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Sunday's New Shows

‘Hype’ and ‘Nikki’ will debut this October

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HYPE
CONCEPT Topical sketch comedy from some newcomers, including Jennifer Elise Cox, and some Mad TV vets.
THE SCOOP The show’s distinguishing trait is that it plays off media coverage of pop-cultural events, so shows like Entertainment Tonight are spoofed as friskily as the movie and TV stars they cover. Says coexec producer Lanier Laney, ”We are going to be much more impersonation and celebrity driven than SNL and Mad TV. Our cast is great at celebrity impersonations.” Adds colleague Terry Sweeney, a former SNL regular, ”[Hype] is our way of immunizing ourselves against the constant media bombardment.”
BOTTOM LINE Seems like SNL and Mad TV do an awful lot of impersonation and celebrity skewering, doesn’t it? And based on the presentation tape, this looks like more of the same — only paced like Laugh-In. We hope it’s funny, but to paraphrase Public Enemy, we don’t necessarily believe the Hype.

NIKKI
CONCEPT Vegas showgirl (Unhappily Ever After‘s Nikki Cox) marries a would-be pro wrestler (Nick von Esmarch)
THE SCOOP The pilot reveals that, while individually ingratiating, Cox and von Esmarch together have less chemistry than Pam Anderson and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Still, this is one of the more expensive new shows of the season. ”There are relatively big production numbers every week,” says Cox. ”Twenty dancers, a week of rehearsal, elaborate costumes, and lasers and lights and smoke. And also the wrestling — that’s a big deal.” Is she a fan? ”I have to be honest — I don’t know much about it … [But] I was a GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) fan as a little girl.”
BOTTOM LINE Inspires poetry: Just how low can lowbrow go?/Tune in once and watch this show.