Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tv's Season of Quitters If a Series Is Any Good, Be Sure That a Crucial Cast Member Will Jump Ship Soon

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tv's Season of Quitters If a Series Is Any Good, Be Sure That a Crucial Cast Member Will Jump Ship Soon

Article excerpt

Not to rely too heavily on the wisdom of Alan Thicke, but the man had a point when he said, "The road to actor heaven is littered with the bodies and broken bones of people who left series before their time."

Hey there, hi there, ho there, David Caruso. But Thicke made this observation three years before Caruso jilted "NYPD Blue" and embarked on a feature film career. Two flops later -- "Kiss of Death" and "Jade" -- he has put himself in position to be forgotten faster than Larry Wilcox. Caruso-fy him, they said.

Alas, this latest TV season is starting to look like one big departure from the norm. Snits, wanderlust and greed hold sway as Generation X gives way to Generation Exit. Thanks a lot, sports world. Free agency is now our new national anthem.

On home television screens, we're being asked to constantly adjust the pictures of series large and small. Much of this season's turmoil swirls around CBS, where tradition and permanence once abounded with the likes of "I Love Lucy," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "All in the Family," "Gunsmoke," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "MASH" and "The Carol Burnett Show."

Lately, the one-time "Tiffany Network" has been a halfway house for vagabond actors and producers. Roll call:

"Chicago Hope," only in its second year, already is without the driving force of Mandy Patinkin and his Emmy Award-winning portrayal of Dr. Jeffrey Geiger. The actor says he left because the demands of series television didn't allow him to spend enough time with his children, who are growing up in New York. It's a laudable reason to leave, although the volatile Patinkin temperament also played a role in his departure. At best he'll return to "Hope" now and then.

Not so Peter MacNichol. His character, hospital attorney Alan Birch, was shot to death by a street gangster on the Nov. 13 episode. MacNichol reportedly gave up "Hope" because he didn't like the direction the series was going in without the hands-on involvement of its creator, David E. …

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