dajani (Reilly) and Smith Cho (Glitter Cho).

Correction: Jan. 11, 2006

A television review on Monday about the new ABC sitcom "Emily's Reasons Why Not" misspelled the surname of the heroine of the novel "Vanity Fair," a role cited as the type of role in which Heather Graham, the star of the sitcom, might be funny. She is Becky Sharp, not Sharpe.

A Review from The Boston Globe

'Sex and the City' clones offer cheap thrills
January 09, 2006|Matthew Gilbert, Globe Staff

''Sex and the City" continues to be a convenient descriptive touchstone for critics. As in, ''This new show is 'Sex and the City' with lesbians," or ''That new show is 'Sex and the City' in Birkenstocks." That's because so many TV writers and producers still use the classic HBO series as a model around which to design their potential Nielsen hits.

Yeah, they clone it.

Which brings us to ''Emily's Reasons Why Not," the new ABC sitcom starring Heather Graham. It's not half bad, but then it's not even a quarter original. The romantic comedy, which premieres tonight at 9 on WCVB (Channel 5), is such an obvious rip-off of ''Sex and the City" that you'll find yourself drawing comparisons for the whole half-hour. See Graham doing her best Sarah Jessica Parker as a fashion-conscious New York editor. Hear her plaintive voice-over narration; meet her loyal best girlfriends, including a gay man; and, of course, get a load of her Mr. Big, an emotionally unavailable writer played by Mark Valley.

It's ''Sex and the City" with Rollergirl.

Tonight, in a plot that ''Sex and the City" did at least once, Graham's Emily dates a hunk she suspects is gay. First of all, he uses bronzer on his body and has his own subscription to Martha Stewart Living. ''Holy implied homosexuality!" exclaims Emily's snarky friend Reilly (Nadia Dajani). And the guy practices Brazilian jujitsu, which looks suspiciously like a rehearsal for a gay porno. Watching a room filled with sweaty guys writhing on the floor, Emily and her pals, including the swishy Josh (Khary Payton), have a major gaydar moment together.

It's all mildly amusing, and blessedly lacking in the cackle of a laugh track. And there's a promising villain in Emily's back-stabbing co-worker, a nastier-than-thou woman named Glitter Cho (Smith Cho). She taunts Emily about her disastrous love life, strutting around the office and barely trying to hide her fangs.

But still, it's too bad Graham didn't find a fresher, more distinctive TV vehicle. In addition to her career in movies such as ''Boogie Nights," she has done fine sitcom work on ''Scrubs" as a ditzy psychiatrist. She's a welcome TV presence, able to deliver comedy without becoming tightly wound and shrill -- something too many comedic TV actresses do to keep up a jaunty sitcom pace. She's got a little-girl affect, but not cloyingly so. And she never seems vain or showy, even though her Emily is the center of attention not only for viewers but also for her friends, who seem to exist solely to process her men issues.

An Article from The Washington Post

Steve's Reason Why Not

By Lisa de Moraes
Sunday, January 22, 2006; Page D01

PASADENA, Calif. Jan. 21

In the Land of the Nobody Here But Us Chickens, other broadcast programming chiefs may be de-beaked, de-clawed battery hens, but ABC's programming chief, Steve McPherson, is strictly free-range.

McPherson dares to answer questions. Or at least he gives the illusion of answering them, which is the same thing.

Like when he was asked Saturday at Winter TV Press Tour 2006 why he canceled Heather Graham's sitcom "Emily's Reasons Why Not" after just one episode, but not John Stamos's "Jake in Progress," which did equally lousy ratings a couple weeks back.

"I have a crush on John Stamos," he responded. Other programming chiefs would have seen the trade paper headlines: ABC Programming Chief Acknowledges Tryst With Bad Sitcom Star, and balked at giving an answer like that.

Of course he then gave a serious answer. "Emily's Reasons Why Not" did not get "where it needed to be" creatively while "Jake in Progress" has grown, he said.

"You have to kind of measure your patience based on how you believe in the creative," he explained. "And . . . we felt like, unfortunately, ['Emily'] was not going to get better and we needed to make a quick change."

Couldn't you have known it was a dog from early testing? one critic wondered.

"Testing is a pretty dysfunctional tool," McPherson said, immediately winning our undying love.

"We all know 'Seinfeld' -- one of the worst-testing NBC pilots ever," he added, and he ought to know, being a former NBC suit. "Desperate Housewives" tested only okay, he said, and "no men said they would ever watch it."

McPherson even had a good answer to the "Whither goest the multi-camera laugh-tracked sitcom?" question.

"I think doing the traditional sitcom, where it's the same couch you've seen in every previous show, it's the same setup, that's a problem. . . . We kind of got away from point-of-view and voice. It would be just a situation that yes, technically was funny, but it wasn't an engine for a series. They weren't people and voices that you wanted to hear week after week."

An Article from New York TV

The Gone Show
Why networks give new series a quick hook.

CBS's Love Monkey lasted all of three episodes. Emily's Reasons Why Not lasted only one. Which raises the question, How can it possibly make sense for a network to cancel a show so quickly? Once upon a time, networks gave struggling shows like Seinfeld several seasons to find their legs. But now, thanks to an ADD, bottom-line-driven mentality, merciless networks gong fledgling shows before they've even warmed up. At least that's the theory right?

Well, first of all, some recent wobblers, like NBC's The Office, have been given time to find an audience. And there have always been shows that were one-and-done: Anyone remember Steven Bochco's 1996 sitcom Public Morals or the 1969 sketch show Turn-On? But let's look more closely at the example of Emily's Reasons Why Not, which seemed especially confounding. After all, the show had a big star, Heather Graham, and a huge marketing push. Why spend all that cash only to whack it after just one airing? But there's the rub: ABC canceled the show not despite this huge investment but because of it. After all, if a massive holiday ad campaign and a big star couldn't persuade you to watch the first episode, why on earth would ABC bank on you coming around for the second or third? Once a show's tainted with the toxic combo of bad ratings and terrible reviews, it's better to yank it quick so its numbers won't affect ad rates set during sweeps period (a philosophy that helped put the bullet into the improvingLove Monkey). Also, since networks sell ads based on audience projections, if a show falls short, the network wants to avoid give-back mode : granting free ad time or refunding cash to advertisers who bought spots on the failed show. As for the five completed Emily's episodes that never made it to air, remember this: ABC's seen them, and you haven't. So the network didn't make a decision based on one bad episode but on one bad episode and five more that weren't getting any better. In other words, networks don't kill shows quickly because they aren't interested in letting good shows grow. It's because they know a bad show when they see one, and assume that you do too.

To go to a website that was created for Emily's Reasons Why Not ( lol) go to

For the Heather Graham Photo Gallery go to
Date: Fri January 6, 2006 � Filesize: 29.9kb � Dimensions: 300 x 400 �
Keywords: Emily's Reasons Why Not: Cast Photo


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