With this fetal development, the award-winning ABC cop show continues the time-honored tradition of introducing a child-rearing subplot to breathe new life into a series — both literally and figuratively. (An ABC spokesman would not confirm that the baby will be carried to term, only that Russell is pregnant.)
Using a baby to rejuvenate a long-running series has been a successful ploy for “I Love Lucy,” “Murphy Brown,” “Roseanne” and “Mad About You.” The producers of another ratings winner, “Friends,” are keeping mum about how they’ll handle Lisa Kudrow’s real-life pregnancy – but they haven’t ruled out working it into the show. (To offer your two cents, see the poll below.)
Some might say that a few other shows would be wise to heed this trend and start stocking up on pacifiers. With this in mind, EW Online suggests some ways that producers might beef up their baby quotients and get a new life.
“Dellaventura” – When Dellaventura finds a baby abandoned at his office door, the private dick slips into a reverie, remembering when he was king of the preschool, wearing leather footsie-pajamas, kicking butt and taking rattles. A special Father’s Day episode touchingly concludes with Della Jr. spitting up mashed carrots on the detective’s new couch, and then uttering baby’s first cop cliché: “Check and mate, Dellaventura!”
“20/20” – Many tune into Barbara Walters’ interviews just to see how quickly she can make her guests cry. But with an already bawling, colicky baby on Walters’ lap, she’ll score even more points on the tear-o-meter. Come to Mama, Nielsens!
“The Real World” – Upping the ante from last year’s series, when the seven castmembers supervised an after-school day care center, this season’s brood will include six self-centered slackers and one infant. House brouhahas will erupt with such confrontations as “Clean up your own diapers!” and “Not that it matters, but do you think the baby’s gay?”
“CBS Evening News” – Adding Connie Chung to the anchor desk didn’t boost the nightly newscast’s ratings, but putting a cherubic tot next to Dan Rather might help him topple Brokaw. Just imagine how endearing even bad news will become when Rather delivers it in baby talk while playfully tickling the infant. “That silly pwesident got another subpoena today! My, he’s a silly wittle pwesident, just like you! Yes, you are! Yes, you are!”
“Cops” – There’s no better way to humanize our men in blue than to strap a baby knapsack onto the front of every cop in this verité police show. With shots of an officer humming “Frere Jacques” to a snoozing tot while tossing a shirtless hoodlum against his Chevy, America will renew its love affair with the forces of law and order.