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April 18, 2007 |

By Seth Freilich | Industry | April 18, 2007 |

Magnum motherfucking P.I. is coming back to TV … kinda sorta. Unfortunately, it’s just Tom Selleck making his return to regular series work, and not a much-desired (at least by me) “Magnum P.I.” reunion show. In any event, Selleck is joining NBC’s “Las Vegas,” where he’ll fill the void being left by the departing James Caan. No word on who will fill the void of the also-departing Nikki Cox, but I’ve got … nah, the breast jokes are all too obvious. Fill in your own.

Brace yourself for this next bit — Fox has actually made the tasteful choice for once. Tonight’s scheduled new episode of “Bones” has been yanked for a rerun because the new episode has something to do with human remains found on a college campus, which is certainly unfortunate timing in light of Monday’s horrible Virginia Tech tragedy. So Fox decided to avoid any criticism and just yank the show for a presumed later air date. And just to clarify — please note that this is the Fox entertainment channel, not Fox News. We all know Fox News never takes the high road. (I may pass up the chance for a breast joke, but I’ll never pass up the chance for a Fox News dig!)

I’m a big fan of Keith Olbermann, except for the fact that he has a tendency to ride his high horse a little too much for my tastes. So I’m happy to see him continue the trend of returning to his sports roots by joining NBC’s “Football Night in America,” the studio show that surrounds NBC’s big Sunday Night Football. The only thing I’m wondering about here is that this means there are now five “analysts” for the show (Keith will be joining Bob Costas, Chris Collinsworth, Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber), which sure seems a bit much to me. But if Tiki and (especially) Jerome keep it down a little, the other three might get into some really interesting and entertaining discussion and analysis. Except, we all know that isn’t likely to happen and it’ll just be more crappy pre-game studio garbage, right?

Something that is not garbage, however, is “Top Chef.” (See what I did there with that transition? That’s why I’m a professional!) Anyway, “Top Chef” may be my favorite reality show at the moment, so I’m tickled that the third season will be airing this summer (although Bravo hasn’t said when, exactly). And while the Season 1 host was fired before Season 2, that trend has not been repeated, so all you Padma Lakshmi haters out there can continue your hating. Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons have also been kept on as judges, although “Queer Eye’s” Ted Allen has been added as an addition judge (which is fine by me, as I’ve actually enjoyed his prior appearances on the show).

Speaking of returning shows, Showtime has announced that both “This American Life” and “The Tudors” will be getting sophomore seasons. I’m tickled pink about “This American Life,” which will have another six episode season airing sometime next year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s a beautiful little show and if you have Showtime, you really should be watching. As for the second season order of “The Tudors” (which was a move that was all but presumed when the initial ratings didn’t tank), whatever — I don’t care for the show, but I figure some of you out there might be fans, so good news for you, I guess. And while we’re talking about Showtime, it’s worth mentioning that the network has ordered up at least five episodes of a new sketch show, “State of the Union.” The show will feature Tracy Ullman who will, as one would expect, be playing a variety of roles in various satirical skits. Should be interesting to see if she’s still got it.

I may need your help, dear readers. You know that Burger King commercial with the guy in the tub who tells his wife he’s “Spongebob Nopants?” I can’t help it, but it continues to make me giggle almost every time I see it. Seriously, that can’t be good for me. I haven’t enjoyed a commercial this much in a long time. Help me, please.

And I’m willing to turn to you, the readers, for help because sometimes I just love y’all so much. For example, the comment section to my recent “Drive” review has started to turn into a discussion of car porn, and feminists’ love of guys with guns and car porn, which amuses me to no end (and for the record, in the Impala vs. Dodge debate, I’m personally all about the Dodge and its testicle shaking roar). In any event, now that the early numbers are in, every sign points to this show joining creator Tim Minear’s collection of short-lived shows. The Sunday numbers were not good, but more importantly, its Monday numbers (in its regular timeslot) really stunk. It was surely expected to fall behind both “Dancing with the Stars” and “Deal or No Deal,” but you gotta figure Fox was hoping that it wouldn’t also get whooped by the CBS comedies “How I Met Your Mother” (which was a rerun) and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” So feel free to start placing your bets on when Fox decides to cut and run.

Speaking of cutting and running, the internet rumors are flying about two on-the-bubble shows and whether they may return next fall. First, rumors are floating that CBS’ ratings-challenged “Jericho” will, in fact, be getting a second season. I’m still watching the show, but with only the vaguest of interest, and I really wouldn’t cry if CBS did decide to cancel it. But if the other internet rumor is true, I will cry. Tears will be shed. Garments will be rendered. There are only two bubble shows that I desperately want to come back. One is “Friday Night Lights.” That’s not what this rumor is about. Instead, it’s … I’m having trouble even typing the words.

Deep breath.

OK, the rumors are flying that my girlfriend “Veronica Mars” is d-diddly-dead. All the rumors seem to trace back to the same source, a USA Today critic who said that another writer said that the show is dead, and according to the USA Today critic this writer is “almost always right about these things.” That’s a pretty unsubstantiated rumor, if you ask me. That being said, I’m actually becoming more and more convinced that my girl is done for, regardless of rumors, and I’m trying to steel myself to this eventuality. The only thing the show really has in its corner (since we all know fan support without matching ratings is generally worthless) is critical support. But with the format changes and the huge gaps of time between the airing of new episodes, the vocality of that support has died down. Let’s just be ready for it, that’s what I’m saying.

And now, some quick updates on Pilot Watch 2007. First of all, CBS — I hate you. I mean, I really hate you. The cause of my hate is the impending “Pop Dynasty.” This filth is an “American Idol” type show, only they’ll be looking for a whole family act instead of a solo act. And the judges on tap are Jermaine, Tito and LaToya Jackson. Seriously, CBS, I hate you. The only good thing about this show is that, because Jermaine Jackson is involved, it gives me a reason to yet again mention my favorite idiotic celebrity kid name of all time — Jermajesty. I mean, “Jermajesty Jackson” is just brilliant.

Staying with CBS, it seems the network has a cushy little relationship with Jay Mohr. Unbeknownst to me, he’s had a recurring role on “Ghost Whisperer” this season (and here I thought the ones with a recurring role on that show were Jennifer Love’s Hewitts … bah-dum-dum!). In any event, he’s also got a holding deal with the network, and CBS has now attached him to an untitled comedy pilot. I’ve actually told you about this show before — from the “Will & Grace” creators (one of whom is straight and one of whom is gay), it’s about writing partners, one of whom is straight and one of whom is gay. Mohr will be playing the straight writer, a guy who loves sports (get out of here!), while the gay writer will be played by … Brian Austin Green! If this show gets picked up, Mohr may set a new “short-lived TV show” record for himself, which currently sits at however many episodes the very underappreciated “Action” ran for (about 13, I think). But whatever happens, Mohr will bounce back just fine — in fact, if “Ghost Whisper” gets picked up for a third season and his comedy pilot isn’t picked up, CBS will be making him a regular with the Breasts. So it’s really a win-win for him. Except that, in either event, he’s on a terrible show. But you get what I mean.

And actually, it looks like today’s Pilot Watch is all about CBS, as my last bit is about a new game show pilot the network has picked up - “Who Do You Trust?” The show is purportedly based on the old “prisoner’s dilemma,” a game theory experiment where two players can choose to either cooperate with or betray each other. The game show would pit strangers against each other, with each having various options to cooperate or betray the other for different types of rewards and punishments (and it may involve them placing bets on what the other will do, as well). While this actually sounds half-decent, CBS has already ruined it by signing bow-tie wearing Tucker Carlson as the host. Politics aside, Carlson just annoys the hell out of me, and this puts a big kink in my ability to sit through this show, should the pilot get picked up.

So just to recap, next fall, I may not be able to see the wonderful Kristen Bell on my TV, but the trade-off is that I may instead have Bow Tie? You know, with them making a sitcom out of that damn Geico caveman commercial, how about a sitcom out of the BK “Spongebob Nopants” guy? I think I’d rather see that than Tucker Carlson!

Seth “the Orangutan” Freilich is Pajiba’s television columnist. He apologizes for the lame Jennifer Love Hewitt breast joke — but he had already passed up a breast joke when mentioning Nikki Cox, and it’s just not in him to pass up two opportunities for breast jokes. He is, after all, a damned dirty ape.

SpongeBob No-Pajiba

The Daily Trade Round-Up / Seth Freilich

Industry | April 18, 2007 |

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

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