Question: Hi. My friend remembers an NBC TV show from four to five years ago where the main character slept in a box. He had a regular job but went home at night and slept in this box. The show was an hour-long drama and was a mid-season replacement which did not stay on the air very long. Do you remember the name of this show? Joe
Televisionary: The show in question is the dark and risky Profit, which ran on Fox for just four episodes in April of 1996.
Starring Adrian Pasdar, who's a heck of a lot more pleasant in Pax's current Mysterious Ways, the series focused on the psychopathic Jim Profit, a rising-star executive at a multinational conglomerate who'd stop at nothing nothing to claw his way to the top. It'd be far too easy to describe the show as merely a commentary on the "greed is good" attitudes of the '80s. It started there, true. But then it got a heck of a lot stranger.
Profit, whose real name was Jim Stakowski, was a junior veep of acquisitions at giant company Gracen & Gracen. With his combination of ruthlessness and ambition, however, business cards didn't mean much. Profit didn't intend to keep any title for long if there was another, better one to be had. The problem for all other Gracen employees was that Profit's methods included blackmail, assault, fraud, hypnosis and just about any other nefarious mean to an end.
And, as you say, Profit slept in a box... nude. Many of us find letting go of childhood difficult and young Jim was no different. He'd been confined to that same box as a lad, left with only a television visible through a single slot as his window on the world.
Not the most uplifting subject matter, true, but critics loved it and the show certainly deserved more of a chance than it got. (Insert obligatory "Today it'd be a hit for HBO" statement here.)
Unfortunately for Pasdar, he discovered that his fictional cutthroat exec was no match for the real thing. "We were not given the follow-through we were promised initially," the star told The Chicago Tribune sometime after Profit's cancellation. "Television is a business and, financially speaking, [network executives] have decisions and considerations that go far beyond the creative merit of the show. But at the same time, you'd like to believe in a man's word. When he shakes your hand and says he's going to stay with it, and doesn't, it's really frustrating in a way."
As his character said in a promo for the show, squashing a spider dismissively after describing its predatory prowess in detail: "Amateur."