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'Event TV works': Crossovers all the rage in fight for prime-time 'eyeballs'

In this image released by Fox, Andy Samberg portrays Jake in a scene from the series, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Fox comedies "New Girl" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" will cross over in back-to-back episodes airing Tuesday, Oct. 11. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-John P. Fleenor/FOX via AP
October 12, 2016 - 9:37 AM

TORONTO - It's a collision course of TV characters this fall.

On Tuesday's episode of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" on City, Andy Samberg's cop character tried to commandeer a car while on duty. The driver turned out to be Zooey Deschanel's character from the series "New Girl."

Then on the subsequent episode of "New Girl," the cast visited New York, where they ended up interacting with "Nine-Nine" characters.

Meanwhile, season 2 of "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," kicking off Thursday on CTV Two, will include a highly anticipated multi-episode storyline with fellow CW shows "Arrow," "The Flash" and "Supergirl." (In Canada, "Arrow" airs on CTV Two, "The Flash" on CTV and "Supergirl" on Showcase.)

The stunt is called a crossover, a common occurrence in the world of comic books that also happens on various TV series from time to time.

The point is to draw "eyeballs," says "Arrow" star Stephen Amell, who's already done a crossover with "The Flash."

"Event television works," says the Toronto native, adding it isn't easy to pull off.

"I'm going to need a sleep pod, but it's OK," says Amell, anticipating the long shooting days for the crossover event.

"It's just literally more work. I already shoot 23 episodes of 'Arrow' ... so that's a lot and it's simply a matter of the logistics will be very challenging.

"But at the end of the day, as long as we're producing something that makes the fans excited, that's all that matters."

Actor David Eigenberg of "Chicago Fire" on Global sometimes has to appear on the spinoff series "Chicago P.D." and "Chicago Med."

It's "fun" but it's also "really hard," he says.

"It's hard because the tenor of every show is different. The tenor on 'Med' is very different."

The "Chicago" franchise crossovers often happen at the small bar Molly's, which is frequented by characters from all three shows.

"People probably won't notice it but they light the bar completely differently, depending on the show," says Eigenberg.

"It changes the tenor, the lighting changes it."

The acting on each show is also different, he adds.

"We get really loopy and a little goofy on our show," says Eigenberg.

"On the other shows, it's not as loose as we get, and then 'Med' has a whole other thing. I come in, I'm a little bit of a loose cannon ... so I can tip the cart."

Not to mention the long hours.

"I think I did 13 hours on our show one day and then get thrown in a van and taken over to work on 'Med' and do six hours on 'Med,'" says Eigenberg. "That's a 19-hour day."

Dick Wolf, creator of the "Chicago" series, also did crossovers with another famous franchise of his — "Law & Order." Det. John Munch, played by Richard Belzer, crossed over onto several other series. Wolf has also done a crossover involving the "Chicago" and "Law & Order" franchises.

Other series that have done crossovers include "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." on CTV, which has featured cameos from characters from the Marvel cinematic universe, including Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif and William Sadler as President Matthew Ellis.

Clark Gregg, who plays agent Phil Coulson on the series, says they're careful about their crossovers.

"A lot of people the last couple of years were very much like, 'When are we going to see Iron Man?'" he says.

"I think our people were like, 'Well, actually, that's not the story we're telling here.'

"When it's gimmicky it gets old really fast, like, 'Oh, hey, there's that guy from that.'"

Some fans have wondered if characters from Netflix's Marvel series, like "Daredevil" and "Jessica Jones," will cross over into "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Says Gregg: "At a certain point, when it's appropriate, I'm sure we'll start to see some crossover there."

But it would need to be done right, he adds.

"Sometimes what's going on in the Netflix world is very different than the tone of our show and maybe now that our show is going to be at 10 o'clock in the U.S., our show will get a little similar in tone.

"But I think it's when it really helps the story."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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