By Tony Rizzo
Get ready, your favorite stars may be back on the small screen next season, if their pilot shows are picked up. “24” star Kiefer Sutherland is shooting “Touch” for Fox; Minnie Driver, last on Fox in “The Riches,” is in “Hail Mary” for CBS; and Christine Lahti, of “Chicago Hope,” is returning in “The Doctor” at CBS. Tim Allen, who has been making movies since “Home Improvement” ended, is shooting an untitled pilot for ABC.
Three years ago we endured strikes from the Writer’s Guild and the Screen Actor’s Guild that crippled the entertainment industry. TV networks thought reality shows would save the day and that viewers would watch any reality show thrown at them. Reality shows outnumbered sitcoms and dramas, and actors had little or no work. Flash forward to today, as the networks have found that viewers won’t watch reality-show reruns the way they do sitcoms and dramas. With fewer shows to sell into syndication, their profits have taken a huge hit.
Also shooting a new series pilot, “Ringer,” is Sarah Michelle Gellar of “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” along with “Lost’s” Nester Carbonell, at CBS. “Alcatraz” is described as “a time-traveling series” with “Lost’s” Jorge Garcia, “ER” alum Parminder Nagra, Sam Neill of “The Tudors,” and Robert Forster of “Jackie Brown” fame. In addition, Debra Messing of “Will & Grace” will be back at NBC in “Smash,” “Grease” star Stockard Channing headlines “17th Precinct,” Ed Begley Jr. of “Chicago Hope” toplines “Brave New World,” Ethan Hawke is shooting “Exit Strategy,” “Dawson Creek’s” James Van Der Beek is starring in “Apartment 23,” and “Friday Night Lights” star Adrianne Palicki is taking over for Lynda Carter as the new “Wonder Woman.”
Everywhere you look you see Justin Bieber. Sports events, news shows, talk shows and even commercials with Ozzie Osbourne. Wherever he goes, screaming young girls are sure to be close. Imagine finding Justin Bieber in the booth across from me at the International House of Pancakes in West Hollywood. Outside of the service staff being photographed with him, he came and went unnoticed, but then who would expect to see him at the IHOP!
The next day, in Beverly Hills, at Larry King’s favorite deli, Nate ‘N Al’s, I found myself seated next to CBS President Les Moonves and his wife, Julie Chen, having breakfast with their little boy. Numerous people, one after another, came to his table suggesting he fire Charlie Sheen. I just bit my tongue, but I now have the perfect solution: replace Charlie Sheen on “Two and a Half Men” and give him his own reality series … that is one reality show even I would watch!
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(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.