Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scripts ‘R’ Us

With TV and film writers on strike, the networks are looking desperately for new reality shows to fill the potential void – reality being less expensive than fiction out there in LaLaLand.

A couple years ago, my friend and ace gearjammer Rufus Sideswipe envisioned a trucking reality show outlined in the March-April issue of Land Line Magazine. He’d just like to let the networks know the concept is available, that a bunch of Land Line readers loved the idea and wondered when it would air, and that the network people should call his people.

Meanwhile, though, maybe the moguls should take a page from the late Ronald Reagan, who as president fired striking air traffic controllers. Let the writers strike, let ’em hang, and let the viewers submit story ideas. That way the people can decide what they want to watch in living rooms, bars, truckers’ lounges and sleepers.

I’ve got a few ideas myself, building on the premise that the only new concepts that fly in Hollywood – or New York – are ones that have already succeeded. And what’s better than two or more concepts mashed up into one show? “CSI” and “Without a Trace” are already doing that this week.

Examples:

“Ocean’s 300” – A stalwart group of hip, abdominally over-fit con artists make a desperate last stand in Las Vegas as thousands of winter-sick Midwestern senior citizen tours mount tour buses and seek to ravage the nickel slots and free buffets.

“Fox and Ugly Betty” – “Fox and Friends,” the early morning gabfest that pretends to be news, remains popular because the producers keep babes with great legs and short skirts dead-center in the screen. Let’s see sparks fly with a less-attractive but far more intelligent gal in there!

“CSI-Rachel Ray” – Every week, Rache kills off an audience member with some mysterious ingredient in her recipes. The CSI team (here that would stand for Cooking School Investigators) must race to identify the ingredient before the entire audience is forced to sample the deadly dish.

“Friday Night Lost” – A group of high school football players, their girlfriends and coaches are marooned in a remote, falling-down football stadium after their school bus runs off the road and onto the field as they are returning from a game. Stalked by mysterious beings known as The Other Side, they must use their wits to survive and ultimately, to find the showers.

“Late Night with Grey’s Anatomy ER” – Bending rules and catheters, this manic-depressive bunch of neurotic surgeons and comely nurses will keep you in stitches as they fall in and out of love, favor and their scrubs while sewing up members of the urban Knife and Gun Club.

“Dirty Sexy Cavemen” – Guys, I think we all know that women like us best with some stubble and that subtly aromatic hint of having worked all day. I know my women love a whiff of diesel and some fifth-wheel grease under my nails. And that slightly piney hint of air freshener. That’s why we get such great attention at home, right? Right? Hello …?

“Without a Trace and Cold Case” – This idea never got off the ground. They thought about combining titles into one show, but “Without a Cold” sounded like a medical drama, while “Trace Case” could be either a show about trying to find a lost shipment or about some cheesy private detective.

“Extreme Makeover – The Bionic Woman Edition” – Oh, wait – That IS the concept, isn’t it?

“Saturday Night Dancing with Desperate Housewives” – I think you can guess the plotline on this one.