Big movie stars are not making the cut on the small screen

Lately, television is where big movie stars go to fail.

The Showtime drama “Kidding,” starring Jim Carrey — about a Mister Rogers-like TV host named Jeff Pickles — is losing so many viewers, insiders were shocked Wednesday when it was renewed for a second season.

And Sean Penn’s Hulu show “The First” — about the first man to go to Mars — has seemingly been eclipsed by “First Man” — the upcoming film starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong.

There are no ratings for Hulu shows, but insiders say “The First” may be last. “No one’s talking about it,” said one producer.

“What it proves is, it doesn’t matter how big a star it is, the show is what matters — not the star,” Marc Berman, of Programming Insider, told me.
The second season of “True Detective,” with Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams was such a disappointment, there was speculation it was going to be canceled.

Other big-screen stars who failed on the small screen include Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen Burstyn, Richard Dreyfuss and James Woods.

Carrey, who hadn’t done a TV show since leaving “In Living Color” in 1994, launched “Kidding” last month with 443,000 on-air viewers. But only 199,000 tuned in on Sunday.

“Kidding” is also dropping more than 60 percent of the viewers from its lead-in, “Shameless.”

So it was a surprise yesterday when Showtime’s Gary Levine announced: “I feel like I have been watching Mr. Pickles my whole life, and I look forward to being entranced by his unique blend of hilarity and heartbreak in Season 2.”

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