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Early Edition
Early Edition Title Screen.jpg
Title Screen
Format Science fiction, Drama
Created by Ian Abrams
Patrick Q. Page
Vik Rubenfeld
Developed by Bob Brush
Starring Kyle Chandler
Shanésia Davis-Williams
Fisher Stevens
Kristy Swanson
Billie Worley
Myles Jeffrey
Panther the Cat
Narrated by Kyle Chandler
Fisher Stevens
Theme music composer W.G. Snuffy Walden
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 90 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Bob Brush
Running time 42 minutes (approx.)
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo sound
Original run September 28, 1996 – May 27, 2000

Early Edition is a science fiction television series that aired on CBS from September 28, 1996 to May 27, 2000. Set in the city of Chicago, Illinois, it followed the adventures of a man who mysteriously receives each Chicago Sun-Times newspaper the day before it is actually published, and who uses this knowledge to prevent terrible events each day. Created by Ian Abrams, Patrick Q. Page, and Vik Rubenfeld, the series starred actor Kyle Chandler as Gary Hobson, and featured many real Chicago locations over the course of the series' run. Despite fan efforts to save the show, it was cancelled in May 2000, and it began airing in syndication on Fox Family Channel that same month. CBS Home Entertainment subsequently scheduled a DVD release of the complete first season on June 24, 2008.[1]

Contents

Production

Conception

The origin of Early Edition stems from a collaborative idea between writers Vik Rubenfeld and Pat Page.[2] After meeting each other while playing volleyball in Manhattan Beach, California, the pair began discussing ideas for feature films.[2] While talking on the phone one day, they each contributed key parts for the idea of Early Edition. Rubenfeld believed the idea was more suited to television than a feature film, noting that, "it was a really unique way to put a character in physical jeopardy each week."[2] The duo proceeded to write a document that described the show's characters and setting, and treatments for the first twelve episodes (a document known as a show's "Bible" in the TV industry).[2] In the process they also created a detailed treatment for the pilot episode, which entitled them to "Story By" credit when the Pilot later aired.

Despite their idea, Rubenfeld and Page still faced the daunting task of finding a way to get the show on network television with limited television production and writing experience between them. Rubenfeld decided to pitch the show to Ian Abrams, whom he knew through a group called the Professional Authors Group Enterprise (or PAGE).[2] Over lunch at RJ's restaurant in Los Angeles, Rubenfled and Page pitched the idea of "a guy who gets tomorrow's newspaper today."[2][3] With Abrams' help, they decided to try and convince Tristar to pick up the show, and went about adding a few ground rules for the story, such as having the paper always accompanied by a mysterious cat.[3] In an effort to rouse Tristar's interest in the show during their pitch meeting scheduled for August 24, 1995, Abrams had a mock newspaper created with the headline "Let's just let it end. O.J. Simpson confesses he is guilty of homicide."[3] The catch to the mock newspaper was that it was dated the next day, August 25, 1995. After presenting the fake newspaper during the pitch meeting, very lively conversation ensued, until someone realized the paper was dated the following day. Early Edition was green-lit not long after.

Since its debut, the plot of Early Edition has been compared to other intellectual properties with similar themes. In particular, the 1944 feature film It Happened Tomorrow centered upon a newspaper reporter who had the ability to receive a newspaper from the future in advance.[4] However, Early Edition's creators have "always maintained that Early Edition is in no way based on this film."[5]

Filming locations

The series was filmed entirely within the Chicago area, with interior sets filmed on the Early Edition Sound Stage at Studio City in Cicero, Illinois.[6] Many famous Chicago locations are seen throughout the series, such as Navy Pier in the third season episode "Play it Again, Sammo." The building used for exterior shots of McGinty's bar, a location of central importance to the series, was formerly used by the Chicago Fire Department, and is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Franklin Street and West Illinois Street in downtown Chicago.[7][8] Additionally, Hobson lived in the Blackstone Hotel during the show's first season.[9]

Music

In the opening credits of each episode, W.G. Snuffy Walden is credited with composing Early Edition's title theme music.[10] However, during the series' original broadcast run in the United States, an edited version of the song "Time Has Come Today" by The Chambers Brothers was used during a revamped opening title sequence from episode 403 until the series' conclusion.[11]

Episodes and plot

Episodes

Early Edition premiered in the United States on CBS on September 28, 1996. A total of 90 episodes were produced over the course of the show's four seasons, with the last original episode airing in the United States on May 27, 2000. Its original time slot was Saturday night at 8pm Central Standard Time, sandwiched between airings of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Walker, Texas Ranger.[12] When Dr. Quinn ended in May 1998, Early Edition then began airing one hour earlier at 7pm for the remainder of the show's run.[12] In January and February 2000, Early Edition went on temporary hiatus as the Dick Clark game show "Winning Lines" aired in its time slot.

Plot and synopsis

The show dealt with the life of Gary Hobson (Kyle Chandler), a Chicago man (initially a stock broker, later the owner of McGinty's bar) who mysteriously received newspapers (specifically, the Chicago Sun-Times) a day ahead of time, effectively giving him knowledge of the potential future. His newspaper apparently gets delivered by a ginger tabby cat, no matter where he goes every morning, except on some special occasions. He would then try to prevent tragedies described in "tomorrow's" Sun-Times from occurring, whereby story text and headlines in the newspaper change to reflect the outcome of his actions.

The cast of Early Edition: Gary Hobson (Kyle Chandler), Marissa Clark (Shanésia Davis-Williams), and Chuck Fishman (Fisher Stevens).

Season 1 consists of 23 episodes, and ran from September 28, 1996 to May 10, 1997. The show begins by following Chicago resident and stockbroker Gary Hobson as he returns home from work one day, only to be thrown out of the house for no reason by his wife Marsha. Upon taking up residence in the Blackstone Hotel, Hobson begins receiving a copy of the Chicago Sun-Times, accompanied by an orange tabby cat, every morning. Slowly, Hobson realizes the paper's contents reflect what's going to happen tomorrow, and confers this with his co-workers and friends Chuck Fishman and Marissa Clark. After deciding to use his knowledge of the future only for good (and not primarily for profit), Hobson is soon consumed by trying to prevent tragedies and help people, leading him to quit his job. During the season, Chuck consistently tries to use "The Paper" to make money, while Gary develops a precarious relationship with police Detective Ezekiel Crumb. By the season's end, Gary had begun to uncover some of the mystery surrounding The Paper, including confirmation that a man named Lucius Snow received The Paper before him.

Within the course of the series, Gary discovers that a few other people share his gift of receiving a newspaper "early". The only people, besides Gary, who know about his gift are his parents; his friends Chuck Fishman (a former fellow stock broker) and Marissa Clark (the blind former receptionist at the brokerage); and Erica and Henry Paget, a single mother and her son (Gary gives Erica a job at McGinty's) though he tried to tell a few people such as his attorney and various police officers (Episode 407/408, "Fatal Edition"). On some occasions, he is given the ability to wake up in another time (such as in the early 1900s) to change the past. People who encounter Gary often strongly suspect (or know) that he has a secret, but do not know what it is.

During the course of the series, it is never clearly stated where the paper comes from. In one episode, Gary meets the group of people apparently responsible for giving him (as well as others) the Paper. Nothing much is revealed about them except that they have some sort of supernatural abilities, such as being able to mysteriously appear at any location.

In season four, episode 420, "Time" (the series finale that aired a few episodes early), it is briefly explained why Gary started receiving the paper. Apparently, he was given the responsibility by Lucius Snow (the man who received the Chicago Sun-Times before Gary), after Snow saved Gary's life when Gary was a child. The responsibility is represented by a pocket knife imprinted with the initials of the person next to receive the paper (Lucius gave Gary the red Swiss Army Knife). The initials mysteriously change every time the current person decides on a new person to receive the responsibility. At the end of the same episode, Gary passes on the same pen knife to a young girl named Lindsey Romick who had just lost her grandfather; and it is implied that Lindsey will begin receiving the paper when Gary is no longer able to carry on the responsibilities.

Themes

The show began with Gary being divorced by his wife, and stuck in a rut in his job. Once he begins to receive the "early edition" of the Chicago Sun-Times, he slowly gains a sense of purpose as a sort of superhero by seeking to prevent as many disasters as possible each day. The drawback to his situation was that, in his nearly-obsessional devotion to saving people, he rarely had time for his own personal life. Gary's fortuitous assumption of ownership of McGinty's Bar/Grill in downtown Chicago gave him a stable platform from which to carry out his newfound purpose. The other issue he would occasionally grapple with was whether to use the information contained in the paper (such as lottery numbers, or sports scores) to profit from the paper.

The show rarely dealt with a common theme of time-travel dramas — the theory that changing the past (or the present in this case) produced potentially adverse consequences in the future. More often, the show would subtly display the butterfly effect.

Cast and characters

Main cast

Recurring cast

Supporting characters

The show's two key co-stars were Fisher Stevens as Chuck Fishman and Shanésia Davis-Williams as Marissa Clark.

Chuck was a foil to Gary, being a somewhat cynical, wisecracking realist in contrast to Gary's growing idealism. In early episodes, Chuck seeks to parlay the advance knowledge provided by the newspaper into windfall profits (e.g., sports betting and stock-market 'insider trading'). Over time, however, he begins to take a role in helping and backing up Gary as a problem-solver.

Davis-Williams may have performed an overlooked artistic service, in portraying a blind person able to cause one to totally overlook her blindness[citation needed]. Marissa often was the voice of reasonable conscience, balancing Gary's earnest idealism against Chuck's skeptical realism.

Stevens' departure from the show after two seasons, however, fundamentally changed the dynamic of the show[citation needed]. The device of his voice-over narration was done away with, the theme music was changed, and there began a revolving door of foils for Gary, including Billie Worley and Kristy Swanson. The latter had a romantic subplot with Gary. Fisher Stevens made several guest appearances on the show after leaving, and several of the characters stayed (such as a hard-boiled detective named Crumb, and Gary's bartender Patrick).

Guest Stars

Early Edition also featured many notable guest stars during the series' run from both television, feature films, and other entertainment industries. For example, the character of reporter Meredith Carson, who appeared in the fourth and ninth episodes of the first season, was played by actress Leslie Hope, who five years later would go on to play Teri Bauer in the TV Series 24.[14] James Tolkan, known for his role as Mr. Strickland in the feature film Back to the Future, appeared as a basketball coach in the sixth episode of the first season.[15] Later on rap artist Coolio played a character who was saved from assassination by Hobson in the third season episode "Number One with a Bullet."[16] Also during the third season, CBS used an Early Edition episode as a promotional vehicle for the network's Martial Law TV Series starring martial arts expert Sammo Hung In the fourth and final season, professional wrestlers Tommy Dreamer and New Jack guest starred in the episode Mel Schwartz, Bounty Hunter.[17]

Cancellation and beyond

After May 27, 2000 (the end of its fourth season), CBS decided to end the series' run. Despite fan efforts to save the show, and a USA Today poll showing respondents were in favor by a two to one margin of keeping the "family-friendly" show on air, CBS did not renew the show for a fifth season.[18] Fans of Early Edition continued to show support, even going so far as to stage three fan conventions in downtown Chicago in 2001, 2002, and 2004.[19]

Syndication

The Fox Family Channel was the first entity to acquire syndication rights to Early Edition, at a price of $500,000 per episode, and the show began airing on Fox Family in May 2000.[12] The series debuted in wider syndication in September 2000, and was more recently seen on ION Television, where it last aired in January 2007.[20] FamilyNet currently airs the show nightly at 9/8c. SyFy currently has the rights to air Early Edition. In Spain, the show has been aired for first time on Canal+ and, recently, by Calle 13 and Sony Entertainment Television (SET en VEO); it has been aired from Monday to Thursday from August until end of November 2007. In Poland, Early Edition aired several times on TVP channels under the title "It Happened Tomorrow". In Estonia, Early Edition is being aired by TV 3, with the title translated to "Tomorrow's News".

International

Outside the US, the series has been broadcasted by the following stations under the following names:

Country Name Translation Station
Estonia Homsed uudised Tomorrow's news TV3
Germany Allein gegen die Zukunft Alone against the future ProSieben
Hong Kong Early Edition ' Hallmark Channel
Italy Ultime dal Cielo News from the Sky Rete 4, Canale 5
Philippines Early Edition ' Studio 23
Singapore Early Edition ' AXN
Turkey Erken Baski ' Kanal D
Spain Edición Anterior ' Sony TV en VEO

DVD releases

Early Edition: the First Season

CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) has released the first two seasons of Early Edition on DVD in Region 1 (US only). Season 2 was released on July 28, 2009. [1]

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment owns the international DVD rights to the show, although they have not made any releases as of yet.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The First Season 23 June 24, 2008
The Second Season 22 July 28, 2009

See also

References

  1. ^ Lambert, David (2008-04-16). "Early Edition - More Details, Extras, and Early Cover Art for 1st Season DVDs". TVshowsonDVD.com. http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Early-Edition-Season-1/9398. Retrieved 2008-04-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Rubenfeld, Vik (1998-09-25). "Creating Early Edition". Extra Edition. http://www.geocities.com/eeextraedition/sept98/features.htm#vr. Retrieved 2008-03-25. {{dead link|date=November 2009
  3. ^ a b c "Ian Abrams: Co-Creator for Early Edition". EELFEST News. 2001. http://www.geocities.com/eelfestnews/page3. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  4. ^ "It Happened Tomorrow (1944)". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036962/. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  5. ^ "Is "Early Edition" based on that old movie about a newspaper?". EarlyDues' Early Edition. 2000-12-03. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/faq/eefaq2.htm#2dot7. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  6. ^ "Where is it filmed or set?". EarlyDues' Early Edition. 2000-12-03. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/faq/eefaq2.htm#2dot3. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  7. ^ "What and where is McGinty's?". EarlyDues' Early Edition. 2000-12-03. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/faq/eefaq2.htm#2dot19. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  8. ^ "290 W Illinois St". Google Maps. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=228+W+Illinois+Street,+Chicago,+IL&sll=41.891099,-87.633358&sspn=0.001513,0.002511&layer=c&ie=UTF8&cbll=41.890763,-87.635391&cbp=1,11.075365584055646,,0,-4.347954778453811&ll=41.891075,-87.635627&spn=0.001513,0.002511&z=19. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  9. ^ Carlton, Hayley. "Grant Park street wall, surrounding buildings examined at GPAC meeting". nearwestgazette.com. http://www.nearwestgazette.com/Archive/2008/0308/News0308e.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  10. ^ "Who composes the theme music used on Early Edition?". EarlyDues' Early Edition. 2002-07-21. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/faq/eefaq8.htm#8dot1. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  11. ^ "What's with the new theme music?". EarlyDues' Early Edition. 2002-07-21. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/faq/eefaq8.htm#8dot3. Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  12. ^ a b c "When is it on?". EarlyDues' Early Edition. 2000-12-03. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/faq/eefaq2.htm#2dot2. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  13. ^ "Panther, Pella, and Carl as Cat". Early Dues' Early Edition. 2000-12-03. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/faq/eefaq4.htm#4dot10. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  14. ^ ""Early Edition" The Paper (1996)". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0568480/. Retrieved 2008-05-20. 
  15. ^ "Early Edition" Hoops (1996)
  16. ^ ""Early Edition" Number One with a Bullet (1999)". Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0568452/. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  17. ^ "Early Edition" Play It Again, Sammo (1999)
  18. ^ "Excerpt from PTC E-Alert - Vol. 4, No. 25". Parents Television Council. 2000-05-03. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/pages/news2000.htm#05_03_2000_a. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  19. ^ "EELFEST News". EELFEST NEWS. http://geocities.com/eelfestnews/. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  20. ^ "Early Edition Debuts In Syndication". EarlyDues' Early Edition. 2000-01-11. http://earlydues.usanethosting.com/ee/pages/news2000.htm#01_11_2000_a. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 

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