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June 25, 2008 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | June 25, 2008 |

The Greatest American Hero will be joining “Heroes” this fall as William Katt has filmed a guest spot for the show’s fall return. He says he plays a “really, really wonderful, seedy, smarmy-mouthed reporter … it was a lot of fun.” Sadly, his character has neither powers nor a dope spandex red suit, which means we won’t get to see Katt fly into any walls. Which is a bummer, to be sure, but I dig this guest casting anyways, especially because any story that gets me thinking about “The Greatest American Hero” just makes me happy.

But that happiness is gone, just like that, and I die a little inside when I read a story suggesting that Wilmer Valderrama’s new Fox pilot is akin to the wonderful (and just reviewed here on Pajiba) The Jerk. “The Emancipation of Ernesto” is apparently a one-hour comedy about an innocent young man (who was raised in a Mexican prison and used to work in a Twinkie factory — that’s funny, don’t you know?!) looking for both his father and his long-lost love in the great big, confusing city of Los Angeles. The show is written by Emily Kapnek, responsible for foisting the one-episode disaster that was “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” upon us. And as with her last show, I can give Kapnek many fucking reasons why not. In fact, the only reason I’m even telling you guys about this show is because my blisfully wonderful moratorium on procedural/lawyer/doctor shows (and “Crash”) leaves me otherwise a bit thin on the TV news.

All that being said, I am rather excited about “The End of Steve,” a pilot that Showtime has just ordered up. Peter Tolan (“Rescue Me”) and Matthew Perry are producing and writing the dark comedy, which will feature Perry as a talk show host who is trying to redeem himself. In the comments to last week’s roundup, there was some discussion about the relative merits of Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” As I’ve said in this space before, I didn’t love the show, but I didn’t hate it, either. And regardless of my feelings as the failed series as a whole, I will say this — between “Studio 60” and some “West Wing” guest spots, Perry showed that with some good dialogue, he was capable of doing a bit more than the “could you be any more like Chandler” stuff. So the idea of him playing a dark and funny role is very exciting to me, as long as the writing is there.

Meanwhile, the fourth season of “Weeds” has started its run off to a fine start, and it looks like Showtime may just score some more of the green. Creator Jenji Kohan has said that she’s thinking about a spin-off starring Conrad (Romany Malco). Conrad was my much-loved by most fans on “Weeds” so I’m sure there are quite a few folks who would happily follow him over to his own show, which Kohan says would feature his involvement with a pot club and might be shot in “fake reality-show style,” like “The Hills.” Not sure I love the early idea, but I certainly do love a show that could potentially give Malco a place to shine and that, for myself, is purpose enough in life.

Over at HBO, meanwhile, there’s also a new pilot brewing which could be halfway decent. Co-created and exec-produced by Jim Carrey, the untitled comedy will star Lisa Lampanelli as a woman who unexpectedly inherits an LA comedy club. Lampanelli’s character is being described as akin to Mitzi Shore, Pauly Shore’s mother and the famous owner of the Comedy Store (where many comedians like Carrey got their start), as she’ll play a maternal role to the dysfunctional comedians playing the club. This could be a good fit for Lampanelli, who can be hilariously funny and particularly filthy, which suits the world of stand-up comedy. As long as she doesn’t hit us with a “black guys like to fuck me in the ass” joke every two minutes. We get it Lisa — your big and thus, you’ve got a fat ass, and black guys love big booty. Comedy!

Speaking of HBO, a big fat fucking good on them. As you no doubt heard, George Carlin is dead (as the always wonderful critic Alan Sepinwall noted in a column earlier this week, Carlin would want us to simply say he’s dead, not that he “passed on” or some other fucked euphemism). Anyway, to honor his passing, HBO is going to run most of Carlin’s HBO comedy specials over the next few nights. Tonight, from 8 p.m. through 2 a.m., HBO2 will air five of Carlin’s shows from ‘77 through ‘86. They’ll air another 6 tomorrow night, from ‘88 through the recently filmed “It’s Bad for Ya,” and then the mothership HBO will re-air “It’s Bad For Ya” on Friday night. Great way to celebrate a comedy legend and I particularly recommend 1992’s “Jammin’ in New York” (on HBO2 this Friday around 10 p.m.), just because it’s my favorite Carlin act (which isn’t simply because I saw him do it live).

Over at Fox, meanwhile, there’s a new pilot in the works as a possible mid-season show. “Inseparable” comes from Shaun Cassidy, responsible for the short-lived but surprisingly decent “Invasion,” and will star Lloyd Owen, who you may remember from the lone episode of “Viva Laughlin” that aired last year. Owen will play a forensic psychiatrist who has an alter ego in what amounts to a modern day Jekyll-and-Hyde story. An idea I’d be intrigued with if it weren’t for the fact that NBC is already kinda airing its own such show this fall (Christian Slater’s “My Own Worst Enemy,” which Alfre Woodard has just joined) and that a very solid modern day Jekyll-and-Hyde story already aired on the other side of the pond last year (England’s “Jekyll,” featuring a fantastically fun performance by James Nesbitt).

I’m done with this weeks’ round-up frankly, but I kinda have to give you this video, don’t I?

And if we’re doing that, we’ve gotta do this one too:

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He feel for the Greatest American Hero because, even with all the instructions, he would totally keep flying right smack dab into that wall.”

Believe it or Not ... It's Just Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
June 25, 2008

Industry | June 25, 2008 |

Seth is a Senior Editor and sometime critic. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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