The latest news from the TV beat
Remake It Big
Bea Arthur, call your agent: Several shows from TV’s past may get a second lease on life this fall. NBC — which has already ordered new episodes of the ’80s cop drama Hunter to air on Saturdays this spring — is developing a modern-day Monkees with American Idol producer Simon Fuller. Fox has a remake of Mister Ed in the works, UPN is working with Aaron Spelling on a new version of his ’80s hit Hotel, and The WB wants to bring back yet another incarnation of Tarzan. Though it’s only in the script stage, NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker is already singing a happy tune about The Monkees, an updated version of the classic ’60s comedy that will chronicle the search for four young men who can sing, dance, and act goofy for the camera. (The gang may even recut ”I’m a Believer.”) ”Look at what’s going on in TV right now, with unscripted programming and musical talent,” says Zucker. ”The Monkees combines all of that.” As for the retro trend, Zucker is highest on Hunter, which he decided to order after the Nov. 16 reunion movie pulled in 10.5 million viewers. ”The biggest mistake that happens with so many remakes is that they don’t have the actual stars. We have Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer, who you loved years ago.” To be fair, we don’t think it’s an option for Fox to get the original Mister Ed.
End Games Critics who deride CBS’ Yes, Dear as just another bland familycom obviously haven’t sat through the last 30 seconds of the show. That’s when executive producers Greg Garcia and Alan Kirschenbaum get their crazies out by writing short fantasy segments, or tags, that run during the credits and often have little or nothing to do with the episode (a la Roseanne). Consider recent tags in which a semi-bald Kim (Jean Louisa Kelly) commiserates with Greg (Anthony Clark) about her secret use of Rogaine, or the one where Poison’s Bret Michaels croons ”Every Rose Has Its Thorn” while serving pancakes to the entire clan. ”I either want to make the audience laugh or go, ‘What?’ One of those two,” says Garcia, who claims the tags have generated their own fan following. Says Garcia, ”Occasionally when a tag isn’t crazy and it actually wraps up the story, I feel like a complete failure.”
The Dating Shame Move over, Trista Rehn: Anna Nicole Smith is on the hunt for a honey too! And she’ll pick her prince live when her namesake reality show returns at 10 p.m. March 2 on E!. But unlike her blond counterpart on ABC’s The Bachelorette, Smith will weed out the bum bachelors by subjecting them to a Meet My Folks-style lie detector test. Instead of rewarding her final pick with a rose, Smith will hand them her favorite snack, a pickle. ”It could be a big disaster on national cable TV, but I think I’ve intentionally blocked out what could happen,” says Jeff Shore, E!’s executive in charge of production, who already faced a minor disaster in having to explain the concept to Smith. ”She asked what ‘live’ meant. I explained it’s where the cameras go into her house, and it immediately shows up on TVs across the country. She said, ‘That’s sort of what we’re doing anyway,’ and I said, ‘Uh, right.”’ Genius.