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The latest news from the TV Beat

”Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?,” ”Just Shoot Me,” and ”Gideon’s Crossing” made the news the week of March 10, 2000

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‘Multi’ Tasking
Rick Rockwell and Darva Conger’s marriage may be kaput, but the Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? phenomenon isn’t. Sources say Next Entertainment is shopping new installments of its now-infamous Fox special. Suitors include UPN, which was considering Marry at press time. It’s unlikely the network would strike a deal before the 2000-01 season, and insiders say the special would undergo major format changes before UPN would greenlight it. You mean like better background checks?

Future Shock
With three months left in the TV season, it’s time for networks to start weeding out their ratings weaklings. Shows on the proverbial bubble include CBS’ Martial Law, Chicago Hope, and Early Edition; The WB’s Zoe…, Mission Hill, and Roswell; Fox’s Party of Five, Time of Your Life, and Family Guy; UPN’s Shasta (big surprise), and NBC’s Suddenly Susan and Veronica’s Closet (a source says NBC is already considering Closet‘s Daryl Mitchell for other projects). A top 10 adults 18-49 ranking won’t guarantee the laugh-free Stark Raving Mad a second season — it still drops 21 percent from its Frasier lead-in. And critical acclaim may not save NBC’s slot-hopping Freaks and Geeks. ”It’s already been given two time periods,” says media analyst Tim Spengler. ”The younger [viewers] NBC wanted have made their decision.” Most of ABC’s dogs (Wasteland, Odd Man Out, It’s like, you know…) were axed early on and replaced with trusty backup Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Still, the net’s bland Two Guys and a Girl is more likely to return than the struggling Sports Night. At least Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing is still flying high on NBC.

Authorized ‘Biography’
If you switch on NBC’s Just Shoot Me during May sweeps, don’t be surprised to see…A&E’s Biography? In the spirit of February’s X-Files/COPS union, the sitcom will morph into the docu-series. The idea was born last summer when Shoot writers were discussing a back story on Blush fashion editor Nina Van Horn (Wendie Malick) and their obsession with Biography. The result: a parody profile on the ex-model, featuring Biography host Harry Smith plus Don Henley, Pat Sajak, and Cheryl Tiegs. ”We braced ourselves for the typical network reaction: ‘Oh my gosh, there’s no laugh track!”’ notes Shoot exec producer Don Woodard. ”But they said, ‘This is a great idea.”’ Now if only NBC could transform Veronica’s Closet into Friends.

And So On…
Homicide‘s Andre Braugher is gunning to return to television, sans the badge. He’ll play the lead in Gideon’s Crossing, a drama pilot for ABC based on Dr. David Loxterkamp’s book A Measure of My Days: The Journal of a Country Doctor.