This weekend I had the pleasure of being part of a focus group. It was an interesting experience – definitely worth doing once. The event was billed as a test screening for TV pilots, but they ended up asking more questions about supermarket foods, skin rashes, and side-by-side refrigerators than the actual shows. As for the shows, the first was a drama called “Soul Mates”, about people who meet their soul mates – there were a bunch of flash-backs from their previous lives – essentially a big pile of melodramatic crap. No one in the audience liked it. The other was the pilot episode of “City” from 1990, and they wanted to know if we would want to see Valerie Harper in a sitcom today. She and the show was more or less amusing, but did nothing to distinguish themselves from any other workplace situational comedy. I also think that there was someone planted in the audience to laugh, hoping to get others to join in with him. Interestingly, there’s a IMDB user review from 1999 saying that “City” was being re-tested then. I’m wondering if their reason for showing it – seeing if people like Harper – was B.S., and that they’re simply using the show as a method to test TV commercials (they edited commercials into the pilots and at the very end had questions about the products in them).