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Fox exec on its new baseball show,"Pitch": “at its core a soap opera”


There’s a big story in today’s New York Times about “Pitch,” the show coming out this fall on Fox about a woman who makes the San Diego Padres as a pitcher. The show, which was originally going to premiere this summer, was pushed to the fall because Fox saw it as a potential breakout hit as opposed to a summer fill-in. Today it’s creators are talking it up.

The big takeaway? Baseball is just a red herring, really. Just as a lot of legal and medical shows are, really, soap operas, in “Pitch” baseball is the excuse for a character-driven drama:

Though the pilot features baseball scene after baseball scene, the “Pitch” producers insist it’s anything but a sports show. In fact, Fox moved the show from its original midseason slot to the fall and the 9 p.m. time slot of “Scandal,” after ABC decided to hold back that hit show until the winter. (It should also help that “Pitch” will have its premiere in the heat of the pennant race and will be on the air during baseball’s postseason.) Dana Walden, a chief executive of the Fox Television Group, said that “Pitch” is “at its core a soap opera, and we’re hoping to attract a big number of female viewers.”

If you’re looking for soap opera drama that flows with baseball, Fox, I have a suggestion: a storyline in which the female pitcher tears her UCL but the Padres’ general manager trades her to Seattle anyway after lying about her health. Too far-fetched? Eh, maybe. I’ll workshop it a bit to come up with something more realistic.

Anyway, I don’t know what to expect from the show. For its part, it seems that the New York Times expects condescension to women who might watch it. After noting the hurdles the show might have to jump to find an audience, the article says this:

And how will it cater to the hard-core baseball fan expecting authenticity while still appealing to women, whom Fox is depending on for much of its viewership?

Huh. I guess all the of hard-core baseball fans I know that happen to be women, including the ones who write for and read this blog, the ones I talk to all day on Twitter and who have made baseball their living, the ones I see and talk to at the ballpark and the one I’m marrying are all just figments of my imagination.

Follow @craigcalcaterra