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  Sam's Circus--Thoughts on the Production


This pilot should have been given a chance for success by CBS but it never saw the light of a cathode ray tube. The cast was a bunch of terrific young actors. They portrayed WW II Army infantrymen extremely well and the Producer/Director Bob Singer had his heart in the right place to make subsequent episodes as good as the pilot. Why it never got onto the network radar screen remains a mystery and no amount of research I've been able to do ever yielded a credible reason.

It was sold based on the huge critical acclaim over Saving Pvt. Ryan and we gave the network just what they said they wanted in a made-for-TV format. Not only did the CBS suits refuse to schedule the show, they also refused to air the pilot to sense audience reaction: an odd move.

I smelled then - and I smell now - a political rat. From their position high atop a TV exec's ivory tower, some people just can't see beyond mid-town Manhattan. They perceive that a military-themed, primetime war drama might label them as warmongers or might serve to celebrate those military losers in uniform who aren't brilliant enough to be network TV execs. Maybe they're out of touch with their audiences?

Or maybe they're just dumb. Have they never heard of the long-running, highly successful series called 'Combat?' We may never know, but this pilot taught me a lesson about network TV and the military in general. They mix about as well as oil and water.

One bright light in the making of the series was a return to the fold of one of our previously-trained actors who was a huge helping in preparing the Sam's Circus actors for their roles. Richard Speight played the squad medic in the pilot. He was also played Sgt. Muck - and was one of the sterling members of Easy Company, 506th PIR - in Band of Brothers. We were beginning to see a pattern. A number of actors who had previously been through Warriors Inc. training were starting to turn up in subsequent projects.