Posted on Tue, Oct. 22, 2002
Gail Shister | Happy Hack
By Gail Shister
Great news, Hack fans. The cloud will be lifting from David Morse's dour Mike Olshansky, a disgraced Philly cop-turned-cabbie vigilante.
Executive producer Robert Singer, brought in to run the new CBS drama a week before its Sept. 27 launch, acknowledges that Hack was "a tad dark," and adds "there's no reason we can't inject some humor."
Hack, costarring Andre Braugher, is in production on episode nine. Four have aired. Singer joined the Philadelphia-based series during preproduction of episode six, which he had been scheduled to direct.
When Singer toured here, he was struck by "all the great things to shoot. I don't think Olshansky only has to drive in bad neighborhoods."
Singer was in New York casting for episode six when he got a call from CBS top gun Leslie Moonves asking him to take over the show.
"I was surprised," he says. "It was a little early in the game to make a change. It didn't appear the show needed something. Apparently it did."
Singer, exec producer of ABC's hit Lois & Clark, the New Adventures of Superman (1993-97), is experienced at running shows produced in two cities.
His resume includes CBS's Falcone (2000), shot in Toronto; CBS's Turks ('99), in Chicago; and NBC's Midnight Caller (1988-91), in San Francisco. All were written in L.A.
"Shooting a show 3,000 miles from where it's written takes a certain facility. You must have good lines of communication. People have to understand the vagaries of it."
Also, "you have to stay ahead of the curve with scripts. It's not like you can whip off a page of dialogue and walk across the set and hand it to the actors."
In other Hack tidbits, the show ran out of gas in the national Nielsens Friday.
It had just 8.6 million viewers at 9 p.m., down from 11.2 million on Oct. 11 and 12.9 million for its debut Sept. 27.
Moreover, Hack was third in the time slot behind a special episode of ABC's America's Funniest Home Videos (9.1 million) and Dateline NBC (11.4 million.)
Locally, Hack won the time slot, as usual, on KYW, but its 294,000 homes was down 33 percent from launch.