Everybody may want to be a millionaire, but no one wants to win this contest: our second annual ugly pageant to predict which show — according to industry buzz — will be axed first by each network. This year, ”we’re seeing fewer horrendous, can’t-believe-they-put-that-on-the-air shows,” notes Tim Spengler of ad-buying agency Western Initiative Media. ”We’re less insulted than in years past.” Nonetheless, the nominees are …
THEN CAME YOU (ABC) Ad execs kiss off this sitcom about a 33-year-old editor who falls in love with a 22-year-old room-service waiter. ”It might make a good one-line joke,” says Gregg Liebman of J. Walter Thompson, ”but to build a show around that?” And on a tough Thursday night? POSSIBLE SALVATION Order up a move to Tuesday after ABC’s other Mars-Venus romantic comedy, Dharma & Greg.
WORK WITH ME (CBS) Madison Avenue is declaring a mistrial on this lawyer laffer starring Nancy Travis and Kevin Pollak. ”There’s so little chemistry between them,” says Liebman, ”it’s like they met on set for the first time.” POSSIBLE SALVATION Add goofy alien from CBS’ 1997 Bronson Pinchot sitcom; introducing Work With Meego!
THE MIKE O’MALLEY SHOW (NBC) Starring a macho New Hampshire stand-up you’ve never heard of, this sitcom is generating less excitement than a Revive Conrad Bloom campaign. ”I’m not sure he’s that funny, and the ensemble cast did nothing for us,” says Spengler. POSSIBLE SALVATION A bit of recasting and — voilà! — The Mike O’Myers Show.
MANCHESTER PREP (Fox) The creatively troubled private-school drama faces hardcore competition: WWF Smackdown!, Friends, and The WB’s new high school hour, Popular. ”It’s going to be a fight for the same audience,” says Paul Schulman of Schulman/Advanswers NY, ”and Popular is better.” POSSIBLE SALVATION Latin explosion, hello? How about Chico and the Manchester Prep?
MISSION HILL (The WB) The Big Apple-based hipster ‘toon could be in big trouble on Fridays. ”Animation tends to attract young men, and they watch little TV on that night,” says BBDO’s Mike Greco, adding ”It’s a little late on the animation bandwagon.” POSSIBLE SALVATION Road trip to Dawson’s creek.
THE STRIP (UPN) The Vegas detective drama looks like a sucker’s bet up against Dharma & Greg, Will & Grace, Party of Five, Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel, and 60 Minutes II. Plus, notes Greco, ”it’s not much of a companion piece for Shasta McNasty.” POSSIBLE SALVATION Wacky neighbors Siegfried and Roy!