DANNYBROOK Have the execs at CBS lost their minds? You would think so, given that, starting Dec. 4, the struggling Dellaventura will go up against NBC’s powerhouse ER.
But believe it or not, there is a method to their scheduling madness. For starters, it would be next to impossible for Dellaventura to do any worse against ER than it has opposite ABC’s NYPD Blue, which consistently lures away its desired male audience. Plus, it will have a stronger lead-in on Thursdays with Diagnosis Murder (a show that often finishes second — albeit a distant second — to NBC’s Seinfeld and Veronica’s Closet in the key 18-49 demos) than it has now with David Caruso’s underperforming Michael Hayes. Another potential advantage: Unlike NYPD Blue, ER draws mostly women. So the hope is that guys will welcome a mindless hour of Danny Aiello kicking butt over the touchy-feely charms of George Clooney and Noah Wyle. If not, chalk up the Aiello drama as just one more star-driven vehicle that crashed and burned.
BROWN NOSY Don’t be fooled by the report on the MSNBC website that has Murphy Brown ending the season with its title character, played by Candice Bergen, dying of cancer. The man behind that rumor (and also behind the inaccurate report of Oprah Winfrey’s decision to call it quits earlier this fall) is Los Angeles entertainment reporter Sam Rubin. Rubin, however, kept mum on his anonymous tip during both his daily TV segment and his weekly radio show, citing a ”different standard” for web journalism. ”I want named sources for TV or radio,” he states. Brown producers, who say Rubin never called them for comment (he attributes his info to a ”trusted source”), told EW the rumors are absolutely untrue.