It’s the TV industry’s equivalent of a debutante ball: the mid-May up-fronts, when the networks unveil their fall schedules for advertisers. Among the big headlines: Today nabbed an extra hour (it’ll air 7-10 a.m.) and The X-Files got another year (though David Duchovny’s role is unclear at press time). EW gives awards to other tidbits:
The Strange-Bedfellows Plaque to David Letterman and NBC. Eight years after the Peacock dissed Dave, NBC will air Ed — a dramedy about a New York lawyer who returns to his Ohio roots — which happens to be produced by Letterman’s company Worldwide Pants. Co-creator Rob Burnett says Letterman ”couldn’t be happier. He already spent a few hours at the NBC store loading up on Just Shoot Me T-shirts.”
The Not-So-Mad-About-You Award to canceled Stark Raving Mad. In NBC’s presentation, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog — the foulmouthed puppet from Late Night With Conan O’Brien — compared watching Mad to drinking out of the toilet.
The We-Hope-His-Nose-Grew Badge to Drew Carey. The star of ABC’s critically maligned Geppetto said, ”If there are any critics in the crowd, I plan to do a Disney musical every year for the rest of my life until you all commit suicide.”
The Concerned-Father Ribbon to Aaron Spelling. The WB announced Grosse Pointe, a clever comedy about the behind-the-scenes egos at a Beverly Hills, 90210-type show. ”If you’ve been on the set of a TV show, you know it’s not so much parody as reality-based,” says WB senior VP Kate Juergens. A little too reality-based for Mr. Spelling: The show has a Tori Spelling-like character whose uncle is a network honcho. Sources say Aaron has asked The WB to change the character’s reddish-brown hair to look less like his daughter’s.