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Gil's Comedy Script of the Month

LEFT OVER TV SHOWS

By Gil Christner

If you lived near Southern California this summer, you might have heard a sudden passage of air, and thought it was only a small Santa Ana wind, or at least Robert Downey Jr. celebrating his latest plea bargain. However, it was really a collective sigh of relief wafting over Hollywood, as the Entertainment Industry narrowly averted both a costly Writers' Strike and an Actor's Strike. Everyone from grips to caterers were jumping for joy at the prospect of still being able to try to scramble for jobs without the interruption of a nasty work stoppage.

And the below-the-line workers weren't the only ones happy to avoid these Strikes. (Many of you not in show biz wonder exactly which "line" these workers are below. As we all know, the most important thing in Hollywood is The Bottom Line. These folks are below that. Try to imagine being Below someone's Bottom, and you get an idea of what their jobs are like.)

The American public is also glad the talent folks stayed at their jobs, because that means the New Fall Television Season debuts as scheduled. Of course, "as scheduled" is getting later and later every year. In the old days, The New Fall Television Schedule actually happened in the Fall. Nowadays, chances are good that we'll be buying Christmas presents before we find out what happened to Ricky Schroeder on NYPD Blue. And, we can't confirm it, but rumor has it that the X-Files isn't premiering until next February, and then only if the Groundhog sees his shadow.

But at least we won't have to wait any longer than usual, and we can thank the hard working negotiators of the Writers and Actors Guilds and the Producers. Without their diligence, who knows when we'd hear the next wacky retort David Spade gives to Laura San What'shername on Just Shoot Me? We'd have to wait forever to try to learn the difference between those two Gilmore Girls (one's the mom, right?) and to find out whether the new actress who replaces Angie Harmon on Law And Order is going to make us forget Jill Hennessey, or at least Chris Noth. To say nothing of the havoc a strike would wreck on the Once And Again Cancellation Betting Pool.

But even with TV staying on schedule, all is not joy and jubilation in Hollywood. It actually turns out, in an ironic twist that Mel Brooks could turn into a Broadway show starring Nathan Lane, that the Studios will lose money because the negotiations were successful.

Earlier this year, when it looked like Hollywood would shut down because those selfish writers and actors wanted to actually get paid for their work, the Studios rushed into production with literally scads of new product. Overtime became golden time as crews churned out as much TV as humanly possible (if the words "TV" and "humanly possible" can be used in the same sentence). Unfortunately, as everybody except the Bush administration knows, if you slap together something without attention to detail, you'll pay for it later on. These shows were hurried through the process, made with even less originality than usual. And so, Hollywood is stuck with a lot of product that, even for Television, stinks.

Most of the executives would rather you didn't find out about their compulsive green lighting of lame product. Chances are good that you will never see any of these useless, costly pilots, unless bootlegged copies appear on the internet. And even if you have DSL, chances are good that you won't watch them all the way through. But they exist, they are out there, sitting on a shelf in Southern California somewhere, and so we present to you a partial list of what you'll be missing:

* * * * * * * * * *

SURVIVOR! AT "THE OUTBACK" (NBC) - 12 Different waiters at a theme steak house perform various tasks (serving grumpy people, carrying large orders across a crowded dining room) while speaking in fake Australian accents. Each week somebody gets "downsized" until there is only one person left, winning the big prize: a job at minimum wage.

LARRY, CURLY & MOESHA (UPN) - Brandy teams up with Destiny's Child in an attempt to remake the 3 stooges with female hip hop artists.

ACQUAINTANCES (NBC) - the spin off of Friends, starring Gunter, that guy in the coffee bar that we see every week but never really cared about.

LAWN ORDER (NBC) - Dick Wolf scrapes the bottom of his franchise's barrel with this realistic look at the men and women of the Parks & Recreation Department. In a time-saving device, the main characters are constantly being replaced by new actors in the middle of each episode.

WHAT ABOUT JOHN? (ABC) - Joan Cusak's brother gets his own TV show. It's just as funny as hers.

CBSI (CBS) - In a very self-referential move, Les Moonves approved a concept about a crime scene investigation unit that works exclusively at his own network. Most of the plots revolve around trying to prove that Dave Letterman is stealing office supplies.

TOUCHED BY AN UNCLE (WB) - Never made it past the "pilot presentation tape."

THE WEST WIG (NBC) - Each week Presidential Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tries out a new toupee, adjusting style to the particular theme of his press conference (buzz cut for military spending, long pony tail for environmental concerns, greasy hair for oil drilling).

EVERYBODY LOVES ALMONDS (CBS) - For some reason, CBS rejected the pilot's original title, "The Nuts of Hazard."

WHO WANTS TO BEAT UP A MILLIONAIRE? (ABC) - Class warfare becomes TV welfare, as in each episode a different rich person confronts ordinary folks who have recently lost their jobs. The pilot has Bill Gates barely escaping with his life.

WILL & GRACE UNDER FIRE (NBC) - Brett Butler returns to network TV as she joins the cast of the hit show, playing a gay man. She replaces Sean Hayes, who moves to CBS to star in his own new series titled…

THE QUEEN OF QUEENS (CBS) - 'Nuff said!

Copyright 2001 WindCrest Productions

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