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He's Got the Shows to Revive Prime Time

September 29, 1997|HOWARD ROSENBERG

Note: The following column was perilously written . . . live! And presumably, you will be reading or rejecting it . . . live!

The new television season is nice but hardly special enough to permanently clot the hemorrhaging of network viewers.

Not my fault.

Year after year, my suggestions for programs are foolishly ignored, the industry's spitefulness precluding good judgment. Now, I understand the inclination of network executives to repeatedly resist the suggestions of one of their most severe critics. But who are they really hurting but themselves and the nation's viewers?

Even if they hold a grudge, can't they find it in their hearts to acknowledge programming genius? In hopes that they'll finally put aside pettiness and act in the best interests of the public, I'm generously giving them one last chance, and imploring them to immediately implement these concepts that are based on many weeks of study, research and creative thinking:

"ER Live and Without Underwear." With live TV becoming the rage in prime time, as in this season's outrageously hyped "ER" premiere on NBC, newer, more inventive gimmicks will soon be needed to maintain viewer interest. Thus, imagine the excitement of watching a TV show knowing that the cast is not only live, but wearing no undergarments.

"ER Live and Without a Script." Same principle.

"Anthony Quinn, Medicine Woman." The challenge of playing a pioneer western doctor in drag would lure Quinn back to TV.

"The Tony Mensa Show." Tony Danza in a break-out role as a caring single parent whose epic IQ and intellect surface in his discussions with his two young daughters ("Now you take 'dese guys, Archimedes and Socrates. . ."). The warm comedy is part of my Mensa Package that also includes the high-brow newsmagazine "60 Mensas" and "Dr. Quinn, Mensa Woman," whose heroine uses her superior brain to deride and reduce to tears her simpleton patients in the Old West.

"I'm Heston, He's Ho." A chat-variety show starring Charlton Heston and Don Ho. Yes, contrasting styles, but two men united in their passion for entertaining. Highlight: Heston crooning "Tiny Bubbles" and Ho giving a reading as Moses.

"HMO: Life on the Street." An exciting reality series along the lines of "Cops," in which cameras accompany bureaucrats chasing down and handcuffing people brazenly seeking medical care.

"Mad About Youse." A romantic sitcom about a young Mafia couple who have just had a son named Fredo.

"Murphy Brown Nose." A comedy about a suspender-wearing TV interviewer who sucks up to her guests.

"Hillary & Phyllis Diller." The first lady will be looking for a way to spend her time creatively post-White House, and this is it, co-starring in a hilarious comedy about two TV writing partners who have contrasting personalities but identical hairstyles and exotic stories about their husbands.

"Men Behaving Badly on Guam." A comedy about a couple of slovenly, belching, girl-ogling idiots in the west Pacific.

"Dogs Behaving Badly." Designed for Fox, a series showing clips of canines relieving themselves and acting on their carnal desires in public.

"Star Trek: Voyeur." Peeping Toms in space.

"Star Trek: Vegetarian." Exciting series recounting the futuristic adventures of a potato-like spacecraft defending Earth from war-like aliens resembling zucchinis.

"Boy Meets Worm." An exciting science-fiction series in which a boy burrows underground and lives there, making friends with annelids and TV anchors.

"Touched by Albert." An inspirational series that's part of my Marv Albert Package, which also includes the feisty sitcom "Marv's Closet," the daring bio-film "Men in Black Panties," and "Marv's Mop," a cute animated show for kids about a talking hairpiece.

"Kings of Jam." Bluesy music series hosted by B.B. King, Larry King and Jordan's King Hussein.

"Suddenly Soupy Sales." Sitcom with Brooke Shields awakening one morning and discovering that she's become the irrepressible Soupy.

"The Naked Ruth." Unusual sitcom with Dr. Ruth Westheimer playing a tenacious, Harley-riding tabloid reporter who stakes out and ambushes horrified celebrities, forcing them to listen to her advice on sex.

"The Wonderful World of String." It's never been done, so why not?

"Masterperverse Theatre." An exhilarating PBS-style hour providing bold new interpretations of the classics.

"Perot & Perry." A weekly point-counterpoint face-off with the issues of the day strenuously debated by Ross Perot and Luke Perry.

"3rd Reno From the Sun." Bizarre sitcom about the Earth landing of extraterrestrial clones of Atty. Gen. Janet Reno.

"Suddenly Siskel and Ebert." Sitcom with Brooke Shields awakening one morning and discovering that she's in bed with two 2,000-year-old genies who give her thumbs up.

"So . . . Fargo?" Exciting detective series, spun from the movie "Fargo," about an elite squad of Hasidic rabbis on snowshoes who each week pursue and capture a different congregant who's reneged on a pledge to the building fund.

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