Printer Friendly

IT'S TIME FOR SHOW TO GO ON.

Byline: KEVIN MODESTI

To: Jerry Buss, Producer, the Lakers

From: C. Moore Greenbacks, VP in Charge of Bottom Line, NBC

Re: Stale scripts

Just a coupla thoughts about the direction of the show so far this season.

Jerry. Doc. Baby. You know I've loved your work over the years. As I was telling people here at the network, the Lakers are the most inventive drama-slash-comedy we've put on the air since ``B.J. and the Bear.''

Fantastic mix of nutty characters and off-the-wall plots, and it's great the way the good guys win in the end. I never thought you fellas could top the hijinks with little Nick Van Exel and the soap-opera stuff with Mrs. Rice, to say nothing of the Dennis Rodman show-within-the-show.

Then, last year, you come up with this Shaq vs. Kobe plotline and ratings go through the roof. Imagine! The two greatest basketball players in the world on the same team and it's nothing but feuding and backstabbing. It only proves nothing is too outrageous for prime time.

Topping that was going to be hard to pull off. Which brings me to the reason for this note. Don't take this personally.

I've seen a few of the early shows this season and I've looked at the scripts. This ... isn't ... working.

Look, just a fat guy in a nice suit with a corner office and a place in the Hamptons talking here, but I think you're getting away from what made you a hit.

A sense of danger: Last year, the team is lost in space for three- quarters of the season, and the audience bites its nails wondering if they can pull the ship out of the nosedive. This year, the team wins seven games before the first shampoo commercial. Dullsville. Everybody's switching over to ``Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.''

Egos colliding: Last year, Shaquille O'Neal vs. Kobe Bryant, that was genius stuff. This year, Shaq vs. Phil Jackson? What gives? It's a soft imitation of your own plot.

Edgy supporting characters: Last year, you've got J.R. Rider, he's always up to no good, everybody's afraid of what he'll do next. This year, what? We're supposed to be afraid of who? Joe Crispin?

Far as I can tell, the No. 2 subplot so far this year is Rick Fox's shooting slump. As if your audience is ever going to feel sorry for Rick Fox. Let's see, he's rich, handsome, articulate and married to Vanessa Williams, but his scoring average is a little off. America's heart bleeds!

And the No. 1 subplot is this Shaq-Phil ``feud.'' Give me a break. No real-life newspaper would even put that story on the front page. Borrr-ing!

First, there's nothing original about an athlete getting mad about a little criticism from the coach. They were doing that way back in ``The Bill Cosby Show.'' The first Bill Cosby show.

Second, it's not really a feud unless both guys are feuding. OK, Shaq's a little cranky, in between cracking jokes. But Phil's grinning about the whole thing.

I saw the episode where Phil talked to the press the day before the game against the Clippers. One of the reporters asked if everything was peaceful, and Phil said, ``You know, there never was anything.'' Gee, that's riveting dialogue. It was all I could do not to flip over to the Food Channel.

Third, it's a weak rip-off, formula stuff, and here at the network we never stand for that. Shaq-Kobe was edge-of-the-couch material because those guys had to go out on the court and share the ball. Last I checked, Shaq's snit wasn't preventing him from leading the league in scoring.

Maybe you've seen that Web site called ``jumptheshark.com.'' It's all about ``Chronicling the Moments When TV Shows Go Downhill.'' The title refers to the night on ``Happy Days'' when Fonzie - leather jacket and all - got on water skis and did a daredevil jump over some penned-up Jaws.

For some shows, that moment comes when two characters get married, when a ``special guest star'' joins the cast, or when Ted McGinley joins the cast.

I'm afraid that for the Lakers, that moment might have come when you dusted off the business about the coach-player feud.

Of course, I wouldn't be saying this if I didn't think there's time to repair the damage and restore ``The Lake Show'' to its rightful status as the jewel of NBC's Sunday schedule. Tell your writers to get cracking.

With the economy, the network can't afford either a Shark or Dennis Rodman.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 20, 2001
Words:756
Previous Article:UCLA TOO MUCH BRUINS WEAR DOWN HOUSTON IN SEASON OPENER UCLA 71, HOUSTON 60.
Next Article:HEALING VOLLEYBALL HELPS HER PEPPERDINE PLAYER DEAL WITH HER GRIEF.


Related Articles
ARE `BEST' LAUGHS COMING SOON?
SPORTS MEDIA OUTLETS ACCEPT THEIR PLACE.
NO MIAMI-FSU - DEAL WITH IT.
MANAGERS WILL HAVE THE LAST SAY.
FULL-SERVICE OLBERMANN.
COMIC LAID THE GROUNDWORK TO JOIN MNF STAFF YEARS AGO.
NO TRIVIAL PURSUIT FOR DONOHO AT FOX SPORTS NET, HE HAS TIME TO REPORT.
THIS YEAR'S SHOW SHOULD BE A HALL OF A TIME.
GARCIA PUTS IN DOUBLE SHIFT OF SPORTS, NEWS.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters