Fresh Meat: Six Spankin' New Midseason Shows

Salt Lake City Weekly | March 3, 2005
Jake in Progress (ABC): At this point, the smartest move for John Stamos would be to return to General Hospital and finish out his woeful career as street-hood-turned-rock-star Blackie Parrish. Being unacceptably old (42) to rock on TV now, he could work at a Port Charles public-relations firm and have his way with any number of hot young clients. Unfortunately, ABC instead cast him in Jake in Progress, where he plays New York City star-publicist Jake Phillips, an A-list playa at Magnum PR (coincidentally, the name of an real firm in NYC—wait till they hear about this) who’s tired of having his way with hot young clients and just wants to settle down with That One Special Lady … blech. Daytime TV is waaay more fun than primetime—get back, Blackie! Recommended for: Rebecca Romijin, as if she needed any additional reassurance in moving on.

The Sketch Show (Fox): The full, only-slightly-more-exciting title is Kelsey Grammer Presents The Sketch Show, and the Artist Formerly Known as Frasier likens his new production to Laugh-In and Monty Python’s Flying Circus—demographically hot comedies the average Fox viewer has maybe heard grandpa chuckle about between spoon feedings. Still, any sketch outing featuring two former Mr. Show players (Best Week Ever regular Paul F. Tompkins and 24’s Mary Lynn Rajskubt … mrrrow!) is worth tasting, and with a quick pace of at least 30 bits per 30-minute episode, boring it ain’t. Recommended for: Anyone who thinks Family Guy moves too slowly.

Power Girls (MTV): What’s the sudden fascination with publicists? Power Girls follows the daily/nightly exploits of New York PR queen Lizzie Grubman and her team of trendy and ridiculously photogenic underlings as they create spin for and party with fabulous celebrities. Sure, the peek behind the scenes of marketing/branding/whatever it’s called this week is interesting and all, but Power Girls never quite gets around to explaining how Grubman and just four 20-something hotties run an international company all by themselves. Recommended for: PR pretender John Stamos, although this will likely last longer than Jake in Progress.

The Hollow Men (Comedy Central): What’s the sudden fascination with sketch comedy? The Hollow Men are just like the comic-revered Kids In the Hall troupe, minus the Canadian-ness (they’re British), the imagination (they’re predictable) and the laughs (unless you prefer your comedy British and predictable—then enjoy!). Says Comedy Central—who, if they learned anything from PR shows, would suspend their Kids reruns so Men wouldn’t look so lame in comparison—“Tune in for nudist-powered car engines, chronic Marlon Brando impersonators, vag badgers and much more!” Recommended for: Those who absolutely must know what a “vag badger” is.

Mr. Romance (Oxygen): When you think romance, you think Gene Simmons of Kiss. Naturally, the Bat Weasel is the obvious choice to create, produce and host an Oxygen reality competition pitting 12 hunky-hunks against one another for a contract to appear on the covers of Harlequin romance novels. And you always thought Paul Stanley would be the first Kiss-er to end up playing game-show host on a stage surrounded by oiled-up men wearing only banana hammocks. Recommended for: Anyone who can’t wait for The Paul Stanley Challenge on Bravo.

Fat Actress (Showtime): Further proving that pay cable is the only place to be anymore, Kirstie Alley made up for all lousy post-Cheers work (Look Who’s Talking, Veronica’s Closet, those creepy Pier One ads, etc.) with a single manic scene in the premiere of Fat Actress: [Screaming at agent while wolfing down a cheeseburger] “How about James Gandolfini? He’s like the size of a whale—he’s way, way, way fatter than I am! Do you think they said to Marlon Brando, ‘Hey Marlon, you’re a little bit too f--kin’ fat to do Apocalypse?’ I want a network meeting, I want it today, and I want it with a hot dog! I want my own freakin’ show!” Fat Actress is that show, a high-anxiety, high-carb spin on the showbiz reality-comedy of Curb Your Enthusiasm that’s a howling reminder of just how funny Alley can be. Recommended for: Those who like big butts and they cannot lie, you other brothers can’t deny …


* Thursday, March 10: Power Girls (MTV) Series Debut: If your job doesn’t require you to deal with PR women, trust me, do not get involved. Seriously.

Hollow Men (Comedy Central) Series Debut: And, if your job doesn’t require you to deal with half-assed British sketch comedy, ditto.

* Friday, March 11: Jonny Zero (Fox) Career in the Crapper Alert: Onetime promising star Peta Wilson guests as a bounty hunter. On Jonny Zero. Damn.

Late Night With Conan O’Brien (NBC) Conan welcomes supa-cool musical guests Death From Above 1979! Raaawk!

* Saturday, March 12: Family Business (Showtime) Season Premiere: The best reality show about a family-run porn company on TV. Well, pay TV …

Movie: Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber (Oxygen) An advertising exec (Jennifer Love Hewitt) plots to get into an exclusive party. Did we already use the Career in the Crapper Alert?

* Sunday, March 13: Jake in Progress (ABC) Series Debut: John Stamos is looking for love. But not Jennifer Love Hewitt—he’s so totally over skanks.

The Sketch Show (Fox) Series Debut: It’s a show with sketches. Pretty self-explanatory, really.

* Monday, March 14: Mr. Romance (Oxygen) Series Debut: The search for the next Fabio is on. They’re also searching for the old Fabio, FYI.

Fat Actress (Showtime) Second Episode: Kirstie’s up for a part in Charlie’s Angels 3, but only to make Drew Barrymore’s ass look smaller.

* Tuesday, March 15: Committed (NBC) Season Finale: Nate finally realizes that Marni’s insane. A surprise, since most women seem so well-balanced.

The Shield (FX) Season Premiere: Trouble’s a-brewin,’ and Mackey’s new captain is Glen Close, that well-balanced woman from Fatal Attraction.

Project Greenlight (Bravo) Season Premiere: Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are back to produce a horrible movie. They need a reality show for that?

* Wednesday, March 16: Wife Swap (ABC) An atheist and a Pentecostal trade families. Oh, snap!

Reach Bill Frost at

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