Drive, Traveler coming your way.

Talk about being late to the party. Fox's Drive and ABC's Traveler--both heavily serialized dramas--were developed during the 2006-07 development cycle when the genre was red hot.

A year later, the genre is in the freezer after the majority of ambitious new fall series with continuous storylines crashed and burned. Now Drive, which premieres Sunday, and Traveler, slated for a May 30 launch, will test the airwaves to see if the serialized drama curse has been lifted.

As a midseason entry, it was tough going into production in October, Traveler creator David DiGilio recalls.

"There was a lot of negative press about serialized shows in the fall," he says. "Poor creators of serialized shows waiting in the wings had to bear the effects of that time."

He believes that by launching months later--with fewer shows competing for the total viewer commitment serialized dramas require--those series have a much better chance of survival.

"It's letting people come to the show with fresh eyes, letting them realize that it's all about the show, not what kind of show it is, and that the biggest show of the year is a heavily serialized one, Heroes."

Indeed, observers note that it was the dark serialized dramas, such as Vanished, Kidnapped, Smith, The Nine, and Day Break that fizzled, while lighter fare, such as the heavily serialized Heroes and the soap Ugly Betty, became the breakout hits of the season.

Drive and Traveler are in the action-adventure genre--Drive chronicles an illegal cross-country race and its participants, while Traveler revolves around two graduate students searching for their friend Will Traveler, who disappeared after framing them for a terrorist act.

That makes the shows a good fit for the summer movie season that kicks in next month. "Traveler has a summer-popcorn-movie vibe to it, with intriguing action and characters," says DiGilio, who knows a thing or two about hit movies, having written the crowd-pleaser Eight Below.

Meanwhile, Drive co-creator Tim Minear, who has executive-produced such cult favorites as Wonderfalls and Firefly, describes Drive as a hybrid of fun comedy, thriller, and emotional drama.

While their finish lines are only weeks apart, Drive and Traveler took different routes to the schedule. Traveler was one of the best-received new series at ABC's "upfront" presentation to advertisers last May, but it didn't get a spot on the fall schedule.

The pilot for Drive didn't film until the summer and was ordered to series in late October, when the genre already had fallen out of favor with most network executives--but not Fox entertainment president Peter Liguori. "We have a lot of faith in Drive," he said in January. "It's bold."

Along the way, Drive got a major tune-up. An elaborate five-minute opening racing scene was scrapped in favor of jumping quickly into the characters' backstories.

"We felt the audience needed to be invested in the characters, so when you put them in the middle of the action, viewers would care for them," Minear says.

To maximize the effect, the plot in the pilot was condensed, and several roles, including the lead, were tweaked and recast.

To launch the show, Fox is taking a page out of its successful 24 playbook with a two-night premiere April 15 and 16.

Unlike 24, because of their short orders--13 episodes for Drive and eight episodes for Traveler--neither series will get to a full resolution by its season finale. But Drive will cut off "at a logical place in the race," Minear says, and Traveler will reveal the identity of Will Traveler.

"We're very conscious about making sure we don't frustrate the audience too much," DiGilio says.

Comments (22)
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Jan 04, 2008
I LOVE TRAVELER!! it's an super show with amazing actors! I say if Drive is Half as good as Traveler it gets 9/10 im my book because Traveler is too good to be true! it should come back for a second season!! BRING BACK TRAVELER
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Jun 05, 2007
Drive is an awesome show! Why was it taken off the air!?
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Apr 22, 2007
Drive is amazing! Im already hooked :]



I dont know about traveler. I probably wont watch it now but if it gets a really good following and people like it this season Ill get the DVD and watch next season.
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Apr 18, 2007
bring back firefly
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Apr 17, 2007
I'm really enjoying Drive. I hope Fox gives it time to gain an audience.
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Apr 17, 2007
Drive is Awesome if traveler is half as good it will be worth watching as well.
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Apr 15, 2007
looking forward to traveler...i play an agent under stephen culp---it was an awesome experience...



watch for me!
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Apr 12, 2007
I give this shows a try to see if the are any good
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Apr 11, 2007
Looking forward to both. Can't wait.
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Apr 11, 2007
I will be watching both, count me in!
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Apr 11, 2007
I might watch some of them
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Apr 11, 2007
cant wait (until there released in Aust)
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Apr 11, 2007
Rmemeber, Traveler WILL be renewed, if the ratings are good. So watch it. Trust me, I HAVE seen the Pilot of Traveler, and it is one of the most phenominal things I have ever seen. It is a non-stop action adventure. Its an edge of your seat thriller. Its one of the best shows I've seen in YEARS!
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Apr 11, 2007
I will watch 2 shows soon. Smile Wink!!!!!!
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Apr 10, 2007
i want to see both shows, and traveler is just taking losts place on wednesdays, so its not a big deal. ugly betty sux okay , ppl watch heroes cauz they like it and i dont like it.
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Apr 10, 2007
I'm sorry but Heroes is not "lighter fare", it's just as dark as the others mentioned. They only difference is that it has superheroes, and many people like superheroes.
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Apr 10, 2007
i saw the traveler pilot last fall and i loved it but i heard they reshot some stuff so i cant wait so see it again
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Apr 10, 2007
I have been waiting for some time for Traveler. I guess I have to wait a little longer. I plan to catch Drive as well.
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Apr 10, 2007
i've been looking forward to Drive for a while now and hope it lives up to my expectations. Traveller looks pretty cool as well
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Apr 10, 2007
These two shows are awsome and everyone should watch them.
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Apr 10, 2007
Yea, I too have not heard of Traveler until now. Drive looks phenominal, though.
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Apr 10, 2007
this is the first I have heard of traveler but sounds cool and I cant wait for drive
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