Leah Greenblatt
January 13, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

While Death Cab and Killers guest spots at The O.C.‘s Bait Shop are old news, a new show on CBS about a thirtysomething A&R guy (Ed‘s Tom Cavanagh) whose job it is to seek out fresh, untested talent every day may be offering some stiff competition. The hour-long Love Monkey, premiering Jan. 17, unfolds against the backdrop of real New York City music venues, and cameos from established names like LeAnn Rimes and Ben Folds have already been announced. But the show’s music supervisor, radio tastemaker and author Nic Harcourt, says his interest lies mainly with ”bands on the cusp,” among them She Wants Revenge, Robbers on High Street, and Si*Sé. ”The show is about music,” he says. ”It isn’t just in there to underscore an emotional moment.”

Which is good news for the John Mayer-ish Teddy Geiger. The lanky, disarmingly sloe-eyed 17-year-old recently scored a contract with Columbia, which will release his debut album, Underage Thinking, on March 21; but it’s as Wayne Jensen, Monkey‘s fictional muse, that Geiger expects to gain the most notice.

The self-taught singer-songwriter’s informal CBGB jam session with Cavanagh in the opening episode is a long way from bedroom rehearsals in his Rochester, N.Y., home. Growing up, he says with a laugh, there was ”a lot of Barry Manilow…and my dad has, like, Jewel and a Supertramp CD in his car.”

His own original compositions impressed show creator Michael Rauch, however, and the first-time actor worked out so well, says Rauch, ”that I decided I wanted to have it be a season-long story line. We can use Teddy’s character as a vehicle for showing the audience what an indie label does when it signs a new artist.” Seth Cohen would surely tune in for that.

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