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Can Letterman Take the Heat?

With CBS’ ratings dropping like flies, EW gives the network unsolicited advice on how to cut costs

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These days, the executives at CBS might make even cranky Andy Rooney seem like a Pollyanna on Prozac. In one year the network has plummeted from first to third in the ratings, and as ad revenue drops off faster than the audience for Northern Exposure, the CBS brass is desperate to cut costs. Will the Tiffany network become known as the Kmart channel? To help stave off disaster, we offer some suggestions on how CBS can hold the bottom line:

1. Scale back on far-flung locations. For instance: Walker, Rhode Island Ranger.

2. Pare down 48 Hours to Several Hours. After all, Dan Rather used to get the job done in just 60 Minutes.

3. Hire an HMO to manage Chicago Hope.

4. Keeping the Ed Sullivan Theater at 54 degrees during the winter is fine, but let David Letterman sweat a little during the summer.

5. Why not The Four Mrs. Buchanans?

6. Eliminate special effects. Bring back Touched by an Angel as Touched by a Priest.

7. Stage the re-creations on Rescue 911 using sock puppets.

8. Use cheap, cheesy guest stars on Burke’s Law — oh, wait a minute …

9. On CBS This Morning, replace Paula Zahn and Harry Smith with Mujibur and Sirajul.

10. Drop all major-league sports — oh, wait a minute …