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May 30, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | May 30, 2007 |

Aside from the whole Kevin Reilly kerfuffle, NBC made one other interesting announcement this week, confirming that it’s putting the kibosh on its “super-sized” shenanigans. As you know, this is the network’s decade-old scheduling gimmick where comedies (usually the Thursday night boys) were “extended” by adding a couple minutes of footage and too many additional commercials. The network’s head of scheduling says that it’s an old trick that has lost its novelty and doesn’t pay dividends anymore. I couldn’t agree more.

Meanwhile, I told you last week about Trump purportedly quitting “The Apprentice,” in what many saw as a preemptive strike to the network officially canceling the series — as you’ll recall, NBC has until Friday to make its mind up (and last night, Trump said that NBC has indicated it does want another season, and then he blathered on about what a great show it is/was). Well, Mark Cuban is trying to take the fight to the Donald here in the eleventh hour. Cuban, of course, did a rip-off version of “The Apprentice” (“The Benefactor”) which was less than a success. But now he’s issued a challenge to Trump on his blog: “We let the audience pick the tasks and our teams and we let Rosie O’Donnell and Melania [Trump’s wife] be in the boardroom and decide who wins or loses. I would do it just to see those two sitting next to each other. What do you say? You up for it?” This is obviously meant as a gag more than anything else, but personally, I am up for it. I love me some stupid-but-entertaining reality TV, and this surely fits that bill.

Turning to a network other than NBC, last week I also bitched about CBS choosing a pilot about vampires (“Moonlight,” about the nightstalking P.I.) over a pilot about zombies (“Babylon Fields,” about freaking zombies!). The first sign that this was a bad decision has already reared its head — Shannon Lucio had been the leading lady of the show, even appearing in some of the upfront clips. However, she’s now been dumped and the studio is looking for a new lead. And if you don’t recognize Lucio’s name, you may remember her from “The O.C.” (she was Kirsten’s half-sister who was schtupping Ryan for a time). But you should remember her from the drop-dead-hi-fucking-larious “Spring Break Shark Attack.” That she’s not involved with “Moonlight” anymore is, of course, great news — this means she’s got plenty of time for “Spring Break Shark Attack II: You Can’t Keep Bad Acting Down.”

Meanwhile, Fox is currently airing its latest reality show, “On the Lot.” Last week, I told a few friends that it was not half-bad, based on the first two episodes. Well you can strike that from the record, because this week it blew. Long and hard and unforgivingly. And I’m not the only one who thinks so, as Monday night’s two-hour episode pulled in an abysmal 2.9 million viewers, putting the network in fifth place for the night (Fox was still ahead of the CW but — get this — it was behind Univision!). Even though we’re talking about summer TV, with ratings this bad, I can’t imagine how Fox is going to let this show run its course. My suggestion to the network? Go rent Old Yeller and follow that flick’s sage advice.

You know I love me the “Weeds.” You love it too. We all love the “Weeds.” And we’re going to have to put some faith in that love and hope the show’s casting agent and creator know the deal, because a guest arc has just been given to … Mary-Kate Olsen (she’s the fat one, I think). Olsen will be playing a serious Christian gal who ends up getting involved with Silas (Nancy’s son). The show’s creator, Jenji Kohan, says that “audiences have seen only one side of Mary-Kate but here, we’ll see her in a whole new light.” Again, it’s all about faith on this one. Don’t let us down Kohan!

And lastly, Comedy Central has announced its slate of new shows for the upcoming season. On the Good News front, the network picked up two Black-related shows I’ve told you about before — “Michael Ian Black Doesn’t Understand” (a show that sounds bland in premise — Black will look at “hot button” issues each week — but has some promise if Black is on top of his game) and “Root of All Evil” (a show hosted by Lewis Black, where pop culture is put on trial). On the Whatever News front, it’s picked up “Held Up” (about bank employees who are involved in a stick-up and develop the hilarious Stockholm Syndrome) and “Night Writer” (a show from a “SNL” writer, focusing on him writing skits in real time). And on the Awful Fucking News front, Comedy Central picked up an animated show featuring … sigh … Larry the (fuckfuckmotherfuck) Cable Guy. And his character will be, shockingly, the head of a cable station. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the character’s name will be Larry.


Sorry to leave you with news about Larry the Cable Guy but, hey, we can’t always go out on a high note. However, be sure to check back this afternoon, as I’ll complete my publishing trifecta for the day with a review of ABC’s “Traveler.”

(A friendly summer programming note for those looking for mindless entertainment — MTV starts airing “Reunited: The Real World Vegas” tonight, and “Pirate Master” starts on CBS tomorrow night.)


Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. He’s gittin-r-done as he types these words.


The Trade Round-Up, Part II / The TV Whore
May 30, 2007

Industry | May 30, 2007 |

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

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