NBC Halts Production On ‘Awake’ To Refine Scripts

Published 4 years ago by

Jason Isaacs Awake NBC NBC Halts Production On Awake To Refine Scripts

While viewers will have to wait until next year for a glimpse at the midseason replacement Awake, it looks like NBC will have to wait a while longer for all twelve episodes of the first season to be completed.

Word is the network has given the go-ahead to showrunner Howard Gordon to shut down production on Awake, providing the writers extra time to work out the kinks, and make sure the first season’s storyline lives up to the growing hype surrounding the show.

Early reports are that the show is very good, and that after filming six of the intended 12 episodes of season 1, Awake’s producers are pulling on the reins after concerns began to emerge that, despite the quality of the program, the concept’s ability to sustain itself may be a trickier proposition than the creative team had initially imagined. Furthermore, according to Gordon and Awake creator Kyle Killen, the show is admittedly a little complex – so the additional time should amount to a tighter, more impressive inaugural run.

To recap, Awake (formerly REM), follows Det. Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs, Harry Potter, The Patriot), as a man who, after a fatal car wreck, finds himself living dual existences where in one reality his wife survives the accident, and in another, the survivor is his son.

The complexity of the program comes from the way the two lives connect and differ – with each reality having its own distinct interplay: job environment and who acts as psychiatrist for the Britten character. For example: the shrink of one reality will be played by Law & Order: SVU alum B.D. Wong, while 24’s Cherry Jones plays the psychiatrist in the other. Similarly, Wilmer Valderama (That ‘70s Show) is Det. Britten’s partner on one plane of reality, but Steve Harris (The Practice) is his partner on the flipside.

One can see how crafting a coherent, full season out of such a concept may be a daunting task. As Howard puts it: “This is a creatively challenging show as anyone who has seen the pilot can imagine.”

Howard goes on to say that he and Killen approached 20th Century Fox TV and NBC with the idea of giving everyone but the writers a paid vacation, while the intricacies of the show were worked out. “We’ve got [six] scripts and episodes we’re very proud of, but we felt the show would benefit from having more time to plot out where we’re going.”

Jason Isaacs as Michael Britton in Awake NBC Halts Production On Awake To Refine Scripts

Of course, this is familiar territory for Howard who also put the Kiefer Sutherland action-drama 24 on hiatus, so that the tightly woven scripts for that show could be polished prior to the start of production. The difference here being, Awake has yet to even premiere, so the hiatus will likely work to the advantage of everyone involved – an aspect Gordon was all too happy about:

“Because we’re not on a tight delivery schedule, it wasn’t an expensive shutdown and just gives us an opportunity to get it right.”

Instead of time, Gordon will now have to do battle with the impending speculation that Awake is in serious trouble and the network’s decision to place production on hiatus stems from displeasure, rather than an opportunity to let the writers craft a better storyline. According to Gordon, this is untrue; the network is merely making an investment in a show with great potential. “I think it’s a measure of faith in us,” Gordon says.


Provided all goes well, Awake is intended to premiere in January 2012 on NBC.

Source: Deadline, Vulture

TAGS: Awake
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  1. The show looks amazing. I’ve been excited about it for a while. It’s a really smart decision for them to take more time with the scripts rather than pumping them out. :) This reassures my confidence in the show’s quality.

  2. I love Jason Isaac, and this show sounds amazing so I’m really excited.

  3. It’s refreshing to hear that studios still do actually care

  4. AWAKE is going to ‘go on hiatus for a while so the writers can work out the kinks”………huh???!!! What the heck!? Gosh darnit! We have been waiting for Cherry Jones to make a return to TV and now this!!!

    WE THE PEOPLE of TeeVeeLand, demand that either you re-start production of AWAKE — right now — or you figure out some other use for Cherry Jones! Cherry Jones could be one of the Republican debaters right now!

    A shutdown of AWAKE is absurd, and we are mad. There are still rumors floating around about a ’24′ movie. Maybe Howard Gordon is pre-occupied with that, or pre-occupied about his other new show, ‘Homeland.” At least give Cherry Jones/President Taylor a role in the upcoming 24 movie!

  5. This has the potential to be the best new series and even possibly the best show on TV if done right. However, it also has loads of potential for being cancelled because your average TV viewer doesn’t like quality television when they can watch things like Vampire Diaries, Jersey Shore and Whitney.

    Awake is far to smart to last long sadly.

    Can’t wait to see the few episodes that actually get to be on TV though just hope the premier doesn’t get a big delay.

  6. Well, when is the premiere for AWAKE? Remember when FOX scheduled the 2-hour season premiere for ’24′ against the opening of the 2010 winter Olympics? Not helpful. If you can believe it, some people prefer to watch ice skating to car-chases, spies and intrigue!

    Plus Howard Gordon had lost interest in ’24′ at that point as he was busy thinking up the ‘Homeland’ concept. Howard’s agent had told him that ‘Homeland’ was next on his plate: orders from HeadQuarters.

  7. Ive looking forward to this show. cant wait