Profit (TV series)

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Profit
Profit Promotional Poster.jpg
Profit Promotional Poster
GenreDrama
Thriller
Satire
StarringAdrian Pasdar
Lisa Zane
Keith Szarabajka
Jack Gwaltney
Allison Hossack
Lisa Darr
Lisa Blount
Sherman Augustus
Scott Paulin
Jennifer Hetrick
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producer(s)Jo Swerling, Jr
David Greenwalt
John McNamara
Stephen J. Cannell
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Greenwalt/McNamara Productions
Stephen J. Cannell Productions
DistributorNew World Television
Broadcast
Original channelFox
Original runApril 8, 1996 (1996-04-08) – April 29, 1996 (1996-04-29)
 
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Profit
Profit Promotional Poster.jpg
Profit Promotional Poster
GenreDrama
Thriller
Satire
StarringAdrian Pasdar
Lisa Zane
Keith Szarabajka
Jack Gwaltney
Allison Hossack
Lisa Darr
Lisa Blount
Sherman Augustus
Scott Paulin
Jennifer Hetrick
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producer(s)Jo Swerling, Jr
David Greenwalt
John McNamara
Stephen J. Cannell
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Greenwalt/McNamara Productions
Stephen J. Cannell Productions
DistributorNew World Television
Broadcast
Original channelFox
Original runApril 8, 1996 (1996-04-08) – April 29, 1996 (1996-04-29)

Profit was a U.S. television drama series that originally aired in 1996 on the Fox Broadcasting Company (Mondays at 9:00 p.m. EST). The series was created (and occasionally directed) by David Greenwalt and John McNamara, and starred Adrian Pasdar as the eponymous lead character Jim Profit. In February 2008 repeat episodes began airing on Chiller (in the USA),[1] and in October 2010 on CBS Action (in Europe).[2]

Considered by many to have been well ahead of its time, the series was a precursor to the early-21st-century trend of “edgy” TV melodramas (featuring dark themes, multidimensional characters, and spellbinding writing, acting, and directing) such as: The Sopranos; Mad Men; Nip/Tuck; Dexter; Breaking Bad and The Shield. Subversive, taboo themes (largely stemming from the lead character’s amoral, Richard III-style ways) made the show uncomfortable and unfamiliar viewing for mainstream U.S. audiences and Fox network affiliates at the time, leading to its cancellation after just three episodes (not including the pilot) aired.[3] TV Guide ranked the mid-1990s series #4 on its 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Canceled Too Soon", calling the series "shockingly memorable".[4]

Summary[edit]

Jim Profit is a newly promoted junior-executive at Gracen & Gracen (G&G), a multinational conglomerate that often engages in unethical business practices while actively cultivating a positive public image. G&G’s dark side does not bother Profit, who is not above using blackmail, bribery, extortion, or worse to get ahead himself. Jim Profit addresses the audience via voiceover narration, and occasionally even “breaks the fourth wall” by speaking directly to the camera/audience with such quotes as: "The line most people say they won't cross... it's usually something they've already done when they thought no one was watching." Through frequent inner monologues, Profit shares his motives, plans, and situational observations with the audience. When home alone at night, Profit continues his ‘work’ in his office (hidden behind a false wall of his living room), searching the Internet and hacking G&G’s servers for information to be used as research and ammunition for his various schemes. Whenever he eliminates or outmaneuvers a G&G target, that person's avatar is exploded and erased from his computer’s virtual-G&G-offices environment. While obviously affluent and living in a well-furnished luxury penthouse, Profit still goes to bed the same way he did as a child: curled up, naked in the corner of the large G&G shipping box he was raised in.

Characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring and guests[edit]

Episodes[edit]

#EpisodeFirst US Airdate & NetworkWriter(s)
1"Pilot" (parts 1 & 2)April 8, 1996 / FoxJohn McNamara & David Greenwalt
Jim aims to eliminate the President of Acquisitions so he can claim the job for himself by leaking damaging information about a recent G&G acquisition to the press, and blackmailing his executive assistant into helping him do it. Jim also befriends Pete's wife, Nora Gracen.
2"Hero"April 15, 1996 / FoxDavid Greenwalt
Joanne Meltzer and Jack Walters delve into Profit's past while Jim befriends Jack's vulnerable wife, who inadvertently presents Jim with a way to remove Jack permanently.
3"Sykes"April 22, 1996 / FoxDavid Greenwalt
Jim is ordered to recruit Jeffrey Sykes to G&G's executive team and to acquire a waste company with organized crime ownership but Sykes has his own agenda, and it has little to do with representing G&G's PR interests.
4"Healing"April 29, 1996 / FoxJohn McNamara
Joanne and Jim's rivalry comes to a head when Chaz orders them both to take lie detector tests to put the negative rumors about both to rest for good. Jim blackmails Joanne's psychiatrist and hijacks her psychotherapy sessions in an attempt to destabilize Joanne and make her fail the test.
5"Cupid"December 6, 2002 / TrioJohn Shirley
G&G wants to acquire a lucrative nightclub company that is jointly owned by spouses who have separated due to the husband's abusive, controlling ways. Jim and Sykes are ordered to get the two sides back together long enough to close the deal. Bobbi sets her sights on Chaz.
6"Chinese Box"December 7, 2002 / TrioW. K. Scott Meyer
In order to avoid an imminent FBI investigation, Profit must quickly sever G&G's business relationship with a recently acquired Chinese company – while avoiding a multi-million-dollar contract termination penalty – by obtaining a military code-breaking microchip from its designer: an eccentric tech genius who G&G fired for sexually harassing another employee (Gail Koner).
7"Security"December 8, 2002 / TrioJohn McNamara
Jim is having a secret affair with the newest G&G security team member; but, just like Jim, she is not who she appears to be.
8"Forgiveness"December 9, 2002 / TrioDavid Greenwalt
Jim's manipulations come to a head: a secret from Nora's past may hold the key to derailing an imminent hostile takeover of G&G, Joanne and Sykes come closer to finding the "real" Jim Profit and Bobbi faces a near-death experience that makes her realize what she really wants out of life.

In the UK the entire run was originally screened on Sky 2 in 1996, and later on BBC2.

In France, the entire run was originally screened on Jimmy commencing 23 June 1997.

In Germany the 2-hour pilot episode was originally screened on 25 February 1997 via Sat.1; after a viewer poll affirmed strong interest in seeing the remainder of the series it was aired in July 1998 under the title Jim Profit – Ein Mann geht über Leichen (A Man Walks over Dead Bodies).[5]

Critical reception[edit]

The critical response to Profit at the time of its debut was overwhelmingly positive. Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times called Profit "...rip-roaring, sinus-clearing, bold and wonderful."[6] Tom Gliatto of People magazine said of Profit: "Refreshingly cruel, Fox's Profit is the most exciting new show I've seen this year."[7] John J. O'Conner from The New York Times called Profit "one of the most intriguing shows to come along since Twin Peaks..."[8] Joyce Millman of salon.com stated: "Profit gains heft...from its nervy satiric vision of corporate capitalist culture."[9] Eric Mink from The New York Daily News stated "Jim Profit may well be the most unremittingly evil character ever to serve as the protagonist and principal voice of a network TV series. Next to Profit, Dallas' J.R. Ewing is as menacing as Babe the Pig."[10] Entertainment Weekly included Profit in its "Ten Best TV Shows for 1996" list at position #8.[11]

Controversy and cancellation[edit]

Despite numerous positive critical reviews and intense industry buzz, Profit was canceled after only 5 out of the 9 hours produced were actually broadcast by Fox.[12] Low Nielsen ratings were cited as the official cause; Profit ranked 138th of 160 shows for 1996[13] and suffered from viewer tune-out during the airing of the 2-hour pilot episode. Other factors that may have hastened Profit’s demise include:

Profit co-creator David Greenwalt hypothesized that "What might have turned off viewers to Profit wasn't just that it was so different [from other TV shows of the time] but that it was such an affront to it." [23] The cancellation of Profit was lamented by the organization Viewers for Quality Television; VQT founder Dorothy Swanson stated: "It certainly was not a mainstream show. It wasn't for everyone. There were parts of it I'm sure mainstream viewers found very disturbing and unappealing. But for people who like interesting television, it was very well written. It was spellbinding. You had to know what made this guy (Jim Profit) tick." [24]

Awards[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

Anchor Bay Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 on August 9, 2005.[26] The three-disc set contains the two-hour pilot and seven episodes (the final four of which did not air during the original run on Fox). Interviews with Stephen J. Cannell, David Greenwalt, John McNamara, Adrian Pasdar, Lisa Blount, and Lisa Zane are presented in a 67-minute featurette called Greed Kills about the making of Profit. Audio commentary with Adrian Pasdar and series creators David Greenwalt and John McNamara is provided for the 2-hour pilot and the episodes "Healing", "Chinese Box", and "Forgiveness". As of 2010, this DVD release has been discontinued and is out of print.[27]

Free Dolphin Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 2 on October 20, 2005.[28] The three-disc set contains the two-hour pilot and seven episodes, along with the option of French subtitles (with the original English voice audio) or French-dubbed voice audio for all episodes. A 23-minute featurette produced in 1999 by French TV station Jimmy titled "Profit Special" (covering the impact and enormous popularity of Profit in France) was included in this release, along with the Greed Kills featurette from the Region 1 release. Seven minutes of Fox promotional spots for Profit were provided as well, including a unique 30-second trailer showing Jim Profit crushing a spider on a park bench, dismissively calling it an "amateur" (predator).

Ostalgica released the complete series on DVD in Region 2 on April 24, 2012 under the title Jim Profit – Ein Mann geht über Leichen (A Man Walks over Dead Bodies).[29] The three-disc set contains the two-hour pilot and seven episodes, along with the option of the original English or German-dubbed voice audio for all episodes.

The content of the episodes is identical on all releases of the DVD with the exception of the opening voiceover by Jim Profit in the pilot episode:

Production[edit]

Profit was produced by Greenwalt/McNamara Productions and Stephen J. Cannell Productions in association with New World Television, and was the final series to come from Cannell's company (as well as one of the few for which he did not write any scripts).

The exterior shots outside the Gracen & Gracen twin towers were filmed on the plaza in front of the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver. For production, a "Gracen & Gracen Wall Center" placard was positioned over the covered entrance in front of one building and two G&G logo monuments were placed in the front and center of the plaza. Another part of the same hotel complex now includes the well-known One Wall Centre building that had not yet been constructed when Profit was shot in early 1996.

According to the Region 1 DVD liner notes, the interior G&G office shots for the two-hour pilot episode were taken at the real working offices of B.C. Gas and that of a prestigious law firm in downtown Vancouver. Subsequent episodes were shot in studio sets modeled after these offices. The scene outside a hospital with Joanne Meltzer and Profit in the episode "Healing" was shot in front of St. Paul's Hospital located just across Burrard Street from the Sheraton Wall Centre. The exterior of Profit's apartment building featuring columnar bay windows up and down the entire front of the building is a location called Eugenia Place in Vancouver's West End; the structure is notable for the presence of a 35-foot Pin oak tree growing on the building's roof, located approximately 180 feet above street level.

Profit's exploration of Gracen & Gracen's computer network was done through a 3D-image rendering interface, which represents G&G's corporate data as a building with a series of offices. This was implemented using the Virtual Realilty Modeling Language which was believed to be the way that future websites would be built in 1996. In the years leading up to the production of Profit numerous films such as The Lawnmower Man, Virtuosity, and especially the corporate thriller Disclosure featured a Virtual Reality interface which directly inspired its use in Profit.

What would have happened[edit]

David Greenwalt & John McNamara gave details of plotlines from the never-produced second season in the audio commentaries on the Region 1 DVD.

In 2001 it was reported that co-creator David Greenwalt, who later went on to produce the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off series Angel, once entertained the idea of having Adrian Pasdar reprise his role as Jim Profit on Angel. The main villains in Angel were a law firm called Wolfram & Hart, and Profit would have joined the firm. Conflicting working schedules with Pasdar (then the lead on NBC's Mysterious Ways), and the predictable difficulties in securing the rights (from Fox) to use the Jim Profit character prevented this from happening before Angel's run ended in its fifth and final season in 2004.[30]

Notes[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chiller scares up a February and brings Profit and Millenium back from the dead". The Futon Critic. January 28, 2008
  2. ^ "Profit on CBS Action" from cbsaction.co.uk
  3. ^ "25 Greatest Cult TV Shows Ever" #14:'Profit'. Entertainment Weekly. September 29, 2009
  4. ^ Roush, Matt (June 3, 2013). "Canceled Too Soon". TV Guide. pp. 20 and 21
  5. ^ Germany Profit Airdates from kabeleins.de
  6. ^ Rosenberg, Howard. "Will Viewers Cozy Up to Naked Ambition in Sinfully Rich Profit?", Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1996. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  7. ^ Gliatto, Tom. Picks & Pans: Main Tube, People, April 8, 1996. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  8. ^ Meisler, Andy. The Man Behind Nice Jim Rockford Now Gives the World Evil Jim Profit, The New York Times, April 21, 1996. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  9. ^ "Monster in a Box" from salon.com
  10. ^ Mink, Eric. New Series 'Profits' From Its Ruthless Hero, New York Daily News, April 8, 1996. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  11. ^ Tucker, Ken. TV, Entertainment Weekly, December 27, 1996. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  12. ^ Graham, Renee. "Loss of 'Profit' Deals a Blow to TV", Deseret News, June 19, 1996. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  13. ^ "Producer Tries to Relaunch Risky for-'Profit' Enterprise" from thefreelibrary.com
  14. ^ Endrst, James. "A Season Finale After a Nine-Year Wait", The New York Times, August 13, 2005. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  15. ^ "3:16 'Profit' Musings"
  16. ^ "Producer Tries to Relaunch Risky for-'Profit' Enterprise" from thefreelibrary.com
  17. ^ Puri, Shaifali. "Profit Claws His Way up Fox's Slippery Ladder, CNN, May 13, 1996. July 30, 2013.
  18. ^ "Profit: Screwed by the Network" from tvtropes.org
  19. ^ "Television: Serial Power Monger" from time.com
  20. ^ Tucker, Ken. Fox's new, wickedly fun dramas, Entertainment Weekly, April 5, 1996. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  21. ^ "Television: Stop the Inanity!" from time.com
  22. ^ Adrian Pasdar biography from yahoo.com
  23. ^ "10 Cult TV Hits That Originally Flopped" from howstuffworks.com
  24. ^ "Loss of 'Profit' Deals a Blow to TV" from deseretnews.com
  25. ^ 1996 Artios Award Winner & Nominations from imdb.com
  26. ^ Profit: The Complete Series from ew.com
  27. ^ http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_item.asp?item_id=691775
  28. ^ Profit Region 2 French DVD Official Site from freedolphin.fr
  29. ^ Profit Region 2 German DVD Official Site from ostalgica.de
  30. ^ Kurtz, Frank. Profit on Angel?, Mania, October 12, 2001. Accessed July 30, 2013.
  31. ^ "Quote from Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI" from books.google.com
  32. ^ Wiseguy page from aintitcool.com
  33. ^ "Producer Tries to Relaunch Risky for-'Profit' Enterprise" from thefreelibrary.com
  34. ^ Dexter "Living The Dream" Episode Cast from imdb.com
  35. ^ Dexter "Helter Skelter" Episode Cast from imdb.com

External links[edit]