Let's take a look at three celebrities in the news this week: an up-and-coming comedian and writer whose star project has foundered, a comic genius who hasn't yet found his TV niche, and a former global pop superstar whose music career is in danger of collapse. How are their career choices going?
Well, this is awkward. After 2010's futuristic, electronic album Bionic stiffed, Christina Aguilera set about staging a major career re-work. After the commercial success of The Voice, as well as her guest spot on Maroon 5's massive hit "Moves Like Jagger," Aguilera's new album Lotus was supposed to be her chart-topping comeback. Unfortunately, after tepid-at-best reviews and the relative radio failure of first single "Your Body," Lotus is projected to sell up to 40,000 fewer copies than Bionic did its first week. Ironically, futuristic electronic R&B act The Weeknd is on target to sell more copies of their major-label debut than Christina. Maybe it's just that we're sick of her voice, or maybe seeing her twice a week on TV reminds us that that she comes across rather unlikable on a personal level.
Possibly the most-maligned sitcom of the 2011-2012 season was Whitney, a sarcastic romantic comedy starring the then-little-known comedian and writer Whitney Cummings. Despite low ratings and scathing reviews, NBC picked up the series for a second season, putting it back on the schedule after the heavily-promoted (and wretched) Animal Hospital got the much-deserved axe. Unfortunately, Whitney's ratings were just as bad as those of its predecessor. Maybe Cummings should stick to stand-up and her behind-the-scenes work: the other series she co-created last year, the controversial but likably raunchy 2 Broke Girls, could probably use her on set in a full-time role.
This week, British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard was announced as a guest star on Bryan Fuller's upcoming television series Hannibal, about the early (pre-cannibalistic) years of Thomas Harris' legendary anti-hero; he'll play a serial killer imprisoned at the jail that will later house Dr. Lecter himself. Izzard previously was cast as Grandpa on Fuller's Mockingbird Lane, the reboot of The Munsters that NBC decided not to pick up as a series. Here's the thing, though: Izzard is quite possibly the best stand-up comedian working today, a more highbrow version of Robin Williams. His fearless improvisational style means that every single one of his shows is different. What Izzard needs is a comic series that allows him to showcase both his freestyle wit and his remarkable intelligence: something like his own spin on the semi-improvised, star-driven DIY sitcoms on FX, Louie and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, would be ideal.