The freshmen comedy evacuated after a powder substance was found

By Lynette Rice
November 13, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST
Off Center: Bill Reitzel

Making sitcoms has become a serious business in post?Sept. 11 Hollywood. For one thing, it’s no longer possible for John Q. Public to line up outside a television studio’s door waiting to catch a taping of, say, ”Everybody Loves Raymond” or ”Friends.” Security concerns have prompted sitcoms to rely solely on organizations that round up specially screened groups from military bases or colleges to fill the studio bleachers. Not that anyone’s complaining. ”Our first show back [after Sept. 11] was the best audience we’ve ever had,” says ”Yes, Dear” executive producer Greg Garcia. ”People were looking forward to getting out of the house and laughing.” But things got downright scary on The WB’s ”Off Centre” set last month, when a suspicious powder was found in (no joke) the make-up room, forcing a temporary shutdown of the freshman comedy. That was Burbank’s fifth anthrax scare that day, says ”Off Centre” executive producer Danny Zuker, who never believed it was the real deal anyway. ”We’re just this little show on The WB. You have to be a dumb terrorist to hit us. ‘ER’ is right next door, for chrissakes.”

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