Thisclose. The Ex List was thisclose to being at the very top of our Best Bets for Fall TV list, right up until last Friday, when the news came down that woman-I-want-to-be-when-we-grow-up/girl-genius-at-large Diane Ruggiero (Veronica Mars) was leaving her position as show runner of the series due to "creative differences." Without Ruggiero's guidance, I'm sorry, but I'm not as convinced.
Unless...maybe it was all just a big misunderstanding?
Apparently not. Yesterday Alan Sepinwall of the New Jersey Star-Ledger posted his exclusive interview with Ruggiero, in which she explained she was driven out by a lack of creative vision on CBS' part. As Ruggiero told Sepinwall: "It's like someone comes to you with a little black dress and says, 'You can do anything you want with it, anything at all,' and you go, 'Oh, great,' and then they come back and say, 'But you need to wear this belt, and these shoes, and...' "
Ruggiero goes on to explain that CBS wanted her to limit the usage of dude (dude!) and to more closely follow the original Israeli series, ultimately bringing in that show's creator, Segahl Avin, on to consult.
The Jericho-Moonlight debacles were one thing, but now that CBS has disrespected one of the smartest, funniest ladies in the TV business, I'm going to have to throw down:
Diane Ruggiero is a star. She is the witty, wisecracking, smart and sympathetic lady we all dream of having in our lives, and she was pouring her awesome into Ex List, which seemed headed for greatness, thanks to fantastic dialogue and the least shmoopy presentation possible of what could be a groan-worthy premise. (Thirtysomething girl has one year to find her soul mate or lose him forever. Silly, yes, but with Ruggiero and her writers, it worked.)
That said, please do watch the first six episodes of The Ex List—the ones on which Ruggiero worked—to see what had me and many other the critics smitten. Who knows? The remaining episodes might just be delightful television, and Elizabeth Reaser does rock in this role, so maybe we'll learn to get over the shift in tone and love this series all the same for many, many seasons to come. But, dude, with so little in the way of promising new series this season, I just have to say: The loss of Ruggiero is hard to stomach.
Premieres Fri., Oct. 3, 9 p.m.
Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Rachel Boston, Adam Rothenberg, Alex Breckenridge, Amir Talai