On The Air
The latest news from the TV beat
The Surreal Deal
Give it up for Corey Feldman! Viewers are so taken by The Surreal Life — which features such C-level celebs as Feldman, M.C. Hammer, and Emmanuel Lewis living as L.A. roomies — that The WB has decided to bring it back as early as this summer with a new cast. The first season of Life (which ends Feb. 20) has not only improved on its 9 p.m. Thursday time slot by 65 percent among adults 18-34, it’s also juiced the careers of participants like Hammer, who’s shopping his own sitcom. ”When I initially called people to cast this show, no one wanted to do it. They were offended,” says WB senior VP Keith Cox. ”Now I think I’ll have to say no to people.” On Cox’s wish list: the King of Pop, whom he’s asked to appear in season 2. ”When we cast this show we look for people who are beloved, controversial, or iconic. And with Michael Jackson, you get all three,” says Cox. ”I think it would be an opportunity for him to show another side of himself to the American public.” Um, is there another side left to show?
Out of Practice
The rest of the season looks bright — at least creatively — for ABC’s The Practice. Not only is creator David E. Kelley (who was previously preoccupied with Fox’s girls club) writing most of the episodes, but he recruited Christopher Reeve to star in an upcoming installment about a paralyzed man whose wife is accused of murder. Whether anyone notices Kelley’s Midas touch is a different matter: The Practice has lost 19 percent of its viewers (11 million to 8.9 million) since ABC moved it Jan. 27 from Sundays to Mondays at 9 p.m. As a result, the drama went from winning its time slot to trailing in fourth place. ”We wish there was a shorter route back to Sundays,” says Dana Walden, president of Twentieth Century Fox Television, which produces the show. Nonetheless, ABC is holding out hope that ratings spike for The Practice once Fox’s juggernaut Joe Millionaire ends Feb. 24. Don’t count on it, says a rival scheduling executive: ”Essentially, it’s on a suicide mission.”
AND SO ON…
The Pitts are coming to Fox. No, not that wacky midseason sitcom about the world’s unluckiest family — we’re talking Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Following in the footsteps of wife Aniston, who voices a biker chick named Pepperoni Sue in King of the Hill’s Feb. 16 episode, Pitt will lend his pipes to the animated comedy’s eighth-season debut this fall. He guest-stars as Patch, Boomhauer’s womanizing (and, yep, incomprehensible) brother who’s engaged to the one gal whom Boomhauer truly loved. ”I can safely say he had a great time and we were big fans of his performance,” reports Hill executive producer John Altschuler, adding hopefully, ”We would love it if Brad came back and played some other brothers on the show.”