With six networks, hundreds of cable offering, and the premium channels, the stakes are hight to get eyeballs glued to the tube. There's not a new show on the Fall 2004 sked that couldn't benefit from some added exposure via a crossover with an established series.
So with that in mind, I'm going to look at the new offerings on each of the networks and see which of their telecompatriots could forge the best linkup.
Today it's CBS in the batter box. We'll let the Eye step up to the plate and see what we can pitch:
'Clubhouse' - Yeah, there was a reason for the bad baseball metaphor. The network's new feel-good coming-of-age drama centers around a teen who discovers his true worth while working as a batboy for the New York Empires baseball team.
Who will be playing opposite the Empires? Established, real-life teams? How about fictional teams from TV shows past, mentioned only over the intercom for the in-joke? 'The Bay City Blues'? The Pioneers of 'Hardball'? Maybe even the Comets. You know.......
Manager: Suarez, I've got good news. I'm taking you out.
Pitcher: I thought you said you had good news.
Manager: I do. I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico. Give me the ball.
Since they're a team from New York, it could be another freshman drama that provides the best crossover hopes for 'Clubhouse'. Let's say a murder takes place in the stands right in the middle of a game. Who ya gonna call?
No, not 'Law & Order: SVU'! No, not 'NYPD Blue' - well, yeah, technically, you are. But the people you want sifting through all the peanuts and Cracker Jacks are the forensic scientists of 'CSI: NY'.
Otherwise, the Girardi Family could come to the stadium to see a game and God appears to Joan (selling foam fingers?) to cryptically coach her in helping somebody on the team before the final out.
('Joan of Arcadia')
'CSI:NY' - This show doesn't need any help from me. Even thought it's going head-to-severed head with the original 'Law & Order', this show is going to make it without any special outside help from a crossover.
But even so, you know the gang from 'CSI: Miami' will show up again to interact with them.
(Don't hold your breath for the Vegas team, however. They're all a little touchy and not so feely about crossovers over there in Sin City.)
'dr. vegas' - Even so, this show better hope for a crossover with their fellow Vegas drama. Friday nights are... dicey enough as it is. In order to keep an audience you have to bring them in first. And what better way than to see Rob Lowe reunited with Jorja Fox for a little spice during an investigation? (Although I don't think they ever had any scenes together in 'The West Wing'.)
('CSI: Crime Scene Investigation')
'Center Of The Universe' - Where is this show taking place? Beats me. Some nameless sitcom suburbia; maybe just around the corner from Wisterian Lane?
Since CBS seems to have a chubby guy cluster in Queens, NY, I would have guessed that this show would end up there as well. I'm probably wrong; it wouldn't be the first time. But wherever it's located, John Goodman and family are going to need some high voltage crossover guest stars to help them survive in that time slot, one of the most competitive of the week. Of course, better writing and definition of the characters would help even more......
Or maybe they live near Los Angeles? Because of this show's producers and their past work, I could see Alan and Charlie dropping by to visit their old buddy, John Barnett's brother played by Diedrich Bader.
('Two And A Half Men')
'Listen Up!' - Ray Romano plays a sportswriter in Queens, NY. His show is running its victory final lap this season and hopes to go out on a high, showered with audience adoration.
If so, he better steer clear of this show. Even so, it's the only hope 'Listen Up!' probably has to survive; Jason Alexander's character of sportswriter Tony Kleinman needs to get the seal of approval from Ray Barone.
Not that Ray Barone needs to do it in order to curry MY favor! With appearances on, and connections to, 'Becker', 'The King Of Queens', 'Cosby', and 'The Nanny', Ray Barone is already guaranteed a seat in the pantheon of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame. He may even be afraid that crossing over to 'Listen Up!" might be a detraction from eligibility.
Yeah, like the celebs are aware of my little Hall of Fame. I really should start taking my medication again......