Thursday, August 28, 2008

Radio Recap, August 27, 2008

It's time for a RADIO RECAP
"Must Hear TV" on "The Frank DeCaro Show" on Sirius OutQ 109
Wednesdays, 1-2 PM

In news from today's "Must-Hear TV" report...

  • August usually is a slow month in the "front office" for TV, with rerun doldrums continuing until premiere week at the end of September. Things are usually busier behind the scenes, because it's just about now when writers begin to enter the gates at the networks, to pitch shows for development in the spring, and for possible airing in the fall of next year.

    But with the writers' strike this past winter, everything is in flux. With no pilots finished by the usual May "upfront" announcements, NBC opted to pick up shows like My Own Worst Enemy and Kath & Kim sight unseen. ABC took a more conservative route, announcing only one new show for fall (Life on Mars). Now, at a time of year networks are usually "Gone Fishin'," ABC is announcing five new series pickups -- two comedies, and three rather comedic-sounding dramas -- for air sometime this coming season.

    On the comedy side, Better Off Ted is a satirical office comedy featuring a successful but morally conscious man, Ted, who runs a research and development department at a morally questionable corporation, Veridian Technologies. The show stars Jay Harrington, Andrea Anders (who was so fabulous in both Joey and The Class -- hopefully this is the vehicle to bring her deserved acclaim), and our own gay newlywed bride, Portia De Rossi.

    Another comedy, Single With Parents, is about Lou, a woman in her mid-30s who is determined to have her own life despite her crazy blended family, including her divorced parents, getting in the way. The show stars Alyssa Milano, with great casting as the parents -- Designing Women's Annie Potts, and Beau Bridges, who has been really fun as Mr. Hickey Senior on My Name Is Earl.

    The dramas include an extreme rarity for network TV: a do-over. In September of 1998, ABC debuted Cupid, a quirky dramedy from creator Rob Thomas (who then went on to create Veronica Mars and another remake for this season, 90210.) The show -- which attracted a dedicated cult audience but was nonetheless cancelled after just one season -- starred Jeremy Piven as Trevor, a maybe-crazy guy who may or may not be the Roman god of love Cupid, sent to earth to bring couples together. Paula Marshall played Dr. Claire Allen, a psychologist treating Trevor. Now, exactly a decade later, both ABC and Rob Thomas are trying again. With Piven busy on Entourage and Marshall about to debut on CBS' new sitcom Gary Unmarried, Cupid's new leads will now be Bobby Cannavale (LOVE him!) and the fab Sarah Paulson.

    Another drama, Castle, is a comedic crime procedural about a famous mystery novelist, Nick Castle, who has gotten bored with his success. When a real-world copycat murderer starts staging scenes from Nick's novels, he's teamed up with NYPD Detective Kate Beckett, and the challenge gets his blood pumping as he steps in to help solve the crime. Nick Castle will be played by none other than the most-sexually harrassed Frank DeCaro Show male guest of all time, Nathan Fillion. And also in the cast, someone I love: It's A Living, Falcon Crest and Dharma & Greg star Susan Sullivan, who's currently here in NYC headlining A.R. Gurney's play, Buffalo Gal.

    And finally, there's The Unusuals, a "unique comedic procedural" also set in a New York police precinct. Two comedic dramas set in NYC squad rooms? Well, if any network can pull that off, ABC can -- their bread and butter lately has been funny one-hours, from Desperate Housewives to Boston Legal to Grey's Anatomy to Eli Stone.

  • Another series order to talk about -- and in cable, those can come at any time of year -- TBS has ordered a second series from one-man powerhouse Tyler Perry. Perry's House of Payne is currently the #1 original sitcom of all time on ad-supported cable. So it's a no-brainer that TBS has ordered 10 episodes of Meet The Browns, to debut in January 2009. The show stars David Mann as Leroy Brown, a character who earlier this year was featured in Perry's hit film of the same name, and has also appeared in several episodes of House of Payne. The new series begins after Brown inherits a dilapidated house from his deceased father.

    It's great to see a writer having such success with a traditional, multi-camera sitcom as Perry has with House of Payne. But even cooler still, this fall, the TV and film impresario will also unveil Tyler Perry Studios, a 200,000 square foot studio created from a former Delta Airlines facility in Atlanta, where his films and TV shows will be shot. How cool is it to have that much power that Hollywood comes to you?!

  • This summer, in addition to its now-traditional reality fare like Big Brother and Greatest American Dog, CBS has "repurposed" a Canadian crimefighting series, Flashpoint, and has been rewarded with surprisingly big ratings: an average of weekly U.S. audience of 7 million. Flashpoint originally made it to the American airwaves as a way to fill time during the writers' strike; it was first Canadian production to air here since Due South, which also found its way from CTV to CBS back in 1994-96.

    The show's first season was a big hit in Canada too, of course, and so CTV has announced its renewal, ordering 13 more episodes into production in early 2009. No word from CBS yet whether we'll be seeing those episodes next summer as well -- but stay tuned.
And you callers asked...
  • Brian in Toledo: I'd heard a lot of buzz about the pilot Manchester Prep, too, back when it was cancelled right before going to series in 1999. (Reportedly, Fox executives became concerned about its obscenity factor.) The show was a TV soap adaptation of Cruel Intentions, which itself was a teenybopper version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. In fact, the show's lead villainess -- played by Enchanted sweetheart Amy Adams, if you can believe that -- was named Kathryn Merteuil, the same surname as the Marquise's in Laclos' original novel. In the end, the three episodes which had been shot prior to cancellation were edited together with some new, even racier material and packaged as a direct-to-video movie, Cruel Intentions 2.

  • Steven in Blacksburg, VA: You can rest easy. Your new discovery, Showtime's Secret Diary of a Call Girl, isn't going anywhere for a while. The show's first season of 8 episodes has just finished airing -- but a second season is on the way. Showtime had committed back in December -- before the show even debuted -- to acquiring a second season of 12 episodes of the British hit, to air sometime in 2009.

  • Bill in NJ: For some reason, Fox has not yet released any complete seasons of Ally McBeal in the U.S. The studio did, however, release one best-of DVD with 6 episodes, Ally McBeal - Ally on Sex and the Single Life, back in 2000. It's available on Amazon also sells Region 2 imports of the show, season by season, on DVD, but that won't help us much...

  • Joe in NY: Radio DJ Wendy Williams' TV talk show this summer -- which was just a six-week, four-city tryout, actually -- went very well. Ratings in those cities (Detroit, L.A., New York and Dallas) were so good, that Fox has announced: starting in mid-2009, Wendy is renewed and going national.

  • Thomas in AR: As I said, I'm not one for spoilers. But I understand those cravings to know what's going to happen to a favorite show! TV's Matt Webb Mitovich always has some good Brothers & Sisters dish. For example, click here.

  • Chris in New Orleans: The show you were thinking of was Fox's Drive, the mysterious cross-country road race show which was cancelled almost as soon as it began in April of 2007. After springing for a huge publicity campaign, Fox detoured Drive -- which starred the aforementioned hottie, Nathan Fillion -- after airing only 4 episodes over the space of 8 days. Fox then burned off the remaining 2 episodes in July of that year. To catch all 6 installments, you can download each one for $1.99 on, or on iTunes.
  • Chris in LA: The guy you see in those Kath & Kim promos on NBC is John Michael Higgins, a familiar [and hilarious] face you probably know from Best In Show, or from the Jennifer Aniston-Vince Vaughn movie The Breakup. In both of those films, he may have played gay characters, but according to his profile on, he's married with child.

  • Richard in Atlanta: I loved MTV's animated show Daria, too. The smart, sarcastic comedy was a spinoff of Beavis & Butthead (believe it or not!), and ran for 5 seasons of 13 episodes each from 1997-2002. According to the show's entry on (and who doesn't believe everything there!), MTV wanted a 6th season but its creator Glenn Eichler didn't want to do it.

  • Reed in SC: Sorry, but Comedy Central's animated raunch-fest Drawn Together is no more. It was cancelled in April of this year, after 3 seasons and 36 episodes.

Well that's it for me -- my theme music is playing me out. Tune in next Wednesday for the next installment of...

"Must Hear TV!"

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