True TV | Very Bad Things: Stolen scripts, “stolen cable”'it all evens out. | True TV | Salt Lake City Weekly

True TV | Very Bad Things: Stolen scripts, “stolen cable”'it all evens out. 

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A terrible thing has happened. Actually, two terrible things have happened. Could be three, if you want to count the utter lack of new television happenings for The Only TV Column That Matters™ to hack about this week. I know I do—in a few paragraphs, you may feel the same way.

First of all, according to a recent Variety news item, there’s a “single-camera workplace comedy percolating in the script stage at ABC … The Weekly is set in the office of a dishy alternative weekly publication and blog.” Sound familiar? That’s right, you in the back, wearing the rumpled Army surplus jacket and X-Files T-shirt: I wrote this mothereffer four years ago!

Sort of.


Anyway: City Weekly was a sitcom pilot script I submitted to the Bravo reality-competition series Situation: Comedy in 2004. Since NBC’s Americanized version of The Office had not yet arrived to make us rethink/reject the old gag-laugh-applause-syndicate it! rhythm of the traditional multicamera sitcom, the entries for Situtation: Comedy—including mine—were all standard-issue crap. IMHO, City Weekly (a workplace comedy kinda based on life and people in this paper’s office) was waaay better than the scripts that were ultimately chosen by producer Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) and his crew, but it still had that death-stench of ’90s snark about it.

Much like me (beat you to it, Chandler Bing).

After Situation: Comedy bombed in ’05, the “winning” sitcom never got picked up and Sean Hayes sank into obscurity (read: Broadway), so I forgot all about my newspaper comedy. Besides, what was the last good TV series about print monkeys? Lou Grant? And The Weekly sounds more like a tabloid-y gossip rag (“dishy” being the dead giveaway), much like the one in The Naked Truth, a Tea Leoni sitcom ABC already produced and canceled … in 1995! Let’s not even mention FX’s recently buried Dirt, OK?

As shows about “legitimate” publications (like this one—quit laughing!) go, the only not-eye-gougingly-lousy one in recent memory was MTV’s The Paper, a reality series about a Florida high school newspaper. If you think that was loaded with angst and drama, I invite you to drop by the City Weekly offices on Tuesday afternoon deadline sometime. Drama, broken hearts, tears, cute fashion accessories—we have it all.

Nutshell: TV shows about newspapers are as doomed as newspapers themselves. And even if The Weekly turns out funny, it’ll still be on ABC, home to many a funny-yet-canceled single-camera/no-laugh-track sitcom in recent memory. Sure, Samantha Who? is still on, but that’s only because Christina Applegate sold her soul to Mickey, er, Satan.

The other terrible thing? My HBO was cut off last week! Granted, I don’t actually subscribe to HBO and, until the September return of Entourage and the debut of True Blood, there’s not much reason to do so—unless you really have to catch up on Cathouse: The SeriesReal Sex 55: Hot Karl Artisans. or

But, for the last several years, the local cable monopoly may or may not have been inadvertanly supplying households with free, unfiltered HBO on channel 6 (straight coaxial, bypassing the digital box). I’m not sayin.’ I’m just sayin,’ all that’s on 6 now is “HBO is not avail on this channel.” I could be missing today’s showing of Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, and you can’t even spell out “available” for me? I! Am! Outraged!

Now, if HBO just happened to be on that channel all these years, and I just happened to watch it from time to time, was it technically stealing? Or was it fair game? Not to be confused with Fair Game, the awesome-awful 1995 Cindy Crawford action flick that I’m sure HBO is running at least twice this weekend. Oh, man …

I’ll be awaiting your condolences and/or PayPal donations.


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Code Monkeys: Season 1
From the creator of Minoriteam (so why didn’t he just make more of those?) comes the 8-bit animated series about an ’80s videogame company that’s almost as funny as Pitfall. If you don’t get that, avoid this show at all costs. (

Get Smart: Season 1
The 1965 prequel to this summer’s Steve Carrell/Anne Hathaway action blockbuster, starring Don Adams and Barbara Feldon as agents of Control, battling the evil forces of KAOS. Why are they evil? They can’t spell “chaos.” (

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The Hive
Millions of flesh-eating ants are devouring Brazil (and Brazilians), and only a hot entomologist and Tom Wopat can stop them! Other than equating ants with hives, usually the home of bees, it’s totally scientific and plausible! (
Miss Conception
When a 30-something woman (Heather Graham) with a ticking biological clock sets out to have a baby by any means necessary, sperm-flinging wackiness ensues! Well, not literally, as that would be sick and inefficient. (
Sunset Tan: Season 1
So there’s this show on E! about a bunch of pinheads who work in a Hollywood tanning salon—and they squeezed a whole 12-episode season out of it! And get this: There’s a whole ’nother season coming soon! God bless ’Merica! (

More New DVD Releases (Aug. 5)
Abe’s Tomb, Baby Blues, Ben 10: Season 4, Black Ribbon, Carmen, The Counterfeiters, Dracula’s Guest, Family Ties: Season 4, Hotel Babylon: Season 2, The Killing of John Lennon, Life In Cold Blood, A Lobster Tale, My Brother Is an Only Child, Nim’s Island, Queen Sized, Robin Hood: Season 2, Rogue, Wasted, When I Find the Ocean

Listen to Bill Mondays at 8 a.m. on X96’s Radio From Hell. Sperm-flinging blogging at Even more True TV linkage at and on Facebook.

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