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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors chose the dean of the university’s undergraduate business school early Tuesday to become the interim president upon the departure of the ousted Teresa Sullivan.
The board voted 12-1 with two abstentions to approve McIntire School of Commerce Dean Carl Zeithaml to serve as interim president after Sullivan’s Aug. 15 departure. The decision came shortly before 3 a.m., nearly 12 hours after the meeting began.
Zeithaml specializes in strategic management and has been McIntire’s dean since 1997. He spent 11 years on the faculty of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
“I realize that it is a very difficult time for many people within our community, but I look forward to working with our faculty, students, staff, alumni and University leaders to move U.Va. forward,” Zeithaml said in a statement.
Rector Helen Dragas said a special committee to nominate a permanent president will form soon. She said the board hopes to engage faculty, staff and alumni in the selection process. She and the board had been roundly criticized for the lack of explanation and transparency in calling for Sullivan’s resignation.
The panel never formally voted on Sullivan’s departure or fully explained it, touching off a furor among faculty, administrators, students, donors and alumni. Dragas announced the resignation June 10.
Board member Heywood Fralin cast the lone “no” vote, with A. Macdonald Caputo and Robert Hardie abstaining. Board member Glynn Key had left before the official vote.
Fralin said after the meeting that he had concerns about the process by which Sullivan was removed. But he said U.Va. will survive the turmoil because “it’s a great university.”
The Faculty Senate and other groups had urged the board to retain Sullivan and for Dragas and Vice Rector Mark Knighton to step down, but neither of those things happened.
Board member Hunter Craig praised Sullivan’s ability to attract talented administrators, including Provost John Simon and chief operating officer Michael Strine. Craig also called for Gov. Bob McDonnell, the legislature and the Board of Visitors to allow for the appointment of a faculty member to the board, a move sought by the Faculty Senate.
Sullivan told the board Monday that she has worked to adopt necessary changes at U.Va. in light of financial challenges to public higher education. She said she and the board apparently disagreed with “how that change should occur and at what pace.”
“I’ve been described as an incrementalist. It is true,” she said, according to remarks she provided to reporters after she spoke in the closed session. “Sweeping action may be gratifying and may create the aura of strong leadership, but its unintended consequences may lead to costs that are too high to bear.”
She also said other universities were planning to poach U.Va. faculty members because of the turmoil in Charlottesville.
“Corporate-style, top-down leadership does not work in a great university,” she said. “Sustained change with buy-in does work.”
About 2,000 people gathered outside the Rotunda to support Sullivan and criticize the Board of Visitors. She was met with thunderous cheers and serenaded with U.Va.’s school anthem “The Good Ole Song” as she walked back to her office after addressing the board.
George Cohen, a law professor and chairman of U.Va.’s Faculty Senate, declined to comment after the board adjourned.
Zinie Chen Sampson can be reached on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/zinie .
"Californication" (seven seasons)
"Entourage" (eight seasons)
Much like “Californication,” this man-centric show started strong and buzzy -- a perpetual nominee at the Golden Globes and Emmys, and a perceived gender-swapped “Sex and the City.” Then it ground on and on, and what might once have been read as a sophisticated satire of Hollywood materialism became a grinding conveyor belt of self-congratulatory guest-star appearances.
"Will & Grace" (eight seasons)
Hey, did someone say “self-congratulatory guest-star appearances?” Look -- it’s Jennifer Lopez, and Cher, and Janet Jackson, and Madonna! The latter seasons of “Will & Grace” effectively ruined the fun of watching the show in syndication now -- will it be a fun and jaunty early episode, or a later episode in which title characters enact an Ibsen play about having a baby together (really) while Jack and Karen meet one pop star or another? The fact that the show hastened a widespread acceptance of gay people that, then, made the show something of a throwback by the time it ended is one thing; the fact that the show itself seemed uninterested in relying on its actors’ sharp comic timing is quite another.
"The King of Queens" (nine seasons)
This CBS stalwart just kind of kept going, exactly as long as was needed to launch Kevin James’ film career. In the show’s final minutes, a formulaic sitcom became a mile-a-minute soap, with the central characters considering divorce and then having two children.
"Frasier" (11 seasons)
Though it ended strong, "Frasier" had something of the opposite problem as “The King of Queens”: While the CBS comedy chucked a whole bunch of plot at viewers toward the end, NBC’s Emmy magnet stayed stuck in familiar ruts, with Frasier questing endlessly for love and Daphne and Niles in fairly unthrilling domestic bliss. The jokes stayed good, but this maybe could have gone one or two years shorter.
"Weeds" (eight seasons)
As “Homeland” viewers may be learning, Showtime isn’t particularly good at keeping its shows coherent over time. (Maybe this is “Californication”’s issue -- we wouldn’t know!) This show changed settings and, effectively, organizing conceits so many times that by the end, it had few earnest defenders.
"Nip/Tuck" (six seasons)
This FX series, too, changed settings midway through, moving from Miami to Los Angeles four seasons in for no compelling reason. The show’s most gripping subplots had a way of petering out (remember the anticlimactic solution to the mystery of the Carver?), and its bizarre tendencies overtook any sense of fun.
"Glee" (five seasons and counting)
The series has, like its sibling show “Nip/Tuck” (Ryan Murphy created them both), switched locations, moving in large part to New York once its core cast graduated high school. But what’s the point of a high school series when the stars graduate? Despite some lovely moments, the show’s heat seems gone, and attempts to get back into the conversation (the school shooting episode, for instance) have been more desperate and tone-deaf than effective.
"Grey's Anatomy" (10 seasons and counting)
Here’s the thing: By all accounts, “Grey’s Anatomy” is not a creative failure. And it’s still widely watched. But when you begin your life as a world-beating hit, anything else seems somewhat marginal. “Grey’s Anatomy” has shed more regular viewers than many shows will ever hope to get in the first place (same’s true of “Survivor” and latter-day “ER,” to name just a few). Those who stopped watching once the Golden Globe nominations petered out may wonder why the show is still on; loyal viewers know better.
"The Simpsons" (25 seasons and counting)
Like the “Grey’s” doctors, the Springfield clan and their neighbors still draw a crowd. But “The Simpsons” is so omnipresent in syndication and in pop culture that the first-run series seems besides the point (not least because, though there are good episodes here and there, the show’s best days are universally agreed to be behind it -- like way behind it, in the 1990s).
"The Office" (nine seasons)
There was a natural break for this show, where it ought to have ended -- with the departure of lead actor Steve Carell in Season 7. The latter years were a creative fugue state, and as NBC’s Thursday night lineup continued to flatline in the ratings, one-time fans could be forgiven at their surprise that the adventures of Jim and Pam kept on unfolding.
"The X-Files" (nine seasons)
Once one of the show’s leads departs and has to be replaced -- as Steve Carell did on “The Office,” or David Duchovny did here -- the show faces a reckoning; if the lead is so central to the show’s plot as to make people wonder how the show could possibly go on, maybe the show shouldn’t. And even “X-Files” superfans might have been happier with fewer seasons of drawing out the conspiracy string toward a famously unsatisfying ending.
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