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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Totally Awful

Pauly Shore, whose sole claim to fame is being the only "comedian" less funny than Carrot Top, is getting his own reality show.

If you needed a sign that the reality well has finally run dry... you've now got one.

What could be worse than a Pauly Shore reality show? Let us know- go to the right hand column and take our latest Idiot Box poll!

Ripped From The Funny Pages

This is the new face of comedy.

Law & Order mastermind Dick Wolf is helping create a sitcom for NBC. Something about Boston, a diner, and a bunch of Italians... yada yada.

Only time will tell what the clunk CLUNK will sound like when it's followed by a laugh track.

CBS Newsies Won't Go Quietly

A month has passed since CBS chairman Leslie Moonves asked for resignations of three journalists embroiled in the scandal over the forged report on the National Guard service of President Bush. But the persistent little buckaroos still haven't stepped down. In fact, they're hiring lawyers to fight Moonves.

Why didn't Moonves just shitcan them in the first place? Then they could be out helping Mary Mapes in her new career, selling pencils on 57th street.

Columnist Calls For Prime-Time "Creative Jihad"

As we prepare to rid ourselves of past-their-prime shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and NYPD Blue, a columnist from the San Francisco Chronicle says we shouldn't stop there.

Read the latest brilliant column from Tim Goodman.

Enterprising Trekkies Won't Give Up The Ghost

A bunch of Trekkies are joining forces to save Star Trek: Enterprise, slated for its final mission in May.

Fans have launched a petition to save the low-rated UPN series, calling on fans to rally to get the show a new TV home. Ironically, if the Trekkies had spent a little more time finding themselves a new home, the petition wouldn't have been written in their parents' basements.

Nielsen Top 10

Top 10 most watched prime-time shows for the week, according to Nielsen Media Research:

1. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 28.8 million viewers
2. CSI, CBS, 27.9 million viewers
3. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 26.1 million viewers
4. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 22.3 million viewers
5. Without a Trace, CBS, 19.6 million viewers
6. Lost, ABC, 19.5 million viewers
7. CSI: Miami, CBS, 18.82 million viewers
8. 47th annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 18.8 million viewers
9. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 17.5 million viewers
10. ER, NBC, 17.1 million viewers

Tonight's Tube

Wednesday: The scalding hott Eliza Dushku guests on the increasingly lame That 70’s Show. More hott babes discussing global economics on Spike on The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Oh yeah, it’s sweeps too. So there are new episodes of Lost, Alias, Law & Order, CSI: NY, The West Wing, Wife Swap, and The Simple Life. (We’ll continue ignoring American Idol).

Wednesday Trivia: For Real

Which was never a real show?

A) Say What?
B) Oh, Brother!
C) Polka-Go-Round
D) The Three Robonic Stooges

Answer tomorrow.

Tuesday Trivia Solved: History of Cable, Part 2

Which cable network is the youngest?

A) HBO
B) Showtime
C) CNN
D) Disney Channel

Answer: Disney Channel (1983). The others: HBO (1972), Showtime (1976), CNN (1980)

Static From The Geek-In-Chief: Creatively Handcuffed

Q: What do the following shows have in common?

Will & Grace
Joey
Still Standing
According To Jim
Listen Up
Rodney
That '70s Show
Hope & Faith
Less Than Perfect
8 Simple Rules
My Wife and Kids
George Lopez
Committed


If you answered "They're all lame sitcoms, Mr. Geek-In-Chief!" you'd be right. Well, half right. The answer I was looking for is:

A: They're all lame sitcoms that regularly beat the brilliant Arrested Development in the Nielsens.

In case you can't tell where this is going, this is my sure-to-become-annual rant to save television's best comedy, which is on shaky ground these days. Sure, chief network toady Gail Berman is saying all the right things: "We at Fox love Arrested Development and we look forward to having the Bluth family back on Fox in the future- hopefully for many years." Yet the fact remains that Gail herself signed off on slashing the Emmy-winning comedy's season order by 4 episodes, while yanking the show from the crucial May sweeps period.

Which leads me to ask again: why do Americans like their comedy so bland? Why do audiences require the lame, old-school structure of setup-joke-punchline, followed by an overly loud laugh track, to watch a sitcom in droves?

It's been well established that Arrested is brilliantly written, impeccably acted and perfectly executed. Also established, however, is that viewers avoid smart comedies in droves. In its second season, Arrested is averaging less than 7 million viewers a week, showing little growth since its surprising victory at last year's Emmys. And, like its similarly intelligent, laugh-track-free NBC cousin Scrubs, it will likely never be a mass appeal hit.

Which, in some ways (namely creatively) is a good thing.

Here's hoping that cooler heads prevail at Fox and they keep Arrested Development around for awhile. It's not like much of their other programming is setting the world on fire (American Idol and 24 aside). Of course, it's a business, but any retail manager will tell you having a few loss leaders isn't such a bad thing. The press Arrested gets is priceless, especially when your network is also running crap like Point Pleasant.

So please, Fox. Have a little dignity. Keep an intelligent, well-made show running for a little while longer. It'll help save some face after trying to squeeze another year out of the burnt-out That 70's Show.

Static From The Geek-In-Chief airs every Wednesday.

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