Castle ‘Heats’ up ABC


It’s pyro week on Arts & Media, so bare with me. Today’s entry kicks off with the Season Three premiere of ABC’s series “Castle,” and the release of the first chapter of their related book “Heat Rises.”

At the risk of sounding horribly cliche its a tale of life imitating art imitating art, etc. ABC is pulling out all the stops in favor of their crime dramedy starring actor Nathan Fillion in the lead role of the writer Richard Castle.

Its a case study in cross-media collaboration, and it seems to be going well for the network broadcasting company. The debut season landed the cast ranked #35 with a Nielsen rating of 3.6  following Fox’s similarly themed show “Bones” at #32 and the precursory “Castle” time slot, “Dancing with the Stars,” at #3.

The show follows Castle and his cohorts at the New York City Police Department, most notably detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), as they take a bite out of The Big Apple’s crime, McGruff the Crime Dog style. The character draws from his ‘real-life’ experiences with the squad as giant chess game against crooks, casting himself in the sidekick role of crime beat reporter Jameson Rook hot on the trail of Detective Nikki Heat (Beckett).

ABC continues to up the mass media ante by releasing Castle’s work as real world novels from Hyperion, complete with an author biography and a press photo of Fillion. The book debuted on “The New York Times” Bestseller List at #26 on October 18, 2009, and cutting into the top 10 four weeks later. “Heat Wave” was bested by James Patteron’s “Alex Cross: Trial.” Patterson makes a regular cameo on the show as one of Castle’s poker friends. Conveniently, Hyperion and ABC are both owned by the media giant Disney. Those un-inclined to buy the book can read it chapter by chapter online at abc.com (see below link). Not a bad stab at multimedia convergence.

As with all books with decent plots Hollywood has to in on the act and in 2010 ABC announced that Castle’s novel “Heat Wave” will be made a movie. Fittingly the news came from the Comic-Con event. We can only assume it will be produced by longtime Disney ally Jerry Bruckheimer (most recently of “Pirates of the Carribean” fame).

To compound this complex cinema creation Castle and Beckett visit the set and meet the actors ‘portraying’ Beckett’s colleagues Esposito and Ryan, but only after the actress starring as Nikki Heat visits the precinct (Laura Prepon, ‘Donna’ of “That 70s Show”).

In case you are now horribly confused this will make it worse. You can follow the real actor @NathanFillion or his fictitious character @WriteRCastle on Twitter. The “Castle” season finale airs tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central Standard Time.

ABC.com – Castle – Heat Rises.

Recap: Actor Nathan Fillion plays the lead character, writer Richard Castle, on the TV show of the same name. Castle’s novels feature Detective Nikki Heat, modeled after muse Kate Beckett. The books have been released in real life on the web and in print with a movie adaption soon to follow and complete with Twitter feeds from Fillion as Castle.

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