Scoop: Inside Fox's 'Human Target'/'Lie to Me' dilemma

roth-valleyImage Credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Fox; Michael Courtney/FoxYikes — the suits at Fox have just been cast in their own remake of Sophie’s Choice! The network likely has room for only one underperforming drama on its fall schedule, insiders tell me, and that leaves Lie to Me and Human Target competing for the slot! Who’ll get it? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each option…

Both bubble shows are ratings underachievers. However, with all its special effects, Target is presumably costlier to make. And its finale last month sunk its numbers to a new series low: 1.9 in the 18-49 demo. And it’s produced by outside studio Warner Bros., whereas Lie to Me is produced in-house (by 20th Century).

Further, Lie to Me is in its second season and therefore more established than frosh Target. It also has another chance to impress execs with some Nielsen muscle when it returns from its hiatus on June 7 and begins airing its remaining episodes.

Working against Lie to Me, though, is the fact that it recently lost its showrunner, Shawn Ryan. And, given that his list of achievements includes The Unit and The Shield, that’s a pretty big “ouch.”

Until D-Day — May 17, when Fox unveils its fall sked to advertisers at the upfronts — you can follow me on Twitter @michaelausiello for more late-breaking scoop on this sitch. You can also track all of this season’s big renewal questions via my Bubble Show Scorecard. And last but not least, you can weigh in below: If you were Fox, which show would you choose? (Additional reporting by Andy Patrick)

Comments (765 total) Add your comment
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  • mossi

    Lie To Me!

    • Crystal

      YES another vote for Lie to Me…the choice is clear FOX…LIE TO ME MUST STAY!! :)

      • Christopher

        Human Target is the superior show, it harkens back to the good old action shows of the 80s that are sorely lacking. I’m sick of shows like Lie to Me with characters who know seemingly tons of useless trivia and never fails to rattle off this knowledge. These characters should try out on Jeopardy.

      • Jane

        Lie to Me gets my vote.

      • O’Malley

        Lie To Me, for the win! Seriously FOX, it’s the the better show. Witty and entertaining.

      • Ange

        OMG don’t stop lie to me, its BRILLIANT!!!!!! i stay in for that and bones, they make my week!!

      • minister

        Wow, I’m *shocked* to see how many folks ‘voted’ for yet another middling tedious crime procedural. Shaun Ryan is a damn fine showrunner, but even he can only apply lipstick to a… well, it’s not a pig… let’s say a sheep. Yeah, that seems about right.
        Human Target is *way* more fun, sort of Burn Notice 2, and Burn Notice is pretty much Magnum P.I. 2. I mean, what’s not to like???

        Wait, I’ve GOT IT… ditch Lie to Me like the cold mashed potatoes it is and bring on Tim Roth as melted cheese and bacon bits for Human Target (i.e. a recurring villain.)

      • stacymac

        IF I WERE FOX……

        I think I’d have to ditch a reality show instead and keep both Human Target & Lie to Me. Both have great story lines and actors that deliver awesome shows. Why would I want to disappoint fans by canceling a show that they want to see? Ratings-schmatings, I’d say…..

      • bklynny

        ITA, Christopher.
        Keep Human Target!

    • anthony chobot

      i think human target will get pickup because it has to tell more stories

      • Sina

        Yes please keep Human Target.

      • Ben

        Human Target definitely has the better cast.

      • minister

        it’s a fait accompli (done deal): Lie to Me will get the pickup because it’s an in-house production, and because it’s another sheep-beloved crime procedural. The one thing I’m getting out of the drama here is that clearly someone at Fox with good taste is championing Jackie Earl Haley’s show 8)… but she’s gonna lose.

      • bklynny

        I hope so anthony. The cast has charming chemistry with each other, and Mark Valley is a good action hero. Not to mention, he’s hot.

      • rory

        Love Human Target. It’s got great characters, stories and a fabulous, movie-like soundtrack.

    • James

      Definitely Lie to Me! Unless Shawn Ryan’s departure seriously hurts the show. Still, I love the witty dialogue and character interactions. It’s also a fresh take on crime drama.

    • Bethany

      Definitely Lie to Me. It has a bigger fan base and more potential.

      • Sydney

        I agree.. I am soooo addicted to Lie To Me!!! Please please don’t take it off. Tim Roth is just too much to watch.

      • Brett

        Human Target – more entertaining; greater potential for stories; superior supporting cast. Lie to Me feels like “House Lite” except that “House” doesn’t have to come up with a bunch of contrived reasons for why a “human lie detector” would be necessary each week.

    • tvgirl48

      Lie to Me! It would be different if Human Target was actually doing decent ratings, but it just doesn’t have that big a fan base. Lie to Me is a good, solid, standard procedural with interesting characters and premise. I love all the psychology the show uses that makes it different than the average procedural

      • kelli

        I totally agree…LIE TO ME is such an interesting & original show…that & Tim Roth is AWESOME! :@)

      • huh?

        the only reason human target isnt doing better is that noone knows it is on. i like the show (well the couple of episodes i’ve seen), but have absolutely no idea when it’s on. fox doesn’t do a good job promoting anything other than its reality shows and glee.

    • Sheena


    • darclyte

      I think that Human Target has greater potential for more stories and doesn’t really have a “direct competitor,” while Lie To Me seems to have more competition (for the genre) and also seems like it would be repeating itself faster.

    • GT

      Keep both and lose a reality show. Let’s face it, reality shows are filled with amateur actors and the “what are they going to do next” premise is getting old. Bring back the professionals such as Tim Roth and Jackie Earle Haley who know how to draw me into a story from beginning to end. However, if I had to choose I would vote for Human Target.

      • Alia

        I agree with this idea. Ditch a lame reality show, keep Lie to Me and Human Target. Unlike GT, though, I’d pick Lie to Me if I had to choose one. (Two words, y’all: Brendan. Hines.)

      • Bernice

        i completely agree. I think its bull that there must be a choice. WHY?? Seriously why because I really haven’t seen a reason. Lie me did really well in it first season because they kept it with Idol but then they kept moving it and then stopped it in the middle of its season for no reason. Human target u could also say the same. Started off with idol then got moved and moved and so of course the ratings went down. I truly never understand these networks with their time swapping. It completely kills their shows.

      • ad

        I agree. I am so sick of the awful reality shows and vulgar cartoons. They already dumped Firefly, Terminator and Dollhouse which were great. Used to shows got at least like 3-5 years (Seinfeld/Friends) to make a niche. I hate getting attached to these shows and they getting ripped of the radar. Sad!!

      • colette

        Your idea is the best. Lose the reality shows and keep both. I love a show with real plots and actors!

      • tpel

        Yeah — I’ too, would rather keep both shows and ditch some reality programming. But if I had to choose, I would pick Human Target to keep. Cal Lightman is cool, as is Gillian Foster, but the rest of the cast of that show is weak. Human Target’s cast of three, in contrast, is made of awesome. Both shows have hit-or-miss writing, but when Lie to Me misses, it is painful to watch, whereas Human Target’s misses are just silly, yet still kind of fun.

      • huh?

        agreed. but the people who run networks could give a crap about quality and only care about the bottom line. and they’d rather pay a little money to wanna be celebrities than to spend a lot of money on quality entertainment. understandable, but i fail to believe that a bunch of smart businessmen and women and can’t come up with a way to make good programming affordable. if it would get rid of all reality for good, i’d gladly pay for all of my television. (well, if i had money, i would)

    • giuseppe

      lie to me.lie to me lie to me lie to me

      • Sista

        Giuseppe – you’re so right . . . Did I lie to you enough??

      • Sista

        Human Target, Human Target, Human Target

    • kristytru

      Human target is the better show.

      • BonnieW

        Human Target….didn’t grab me at first but now I love it!!

    • kent

      Human target is a great show with lots of story potential fox needs to push it on some of the sports programming

      • Lindsey

        LOVE Human Target and it’s great cast !!!!

      • Niix Starkyller

        Sadly, Human Target didn’t get its real hook until the finale and most viewers had tuned out by then. I’d like to see where it goes but I think it’s doomed to get the axe.

      • Comedian 419

        I love both shows, but if I had to choose – Human Target. Lie to Me works, but I think “The Mentalis” stole the mantle of the “lie detector” show… and yes Kent I fully agree: if FOX would promote Human Target on the sports programming, they might actually find their audience…

      • minister

        LOL, and The Mentalist is pretty much a straight-faced ripoff of Psych… although, still a pretty fun show. In fact, it feels to me like the Lie to Me fans here are choosing between The Mentalist & Human Target, a *much* harder choice.

    • Tunedelicious

      I for one am tired of procedurals, they flood the airwaves. I’d much rather see Human Target, a definite throwback to witty, sardonic action shows of 20 years ago but with excellent actors and great scripts. Yes, Human Target!

      • ro

        definitely different and much better looking – honestly, Tim Roth – great actor, but should stick to being a bad guy, can’t stand watching him for an hour.

      • minister

        couldn’t agree more, in fact, see above (where I suggest bringing Tim Roth in as a recurring villain for Human Target.)

      • Ron

        Human Target has a self-deprecating humor sadly lacking in most TV shows. And the cast has a chemistry that really works. The honor and trust between the characters gives the show its backbone. It would be a mistake to dismiss this show’s potential. Just because the audience hasn’t caught on to the ‘Mission Impossible’ aspects of this entertaining show doesn’t mean that given another season to develop, the audience won’t catch up. Stay the course!!!

    • laylagalise


    • Det.Jane

      Agree! Lie to Me is EXCELLENT, but really only becaue of Tim Roth…

      I don’t like Human Target at all, but I went into it slightly biased because Mark Valley divorced Anna Torv (his loss) and I’m a major Fringe devotee.

      • Heidi

        They are divorced already? I thought they met and married after getting to know each other on Fringe??? That had to be one quick marriage!

        I’m a LIE TO ME devotee. Tim Roth has excellent chemistry with his partners (particularly Ellinor – real name Kelly I think), ex wife and daughter.

    • Locklky

      Both shows are kind of silly. But I think Human Target realizes it whereas Lie to Me thinks it isn’t.

    • todd

      Human target, it has far more of an upside, and has much more likeable characters.

    • Kathleen

      Absolutely Human Target – love it. Talented actors display obvious chemistry, interesting stories with a bit of humor. Best show on TV.

    • RJD

      They finally got Human Target right after botching past incarnations of Christopher Chance. And 3 more reasons to keep the Target – Mark Valley, Chi McBride and the great Jackie Earle Haley. Nuff said.

    • TK

      I like them both! Why can’t they make room for both? No reason to hve to pick. If I had to, then Lie to Me. Tim Roth is funny and fantastic!

  • WotV

    I hope they save Lie to Me. It has more potential.

  • Becky

    Lie To Me! It definitely has more potential, it just needs time.

    • AJ

      Needs more time? This is the 2nd year! If a show can’t get it’s act together by now, cancel it!

      • Kelsey

        Yes more time. Fox has done a horrible job promoting the show and threw in a 175 day hiatus in the middle of year 2. Lots of people had no idea what was going on and thought the show had already been canceled.

      • b

        Really, it’s only had a season and a half. It’s been on midseason hiatus since god only knows when and won’t be back for another month. How is that giving it a fair chance to win viewers? A lot of people like me had just found the show and suddenly it disappeared.

  • Mike W

    Save Human Target – it’s more fun! I like Lie To Me, but it is a show built around facial twitches almost no one even sees.

    • jgsugden

      The option isn’t either/or. It is A, B or none of the above. I think both shows are fine, but fine doesn’t cut it for me. I think the talent involved in both shows could do better if unburdened by prior mistakes in the shows. Let them do something else and let another show have the slot.

      • Q

        I vote for hidden option C: 13 episodes (a half-season) of each.

      • D

        I agree with Q, I like both shows alot. I think that a lot of good shows can be saved by going with the 13 episode season (like they do in the UK and on cable) as this can save on production costs. I really enjoyed HT for the laughs and adrenaline rush that I was missing from the early part of 24 this season and conventional thinking for LTM is that it is a procedural (which usually works for many folks) with a few twists and really stepped it up under Shawn Ryan’s helm, and I am wondering how it will be with him gone now…

      • Keith

        Or option D. Renew one show for the fall and the other for Summer ’11 or to pick up when one of Fox’s new shows fail.

      • Dave

        Totally agree with Keith. Renew both, flip a coin for which one starts in the fall, and the other comes back after the first fall cancellation.

      • jslost

        I agree with you all (Q, D, Keith, Dave.) Why can’t TV execs be as thoughtful. I like both, but I’d have to vote for Human Target over LTM.

    • PeterZ

      Agreed! Save Human Target!! Definitely a fun show to watch.

      • Ctg

        I agree! Very fun show!

      • Sina

        Actually Human Target should be on the USA channel. It seems more fit for the USA channel.

      • agreed

        only in the sense that no good programming belongs on network television nowadays. unfortunatel usa is owned by nbc. i don’t think they are able to pick it up.

  • Carl Ingebretsen aka Watching Preacher

    I’d choose LIE TO ME. Because it stars TIMOTHY ROTH! :)

    • Becky

      Oh yeah! Who can resist Tim Roth? And Brendan Hines. Totally two of my favorite actors; therefore another reason to save the show ;)

      • TheDeej

        I can very easily resist Tim Roth. I’m all for Human Target.

      • bklynny

        @TheDeej I agree. Mark Valley is a combo of a versatile actor, and brings the hot factor with his action character.

    • Caroline

      I’m with you – Lie to me is an original concept of a tired action genre. Human Target is just the same old thing – person gets in trouble – guys help person in trouble – everything is happy! Boring.

      Besides – there’s Tim Roth to consider…. :)

  • Lynn

    C’mon, Fox! Save Lie To Me! Please!!!

  • De Leon

    that’s too bad I like both of these shows

    • J

      I watch and like both shows too! I’ll be bummed regardless! I think the Target guy is hot and I love the ensemble camaraderie.

      • BlackIrish4094

        Especially Jackie Earle Haley’s Guerrero. Although I like and dvr / watch both shows I think I would prefer Human Target to be renewed only because I worry Lie to me may be going off the rails a little based on the last episode or two before the break.

      • agreed

        Jackie Earle Haley rocks! glad to see his career is getting a bump

    • Angela

      I really like both shows. I would love split seasons … 13 and 13

      • K

        That is a great idea. Most cable network shows only have 13 ep seasons, and I’ve heard most of those actors prefer that schedule.

    • John

      Yea me too this really does suck

  • spark3597

    Lie to Me FTW! But I love both shows goddamn it!

  • Kristen

    LIE TO ME! Make it happen, Fox! Make it happen!!!

  • Moht

    Lie to me!

  • mrkanpuc

    Of course Lie To Me.

  • Kate

    Lie to Me, hands down.

  • Laura

    Lie to Me!!!!! Tim Roth is great!

    • Crystal

      Agree!! Lie to me all the way!

    • Yes

      Lie to me ftw!

  • maria

    absolutely and without a question LIE TO ME

    its actually educational!

  • Becca

    Come on Fox! Do the right thing and save LIE TO ME! Like Kristen said, make it happen, damn it!!!

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