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January 6, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | January 6, 2007 |

Pilot Watch 2007 continues to march forward, and things are still looking pretty ugly. NBC is giving us another … damn … cop drama, this once creatively called “Protect and Serve” and starring Eric Balfour (currently playing a techie on “24”). I can’t tell you how excited I am about another cop show. But if you’re not as excited, and prefer a little more estrogen and a little less testosterone, well NBC’s got you covered too. The network has also ordered up “Lipstick Jungle,” a drama based on a Candace Bushnell book about strong NYC women who are juggling professional and family lives. Brooke Shields is signed to play one of the strong NYC women, a movie studio president, and while she had a good stint on the last season of “Nip/Tuck,” it’ll be hard for me to ever forgive her for “Suddenly Susan.” I’m about as unexcited for this show as I am for “Protect and Serve.” In fact, the only good-sounding pilot to get a recent mention is CBS’s “Swingtown,” a show that’ll focus on 70’s-era suburban couples who have open marriages and engage in a bit of the ol’ partner-swapping. Jack Davenport (“Coupling” and Pirates of the Caribbean) and Grant Show (“Melrose Place”) will be two of the husbands in the show, and while I have no idea if it’ll be worth a damn, I’m just happy to hear about a pilot that’s actually going after fairly fresh (at least for network television) material. Before leaving Pilot Watch, it’s worth mentioning that ABC has found the leads for its “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” a show I’ve mentioned before. Mr. Smith will be played by Martin Henderson — I dunno who he is, but I guess he’s in Smokin’ Aces right now. Mrs. Smith, meanwhile, is going to be played (to the infinite joy of my brutish male fantasies) by Jordana Brewster, who’s never delivered a terribly great performance, but who does deliver exquisite eye candy.

Now, turning away from the Pilot Watch to take a look at the current season, NBC has announced that both of its SNL-type shows, “Studio 60” and “30 Rock,” will be going bye-bye for a bit. Starting on March 15, “Andy Barker, P.I.” will take over the “30 Rock” Thursday night slot. “Barker” stars Andy Richter as a CPA who starts doing P.I. work after a mistaken-identity incident. Not sure if it’ll be any good but, frankly, Richter has earned “give it a shot” status after his wonderful and prematurely yanked “Andy Richter Controls the Universe.” While NBC has made it clear that “30 Rock” will return on April 19, when “Barker’s” slate of episodes has made its run, the network has been a bit more vague about “Studio 60,” which will be giving up its home as of March 5 to the new drama “The Black Donnellys.” This is a NYC-based crime drama that follows four Irish brothers, and while I haven’t taken a poll, I would wager that most of the Pajiba staff would rather stab their eyes out than watch “Donnellys.” I base this on the fact that “Donnellys” is being brought to us by Paul Haggis and his Crash partner Bobby Moresco. NBC has made assurances that “Studio 60” will return, but the network has failed to give any firm return date, instead hitting us with “to be determined.” Which means we can officially start Sorkin Deathwatch ‘07. And while “Studio 60” has been a rather massive disappointment, I’m guessing I’d still rather watch it fail than see whatever Haggis and company are going to throw at us. Although it does seem fitting, in this day and age, for a Sorkin drama to be done in by a Haggis drama — the ultimate triumph of the lowest common denominator over an attempt to strive for something greater.

Not convinced? Well, take a peek at this two-and-a-half minute montage, which makes it appear as though “The Black Donnellys” is a cross between Mystic River, The Departed, and an episode of “Growing Pains.”


Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist.

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Industry | January 6, 2007 |

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

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