Friday, March 25, 2005


In other comedy pilot casting news: - Darren Ritchie has landed the male lead opposite Tiffani Thiessen in CBS' untitled Yuspa-Goldsmith comedy pilot, which centers on a young New York couple adjusting to life as new parents.

Setting this show in NYC was a smart move. 'Everybody Loves Raymond' will be gone, but these characters can always crossover to 'Still Standing' if they need any parenting advice for better or worse (depending on whether they talk to Bill or Judy Miller).

And why not have busybody Marie Barone pop in anyway, even though her sitcom home for nine years leaves the airwaves this May? Let's say Doris Roberts did a quick cameo in which she accosts Tiffani Thiessen in the supermarket and gives her unsolicited advice on how to raise her child.

However, never once in the scene does she identify herself as Marie Barone...... Well, is it our fault if we automatically assumed she was appearing as Marie?

In fact, CBS would be smart to base most of its prospective sitcoms in New York City where they can also take advantage of interaction with 'The King Of Queens' as well. Either that, or in Los Angeles so they could ride the coat-tails of 'Two And A Half Men' in a crossover. Since that sitcom is the heir presumptive to the nine o'clock berth on Monday nights once 'Raymond' has left the building, you can't beat that type of promotion.

But a word of advice to CBS - don't leave your new sitcoms adrift in the heartland with no chance of gaining publicity from crossovers. I'm not saying that such a decision is what doomed 'The Center Of The Universe', (Let's face it, that show had plenty of problems!) but it couldn't have hurt.

Here are three other sitcom options being considered by the suits at the Eye Network:

John Leguizamo will play a sports agent in CBS' untitled Diamond-Weisman drama pilot about working parents juggling domestic responsibilities. The actor's character in the pilot is married to a magazine editor.

A sports agent married to a magazine editor? Sure, there are probably just as many magazine editors and sports agents in the major U.S. cities as there are in New York, but the Big Apple fits as the most logical choice for where this couple should live.

Leguizamo might even be able to smooth-talk Ray Romano into making a quick come-back as Ray Barone. Possible scenario? Maybe Ray wants to do an interview with one of the athletes represented by Leguizamo's character, but it's also an interview his wife is trying to snag for her magazine.

Jenna Elfman will have the lead role in CBS' comedy pilot 'Everything I Know About Men'. In the show, based on the BBC's 'According to Bex', Elfman plays an assistant at a marketing firm who, with the help of her friends, tries to figure out how to deal with the men in her life.

The marketing firm could also be found anywhere in the country. And this time, the City of Angels might be the best environment in which to accent Ms. Elfman's disposition.

But we're looking at this for the crossover aspect. And Ms. Elfman already appeared twice on the hit sitcom 'Two And A Half Men'. Now unless she was going to play Frankie again on her own series, it would be awkward if she met either Alan or Charlie and they made no comment about how familiar she looked.

Then again, it could be just as awkard if they do mention it. Witness the scene where Ray Barone met Doug Heffernan who was delivering a package. Doug looked an awful lot like Ray's old pal, Kevin. How come Ray didn't wonder whatever happened to that guy?

Ignoring the resemblance can only lead to script discrepancies. How come 'Frasier' Crane never noticed that a piano tuner hired at 'Cheers' looked exactly like his Dad back in Seattle?

Okay, sure. That 'Cheers' episode was years before they thought of doing the 'Frasier' spinoff or even of casting it. But at some point in that first episode, Frasier should have told his Dad he once saw a guy back in Boston that looked exactly like him.

(If I was in charge of the TV Universe and not just one of the Caretakers, I'd have cast John Mahoney into double duty in that return to Boston episode of 'Frasier'. Have him come in to the reunion party to tune up a piano there as well and have Niles mistake him for his Dad.)

So anyway, it might be better off if Jenna Elfman's proposed sitcom is based in Manhattan.

'Old Christine' stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a divorced mom who tries to keep pace with everyone around her. Clark Gregg will play the woman's ex-husband. Hamish Linklater will play the lead character's brother, and youngster Trevor Gagnon has been cast as her son.

Okay, here's a sitcom that can be situated anywhere in the United States and still perhaps work on its own. But at the same time, a home base on the Left Coast couldn't hurt for that possible crossover with Alan, Charlie and Jake. And there's always New York with a trio of established players.

CBS might even take a big gamble and set the show wherever the hell it is that 'Listen Up!' takes place (I searched all over the internet and couldn't find a clue!) and score a mini-'Seinfeld' reunion between Louis-Dreyfuss and Jason Alexander.

That is, if 'Listen Up!' lasts into its sophomore year, that is.

But then again, there's always New York City. Just like I pictured it.


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