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 Jan 26 - Feb 1, 2006 
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Idiot Box

TV News

Broadcast buzz from around the dial

By Devin D. O'Leary

Why Not?—I'll tell you why not: Because it sucks. ABC has given an unusually quick hook to Heather Graham's new sitcom “Emily's Reasons Why Not,” yanking the show off the air after only one episode. The show debuted Jan. 9 (along with John Stamos' “Jake in Progress”) to a bad-but-not-abysmal 6.2 million viewers. But, with the threat of FOX's “24” looming, NBC decided to cut its losses (as well as John Stamos' “Jake in Progress”). “Creatively, the show did not get to where it needed to,” ABC programming chief Steve McPherson told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour, in a surprising bit of candor. “All of us tried really hard--producers, network, studio--but it just never got on track.” In other words: It sucked; moving on ...

Developing “Development”—Speaking of that press tour, McPherson also fielded questions about ABC possibly picking up FOX's injured series “Arrested Development.” Despite the rumors, McPherson said it was “a long shot” that ABC would pick up the sitcom. “I don't foresee it,” were his exact words. Oh well. There's still HBO. And, oddly enough, FOX. Early last week, FOX head Peter Ligouri acknowledged it was “highly unlikely” FOX would pick up the show for a fourth season. And yet the network has refused to officially cancel it. If you love something, FOX, set it free.

The President is Dead—NBC has been planning the demise of Thursday-night sitcom “Will & Grace” for some time now. Just this last week, however, it was confirmed that the network would also say good-bye to longtime political drama “The West Wing.” Both shows will end their runs at the end of this season. “West Wing” will elect itself a new president, ship Martin Sheen off into retirement and possibly welcome poor unemployed Rob Lowe back for a cameo on May 14. “Will & Grace” will bow out with an hour-long episode (hopefully not live) on May 18.

Summertime Series—NBC has announced two new shows that will fill holes come summer. “Windfall” is an hour-long drama that started out at FOX, but jumped networks before airing. The ensemble drama follows a diverse group of 20 friends (Luke Perry, Jason Gedrick and Sarah Wynter among them), all of whom are splitting in a $386 million lottery win. “Treasure Hunters” will also debut this summer and is described as a “fast-paced adventure/reality series”--which translates to “The Amazing Race” meets National Treasure. The shows are expected to debut in June.

Late-Night FOX—More than a decade after the infamous demise of “The Chevy Chase Show,” FOX is tossing its hat into the late-night talk show arena. The network has picked up “Talk Show with Spike Feresten” for the fall season. The half-hour, late-night show will air on Saturdays following “MADtv” and will mix filmed comedy bits in with the traditional celebrity interviews. Feresten is a former “Seinfeld” writer with only one onscreen credit to his name--that of “folk singer” in Pauly Shore's 1995 film Jury Duty.

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