Fall Preview

Joe Lavin's Humor Column

Fall Preview

September 4, 2001

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After months of repeats, the new television season is nearly upon us. This fall, over thirty new shows will be coming to your television, but I'm more interested in the seventy shows that were rejected by the networks. Here then is a preview of what you won't be watching this fall.

Over on UPN, for example, you won't be seeing "Supermodels," a show about women who are "supermodels by day, superheroes by night." Yes, amazingly, the network behind such quality fare as "WWF Smackdown!" couldn't quite find a spot for this on their fall schedule. I'm surprised. After all, it sounds like a winning idea, though it does beg the question: do supermodels really need superpowers?

Supermodel: "Hi, I'm a supermodel. Could you give me the top secret code?"

Guy: "Um, okay."

ABC, meanwhile, won't be showing "Me and My Needs," which would have been about "the neurotic life of a TV newsmagazine producer." Gee, a television show about a television producer? How could this not have been picked up? Perhaps it might have stood a better chance had it been about the neurotic life of a television programmer.

Television programmer: "Well, I had to choose that one. It just really connected with me, you know?"

This all reminds me of my idea to create a show about the life of a neurotic television producer of a television show about the neurotic life of a television producer. Look for it in 2002.

Some well-known people also won't be showing up on your television this fall. John Cleese, for example, won't be starring in "HMO," a show about health insurance. (Health insurance? What? Were there no pilots available about actuaries or 401K plans?) Hank Azaria won't be starring in a comedy about a comedy writer. (Hmmn, perhaps it would have stood a better chance had it been a comedy about a comedy writer of a comedy show about a comedy writer.)

And no matter what you do, you won't turn on your television and see Sisqo, the rapper behind "The Thong Song," starring in his very own sitcom. This is a shame because Sisqo was actually planning to star in a sitcom with, of all people, Bob Newhart. Unfortunately, NBC passed on the idea, and so we will never get to see the bewildered look on Bob Newhart's face when he realizes that he's acting in a sitcom with Sisqo.

As far as this show is concerned, I think we can all agree on one thing -- it was a terrible casting decision. Bob Newhart in a sitcom with Sisqo? What were they thinking? We all know that Bob Newhart and Puff Daddy would have been a much better combination.

Another show, "Bev," caught my eye, mainly because it was described in a news article as "Bev, formerly known as Town Slut." Yep, you guessed it. This one was planned for Fox, but you won't be seeing it.

I have to blame the name change for this. Obviously, someone must have thought that the original title was a little too risqué, but why change it? After all, who wants to watch "Bev"? But "Town Slut"? Now that's appointment viewing.

The show, incidentally, was about a woman in her thirties, with three children by three different fathers, "who wrestles with her small town reputation as a slut." That must have been some casting call.

"I'm sorry. You were really great, but I'm afraid you just weren't slutty enough."

"No, please, can I try again? I can be sluttier. I promise."

Of course, an idea as strong as "Town Slut" is unlikely to die in Hollywood. I'm betting it comes back as a reality program.

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