USA Network, cable's home to sitcom veterans "Duckman" and "Weird Science," introduces two new comedies this weekend that are neither ducky nor scientific. Unfortunately, they are merely dim and dumb.
The first is "Lost on Earth," a mirthless half-hour starring Tim Conlon, a star of Fox's short-lived "Wild Oats." Conlon plays David Rudy, an Albuquerque TV reporter whose on-air gaffe with a chimpanzee (don't ask) results in a demotion leveled by his stern, ratings-conscious boss (Paul Gleason).
David, who is sleeping with the boss' daughter (Stacy Galina), avoids dismissal by agreeing to anchor a show featuring a gaggle of grotesque puppets.
While bemoaning his fate, the sarcastic David discovers these garish pieces of foam are actually aliens who were stranded here while exploring the universe. And how does he know that? Why, they can talk, of course.
More's the pity since little that comes out of their mouths is either clever or funny.
Too silly for adults and too coarse for kids, "Earth" is a lost cause.
Equally unrewarding is "Claude's Crib," an interracial "Friends" about a hip-hop landlord balancing the demands of his twentysomething boarders and hectic personal life.
Claude Brooks is the African American star, creator and co-producer of this clunky comedy set in a two-story house that was inherited from his character's deceased grandmother.
One of the tenants is a hapless white guy (Matt Champagne) who never dates. Another is a slothful Asian (James Wong) who likes to eat, watch TV and roller-blade while waiting for rent checks from the Far East.
In the opener, two women--a naive Midwesterner (Jennifer Aspen) and a headstrong aerobics instructor (Tembi Locke)--contend with Claude's sexist attitude while applying for a room.
Those who relish smart, sophisticated dialogue are advised to go elsewhere. At one point, for example, the Asian Des tells Claude, "If I wanted a job, I'd still be in Taiwan making clothes for Kathie Lee Gifford."
And if I wanted a snooze, I'd still be watching this show.
* "Lost on Earth" premieres tonight at 7 and "Claude's Crib" premieres Sunday at 7 p.m., both on USA Network.