Dan Snierson and Lynette Rice
February 22, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

Boogie Fever
Don’t expect to see the same old song and dance on the 100th episode of That ’70s Show. Producers of the Fox Me-Decade comedy plan to mark the occasion this April by creating a full-on musical episode. ”It’s really not too much of a departure for us because we’ve had a lot of musical fantasies and choreographed numbers in the past,” says ’70s exec producer Jackie Filgo, who believes there’s ample room for a different take on the genre beyond the recent offerings from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Drew Carey Show. The ’70s riff will take us inside the brain of Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) just before his performance in the school’s Spring Sing concert. The Who’s Roger Daltrey will guest-star as an overbearing music teacher, and there’ll be revamped covers of retro classics, including ”Love Hurts” and ”Happy Together.” Does that mean all of the actors will be showing off their vocal range? ”They’re a really game cast—they’ll do anything,” assures Jeff Filgo, Jackie’s husband and fellow exec producer. ”If we have some cast members that aren’t comfortable singing, we’ll figure out a way to dub them…. But we’ll make a joke out of it and own [up to] it, instead of trying to trick people.”

Ground Zero-ing In
CBS and HBO are about to put America’s desire for ”comfort food” programming on hold by offering reminders of why we longed for such light entertainment in the first place. Both nets have Sept. 11 documentaries planned, for March (CBS) and May (HBO), and the Eye is in the early stages of developing a telefilm about Flight 93 from Newark (which crashed in a Pennsylvania field during the attacks). The docs were shot by folks who were in the wrong place at the right time: The HBO special will feature nearly an hour of amateur video from Ground Zero and include narration by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani; the CBS project contains raw footage from French filmmakers Gedeon and Jules Naudet, who were in New York to shoot a documentary about firefighters but wound up capturing rare plane-impact shots and scenes of the North Tower evacuation. CBS briefly debated whether viewers wanted to see more devastation footage from New York, but ultimately found the doc too powerful to keep under wraps. ”If somebody came to you [with] a roll of film from the battle of Normandy that showed incredible courage and determination, wouldn’t you want to share that?” says CBS News’ Susan Zirinsky, who will exec-produce the project. ”This material is riveting, it’s moving, it’s important, but it’s not graphic.”

Alphabet Soup
First, the bad news: ABC picked up According to Jim, starring Jim Belushi, for next season. Now the really bad news: The far more worthy Once and Again may not be so lucky. ABC will relaunch the Sela Ward drama on March 4 in its old 10 p.m. Monday time slot — its fifth since debuting in 1999 — but creator Marshall Herskovitz is not feeling hopeful about a season 4 with the Manning-Sammler clan. ”I don’t think the show is necessarily on its last legs, but the reality [is], the show has lost its audience considerably by being on Friday nights. It would take some kind of remarkable turn of events for people to find us on Mondays.” At least he’s not alone in his suffering. Other critical faves, like ABC’s The Job and Fox’s 24 and Undeclared, remain in limbo (of the four shows, 24 attracts the most viewers, with a lackluster 8.7 million). As for the status of O&A — which averages only 6.3 million — Herskovitz is trying to be the bigger man by not blaming ABC. ”It’s not that the network executives don’t care about quality,” he reasons, ”they just understand that quality is not a guarantor of ratings.”

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