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February 20, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | February 20, 2007 |

So I woke up this morning with an email from Pajiba’s very own Dustin. Subject line: “Yikes.” Message: “Take a look at this link because you might want to add it to your morning roundup.” And yikes indeed — there’s now a nice little Hollywood rumor, being propagated by the Wall Street Journal, no less, that ABC and its Papa Bear Walt Disney want to make a “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off about the ex-Dr. McDreamy, Addison. Word is that there will be a two-hour pilot airing in May. As I said, yikes indeed. I mean, I like Addison as a supporting character on the show and all that, but I kind of thought we were past the age of the spin-off, no? And I think Dustin gave the appropriate summation of this news: “I’d prefer a spin-off that takes place in heaven, with Denny and Kyle Chandler.” You and me both, buddy. You and me both.

Anyway, two weeks ago I told you about the upcoming battle between Paul Haggis and Aaron Sorkin, as Haggis’ “The Black Donnellys” was set to take over “Studio 60“‘s time slot. Well, NBC has decided to start the battle a week early — as I’m sure you’ve heard by now (NBC is promo-ing the hell out of it) that “The Black Donnellys” will start next Monday, February 26, instead of the following week. It was nice knowing you, Sorkin — looking forward to your next go-‘round. In the meantime, check back next Monday morning when I should have a review of the “Donnellys” for you (and if you know of Pajiba’s love for all things Haggis, you can probably guess the overall tenor of said review).

While “Studio 60” seems to now be a dead duck, some other shows have been blessed with the almighty renewal. Comedy Central renewed “The Sarah Silverman Program” after just two episodes (yes, three have aired now, but this news came early last week), ordering up 14 new episodes. The first half of the new order is slated to air this fall and if Silverman can keep up the funny, as I discussed earlier this week, I’m all for more of the show. FX, meanwhile, has picked up “Nip/Tuck” for three more seasons, including a full-blown 22-episode season five. Not sure how I feel about this extended pickup. While the show slumped in its third season, the fourth season was a marked improvement (though still not as good as the first two). I have to say I’m not a fan of the decision to transplant the doctors to L.A., and I’m worried about what will happen when creator Ryan Murphy tries to drag things out for a full 22 episodes. But I guess I’ll put my pessimism aside for the moment and hope that good things come of all this. If not, with three seasons to go, it could be a long, slow, painful death for what was once a solidly entertaining show.

And now, back to Pilot Watch 2007 — we’ve got a lot to cover here, as the pilots are coming fast and furious now. Last week I talked about how some of the pilots were making it look like 1993. Well, now we can back things up to 1985, thanks to this one-two punch. A&E is working on a reality show featuring Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil that, according to Vince himself, will follow what happens with the Neil family after his folks move in with him. Meanwhile, VH1 is putting together “Rock of Love,” a reality show in the vein of “Flavor of Love,” which will follow diabetic Poison singer Bret Michaels. As the press release explains with these wonderful quotes, Brett will “take this series to all new heights of rock-n-roll insanity” as the “hard-rocking Poison frontman” (who is also “VH1’s hottest eligible bachelor”) looks for a lady “who can truly keep up with his rock-n-roll lifestyle and not become jealous of his one true passion.” Now, back in the day, I loved me some Crüe and Poison more than most (in fact, your own TV Whore spent some time in a mock-glam band, and if you’re really lucky, one of these days I’ll give you an amusing link to check out). But I can’t think of anything you could offer me to make me even consider watching either of these steaming turds.

ABC has apparently decided that 1985 is a just a touch too retro, however, so they’re sticking with 1987 instead. Or so I gather, based on their decision to cast Matt Lanter (a young actor most recognizable from a stint on “Heroes”) in “Judy’s Got a Gun.” The idea behind this show? It’s about an undercover cop who poses as a high school student. Which was pretty much done to perfection in 1987’s Hiding Out, as far as I’m concerned. Oh, how I miss ’80s Jon Cryer.

NBC and Fox, meanwhile, are both looking at some alien-based pilots. NBC has signed Matthew Lillard to “Area 52,” a comedy about a super-secret military base keeping a watch over captured aliens. And Fox has signed Rachel Nichols (you might remember her from the last season of “Alias”) as the lead in “Them,” which is about the Jet Propulsion Lab and an alien sleeper cell. Of the two, I’m initially more inclined to be excited for “Them,” largely because I loathe Matthew Lillard and have a bit of a crush on Nichols (and if her character is an employee at Jet Propulsion Lab, that means there’s a good chance she’s playing a physicist, which means she’d be the hottest physicist ever — and as a former physicist, I truly know of whence I speak). However, “Them” is coming to us from Jonathan Mostow, who’s responsible for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. So I think I’ll put that excitement on hold for now.

Three more pilots worth mentioning. First, “Suspect” isn’t the only pilot to be directed by a movie guy, as the pilot for the CW’s “The Reaper” is slated for direction by Kevin Smith. The show is about a 21-year-old kid who finds out his soul was sold to the devil, and who must now start hunting down souls for the Dark One. Frankly, I love the idea, but I’m not really sure this is the type of thing Smith can handle so well; plus, it’s the CW, which has a less-than-stellar track record. So I’m not really holding my breath here. Ditto that for the Fox comedy, “The Return of Jezebel James,” which comes to us from “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. It’s about a kiddie book writer who is single again and asks her younger sister to carry a baby for her. Which sounds kind of the opposite of hilarious. The only interesting thing about this show, in fact, is that Parker Posey has been cast as the lead, and it’s the first time she’s ever signed on to a pilot. And then there’s Jimmy Smits, who’s got his hands in two pilots. First, there’s CBS’ “Los Duques,” which he’s set to exec-produce and star in. This is probably the pilot I’m most excited for out of the ones mentioned today, both because it’s something entirely new and it actually sounds like it has some potential — the show will focus on the Duques family, a Latin American family involved in the rum business in South Florida, and Smits will play a family outsider who takes over control of the business. Meanwhile, Smits is also producing a pilot for FX (which I don’t believe he’s slated to be in) called “The Inside,” which will focus on a former special ops agent who ends up going undercover in a drug cartel. Another interesting idea, particularly since I’m a sucker for that kind of story, and especially because FX has shown that it’s capable of making good grit-drama.

And I’ll leave you with this — if you watched last week’s “Scrubs,” you may already know this, but it is totally The Todd Time right now.


Seth Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. Although there was a time he was known as Mr. Bitch.

He's the One They Call Pajiba Feelgood

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Seth Freilich

Industry | February 20, 2007 |

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

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