Programming

The Watchman: ‘Cash Cab’ Rolls on in N.Y.

‘Shut Eye’ Heads Home to L.A., ‘Psych’ Pursues Perps in S.F. 12/04/2017 8:00 AM Eastern
Ben Bailey is back as host of "Cash Cab" on Discovery Channel.
TakeAway

Contributing editor Michael Malone's behind-the-scenes look at the week's programming

Cash Cab is back, five years after the mobile game show wrapped. Ben Bailey hosts once again, but the Discovery Channel program feels a wee bit different. “It’s been a while since we made new episodes, and television moved on,” executive producer Tony Tackaberry said. “So we modernized it, adapted it.”

That includes digital lifelines and celebrities hopping into the cab, helping the contestant answer questions. Famous people signed up include Matthew Perry, Brooke Shields and Scott Bakula. “They got right into the tone and feel of the game,” Lion USA’s Tackaberry said.

To truly modernize Cash Cab, which (re) starts tonight (Dec. 4), might that mean shifting from taxicabs to Uber? Tackaberry said it’s something they’ve thought about. “There’s something still so iconic about yellow cabs in New York City,” he countered. “People really respond to little yellow cabs.”

The second season of Shut Eye, with Jeffrey Donovan playing a con man with a chain of fortune-telling storefronts in Los Angeles, kicks off on Hulu Wednesday (Dec. 6). Production shifted from Vancouver to L.A., and John Shiban is now showrunner. “It was conceived and written to be about Los Angeles,” Shiban said. “Shooting in Canada, Hulu felt it was lacking a bit of L.A. flavor and character.”

Shiban knew Shut Eye producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein from Breaking Bad. He said a goal for the Breaking Bad scribes was creating a “water cooler moment” — a scene that prompted discussion at the office the next day.

Shiban said there’s a “scary-funky-interesting moment” in season two, episode two. Donovan’s Charlie thinks he’s struck his son with his car, but it turns out he hit a “creepyass doll,” Shiban said. “It’s a really great moment.”

On a lighter note, Psych: The Movie runs on USA Network Thursday night (Dec. 7), picking up where the series left off in 2014. James Roday’s Shawn Spencer and Dulé Hill’s Gus Guster are chasing down bad guys in San Francisco. Roday and Hill are executive producers.

Hill said Psych never really wrapped. “From the time the show ended, it’s always been about us moving the story on,” he said. “The main thing was timing.”

Psych ran for eight seasons on USA. As with American Idol restarting in March, one wonders about the ideal amount of time to be off the air before a show returns. Roday said he believes Psych got it right. “Three years is enough time to be missed,” he said, “but not be forgotten.”

He referred to the movie as “a thank you present for the best eight years of our lives.”

Creator Steve Franks plans on doing multiple Psych movies. “As long as fans want it, there’s an appetite for it,” Hill said, “we’ll be down to do it.”

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