Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Pilots That May, or May Not, Take Flight

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Pilots That May, or May Not, Take Flight

Article excerpt

ONE SHOW is described this way: "Animated sheep haunts advertising agency." Another is given this unique explanation: "Cyber geek stumbles onto virtual reality minefield." Then there is the one that promises to deal with a New England library "that houses a book with mysterious powers."

Heavens! A metaphysical book! Run for your lives!

Welcome to that time of year known in the network television trade as pilot season, when hope springs eternal and lame concepts flow like a river. More than half of them will simply die inglorious deaths, mere footnotes on the scrap heap.

The big deal this year is that the networks actually trimmed the number of pilots ordered for next season, from 120 to around 104, meaning slightly less money will be wasted than usual.

No fewer than 16 sitcom aspirants are fronted by stand-up comics ranging from Howie Mandel to Robert Klein, the networks exercising a propensity to strip-mine the clubs with seemingly indiscriminate desperation. A sampling of the 1994-95 pilot universe: CBS:

"Ask Rita": Stand-up comic Rita Rudner is an advice columnist.

"The Canterberrys' Tales": An anthology involving a fairy tale-spinning family, from Rob Reiner.

"Cybill": Cybill Shepherd is a former model and a single mom who gets into advertising. "Moonlighting" without Bruce Willis. Unfortunate title, too.

"Dixie's Fixins": A romantic comedy starring Dolly Parton as host of a cooking show, no doubt a Southern one.

"Dudley": Dudley Moore has three grown daughters, and he hasn't a clue what to do with them.

"Galaxy Beat": A sci-fi spoof from Alan Spencer ("Sledge Hammer!").

"Crowfoot": A Native American detective stalks baddies in Hawaii.

"One West Waikiki": Ex-Chuck's Angel Cheryl Ladd is a futuristic cop on Oahu. "Drop the coconut or I'll shoot!"

"Pilot": Yes, a pilot called "Pilot," a medical show from "Picket Fences" creator David E. Kelley.

"Sherwood's Travels": From the folks who bring you "Northern Exposure" comes this drama about a hubby and wife - former thieves - who now write a travel column.

"XXX's & OOO's": Four ex-wives of country music stars band together. ABC:

"Cherry St., South of Main": A female comedy set in a beauty shop, produced by Roseanne and Tom Arnold because ABC can't tell them no.

"Grown Ups": Howie Mandel is an annoyingly immature and pathetic dad.

"Life Happens": Kirk Cameron ("Growing Pains") is a surrogate dad to his three younger brothers. Call it "Kirk in Charge."

"The Margaret Cho Show": An Asian-American comic gets her own sitcom.

"Worlds Apart": Onetime hippie parents and their establishment kids clash, very much as they once did on "Family Ties."

"Dark Eyes": Kelly McGillis is a cop. If she doesn't work in Hawaii, she probably wants to.

"Kansas": "Thirtysomething's" Patricia Wettig separates from her husband and moves home - and boy, is Elliott devastated.

"Last Days of Russell": Life as seen through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy, which means eyes surrounded by acne. …

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