Ask (August 4, 2009)

Question: I remember a while back you guys mentioning a TV show called Hackett with a "sexy 20′s lesbian." What’s the deal with that show?


Answer: Wow, your memory of AE content is better than mine!

Back in February 2007, in our Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. column, we reported on Hackett:

"There’s a recurring lesbian character in Hackett, a half-hour, single camera comedy in the works for Fox about a bad-boy literary luminary who escapes his troubles with women and a disgraced career teaching at Yale to become a public high school teacher in Ohio. One of his fellow teachers is a woman named Tam, who is described in the casting call as a "sexy 20′s lesbian" whose lover has left her."

The show starred Donal Logue (in the title role) Rachel Boston, and Morgan Murphy, and was directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (who went on to Executive Produce Pushing Daisies). The character "Tam" is not listed in the credits, so there’s no telling who would have played that role, or if it was ever developed at all.

Alas, Hackett was one of many pilots that failed to make the cut. In fact, according to Variety, the survival rate of the television pilot is not good, "Each year, the nets order about 20 pilots a piece (about evenly split, half comedy, half drama), which are then cast and filmed for consideration for the fall skeds. But only about half a dozen pilots are picked up to become the premiere episodes. The other pilots are never heard from again and are rarely ever seen beyond network boardrooms."

Of course, the internet has changed the game a bit, and many pilots have risen from the network bone yard and found new life online. If you need proof, check out Nancylee Myatt‘s pilot for the lesbian police drama Nikki & Nora (starring Christina Cox and Liz Vassey) which has a huge online fanbase and is being revisited/satirized by Myatt herself in Ladycops.Yes, I know, it’s totally meta.

Question: The Ghostella videos on AE were really funny. What else is Stacie Ponder working on?

― Lacey, Atlanta

Answer: I had the pleasure of working on a few of the Ghostella films and can tell you that they were just as much fun to make as they are to watch. So I was happy to pass along your question to Stacie because she’s very excited about her latest endeavor. This was her response:

Currently I’m working on a little project I call “a bowl of cereal” and if I may boast, it’s going rather well.

Really, though, I’ve been keeping quite busy gettin’ my horror on since the season finale of Ghostella’s Haunted Tomb. A while back I directed a lengthy trailer for a fake horror movie called Deadly Dress 4: Never A Bride. It’s features Ghostella alums Lena Headey, Bridget McManus, Heidi Martinuzzi, and some broad named Karman.

Lately I’ve been teaming up with my fellow filmmaker/Fangoria Spooksmodel Shannon Lark to make some serious horror films, quite different than the goofy Ghostella-style stuff.

Our first effort, Ludlow, is about a woman slipping in and out of consciousness and reality while she’s holed up in a motel room, on the run from her abusive ex-boyfriend. It was meant to be a short but turned out to be over an hour long; right now we’re raising money in order to shoot enough additional footage to make it my first feature film. My first feature, yay!

Teaser trailer for Ludlow

We’re set to resume shooting mid-August; if folks donate ten bucks, they’ll get their name in the credits of the movie. All money raised will go to fund Ludlow and the many projects Shannon and I have lined up to work on together. I’m incredibly excited about it, and I’ve been boring the world with all the details over at my website, Final Girl, for months now.

If anyone’s into reading as well as watching, I can be found in the pages of Rue Morgue Magazine and on the web at AMC TV’s Horror Hacker blog and, of course, my beloved Final Girl.

Well, I can’t be found there literally, but…you know…stuff I’ve written can. Now if you’ll excuse me, my Mini-Wheats are getting soggy.

I attended the screening of the "short" version of Ludlow, and it was stunning. So if you can spare the change, I highly encourage you to make a contribution to Ponder’s feature-length fund. Everyone is always talking about the high price of fame. Who knew it could only cost $10?

A special thanks goes out to AE reader TruMischief for her invaluable research assistance with the Ask column.

A new edition of Ask is published every other Tuesday or so. Have a question for us? Email it to For more entertainment news, read previous editions of Ask, and check out’s weekly entertainment Q&A column, Ask The Flying Monkey.

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