On the Air
The latest news from the TV beat
Serves Him Write
HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm is largely billed as an improvisational comedy, but the Writers Guild of America isn’t quite sure. The union is so convinced that each episode of the Emmy-nominated show is partially scripted that it’s calling upon HBO to acknowledge the contribution of these uncredited writers by providing them with union benefits. (No scribes are listed in Curb’s credits.) ”There’s more to a screenplay than just the dialogue. There’s outlines, structure, character — all the various aspects that go into writing,” says WGA rep Cheryl Rhoden, who wouldn’t say how many writers she believes work for Curb. ”We will pursue all avenues to assure the writers receive all benefits.” Creator Larry David couldn’t be reached for comment, but he told EW this summer that he outlines each episode and his actors improvise the dialogue. An HBO spokeswoman said she’s aware of the WGA’s position but ”respectfully disagrees.” Sounds like an ”outline” for a future installment of Curb.
Reruns Take a Holiday
The Big Four nets are certainly in a gift-giving mood this holiday season: All are promising plenty of original programming in December. NBC, in particular, will break from the rerun rut by airing more specials and fresh episodes than it has in years. ”People do a lot more socializing during the holidays, but there are still viewers available,” says NBC head of scheduling Mitch Metcalf. ”So it doesn’t serve any purpose if we just repeat our regular schedule.” To that end, the Peacock will air the two-hour series finale of Providence (Dec. 20) and a special Christmas episode of American Dreams (Dec. 15). Since Fox carried baseball instead of regular series television for much of October, nearly all of its schedule will be new next month, including the return of Andy Richter Controls the Universe. Sixty-five percent of ABC’s schedule and nearly 60 percent of CBS’ will be original too. But don’t think the networks are above regifting this December: Look for the 34th airing of Frosty the Snowman on CBS and the 38th run of A Charlie Brown Christmas this year on ABC.
CBS felt compelled to drop Kim Delaney from CSI: Miami after only 10 episodes because ”she just didn’t play the role well,” says one source close to the show. After several episodes, observers say, the Emmy-winning actress had become so unbelievable as crime-scene investigator Megan Donner that writers began to cut back her part. ”It’s my understanding that the chemistry wasn’t there between [Delaney and David Caruso],” says her publicist. The actress’ last Miami appearance will air on Nov. 25; she won’t be replaced.
AND SO ON… Blood, guts, and more: NBC liked its small-screen remake of Carrie so much that it may turn the Stephen King story into a series. After the telefilm won its Nov. 4 time slot among teens and women 18-34, Jeff Gaspin, executive VP of programming, asked writer Bryan Fuller to pen a pilot that depicts Carrie as a sympathetic teen who’s not always in control of her supernatural powers. Says Gaspin: ”We like that the audience is already presold on the characters, so we think a series can break through the myriad of choices.”