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May 21, 2008 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | May 21, 2008 |

OK, we’re leading off with a positive, happy TV story for once — I don’t get pumped for new reality crap too often, but ABC’s got a potentially great summer show up its sleeve. Slated for a June 24 premiere, “I Survived a Japanese Game Show” follows 10 Americans as they travel to Japan and compete in some of that country’s game shows. I dunno if you know about the glory of Japanese game shows, but they practically defy words. YouTube is littered with videos, and you could easily waste hours watching these things. The ABC press release mentions three specific shows the contestants will appear on, and just look at their names: “Why is This Food So Hard to Eat?,” “Crazy Crane Finds Fluffy Bear” and “Chicken Butt Scramble.” Chicken. Butt. Scramble. And here’s the description of that last one: “The contestants create their own version of Japanese scrambled eggs as they attempt to smash goo-filled oversized eggs with only their butts while wearing chicken suits.” I mean, this ABC Show is probably going to be the best thing to happen all summer, right?

And now we’ll turn to the bad news. At least, this is bad news to me. There are rumors that there could be up to three more “Battlestar Galactica” TV movies, à la last fall’s “Razor.” Since this is just a rumor at this point, it’s unclear as to how the movies would work, although common speculation is that they’ll most likely be rush jobs to air this fall and tide folks over between the two halves of the final season. And if this happens, we can expect them all to be filler/prequel-type movies, since the final season has already been written, presumably not leaving any necessary plot threads to cover. They’ll also likely serve, at least in part, as tie-ins for the upcoming prequel “Caprica” show. These movies may not happen, of course, and I hope the rumor and speculation turns out to be false. While “Razor” wasn’t bad, per se, it was relatively disappointing and mostly unnecessary, and I just don’t need more “meh” movies diverting and diluting my wonderful “BSG.”

As you may recall, last week we got official word of what we knew for a while, that “Scrubs” was moving from NBC to ABC for an 18-episode “adios” run. Now that things are official-like, head honcho Bill Lawrence has spoken out a little to express his anger and disappointment with NBC and the treatment he got there: “Total harsh buzz of not giving a shit about a show that had been on the network for seven years and made them millions of dollars.” He had some other things to say too, but the long and the short of it is, he feels like he’s in a better place now with ABC. He also says that the show is going to try to return to the character comedy of the first couple of seasons, with less emphasis on the broader, fantastical comedy. Which sounds great, and gives me hope that the show might be able to go out on a true high note, rather than continuing its relatively steady decline. …Except it may not be going out. In another recent interview, Lawrence says that the show could carry on, though this would likely be the last season for him and Zach Braff. Which may explain the addition of three new cast members.

So HBO has jumped onto the Americanization train that everyone’s riding these days, signing Kelly Preston to “Suburban Shootout.” Based on a British black comedy of the same name, it’s about a woman who escapes city life by moving into a little suburb, only to find out that there’s a major gang war going on between two gangs of housewives (Preston is slated to play the leader of one of the gangs). I have to admit that I find the idea mildly intriguing, sorta a West Side Stepford kinda thing, although I’m more inclined to try to dig up the original than to wait for the HBO version — folks from across the pond, what’s the word on this show?

So, uhm, here’s a video for you. The opening riff? Fantastic. Almost gets me in that special spot. But things go downhill from there….

“If you wanna live in the zip, you gotta live by the code.” Yeah, this sucker is gonna buh-low.

TNT has several new shows in the works as it tries to further spread its original programming wings. There’s “Morse Code,” being produced by Donnie Wahlberg (and he is likely to star in it as well), which is about a war hero returning to Boston and taking a job with the DEA. While I’m not so intrigued by the concept, I have to admit to really enjoying Donnie, so I would probably check this out if it makes it to air. TNT also has “Delta Blues,” being produced by George Clooney (he’s very much not likely to star), which is about an Elvis impersonator who’s also a cop in Memphis. I’ll almost definitely skip this one. And then “24” co-creator Joel Surnow is working on an untitled show about an ATF agent, while a writer from “Malcom in the Middle” and “Aliens in America” is working on a family drama.

Nearby on the cable dial, TBS is also working on some new stuff. I would definitely check out the single-camera comedy being written by, and which will star, William H. Macy. But I’ll pass on a sketch comedy show produced by Jerry Zucker, as he’s long removed from being funny or relevant. And as for the late night show “Top Ten,” which comes from a co-creator of “The Daily Show” and will have comedians compete against each other, we’ll just have to wait and see. Could be good, could be turd.

Excuse me for a second….

Polly Walker has been added to “Caprica!”

Hot diggity!

Lastly, I led off with a story about Japanese game shows. And in Monday’s breakdown of the Fox schedule, I mentioned a midseason show called “Hole in the Wall” (which Fox has since given a 13-episode order to). I asked you trust me when I tell you it’s awesome. And that’s because, it is awesome. Stupid as all get out, but awesome stupid. You may have heard of the Japanese game show this is based on and/or seen the YouTube videos — it’s basically human Tetris. Here are two clips of the Japanese show, and after you finish watching these (which, as stupid as they are, you will watch all the way through), tell me you won’t tune in to “Hole in the Wall.” Also, I suddenly find that I have a new quest in life — they announced upcoming casting calls in LA, NYC and Atlanta, and I so want an Eloquent on that show. No good reason other than just because it would be awesome. So if you’re in one of those three areas, please do TV Whore a favor and go audition, won’t you? (Casting call info below the videos.)

You’re so gonna watch “Hole in the Wall,” right? Yeah, me too.

And what the hell, here’s one more Human Tetris video just because:

(Casting call info for “Hole in the Wall:” (i) Los Angeles on June 1, from 11 am to 6 pm, at Dave & Buster’s in Irvine; (ii) New York City on June 14, from 9 am to 4 pm, at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square; and (iii) Atlanta on June 14, from 10 am to 5 pm, at Dave & Buster’s the Marriott Atlanta Perimeter Center. You can apparently get more info at

Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television editor. He so has the “Beverly Hills 90210” theme stuck in his head right now.

Chicken Butt Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / The TV Whore
May 21, 2008

Industry | May 21, 2008 |

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

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