Question: Love your column! Have you seen Bravo's reality/Sean Hayes-produced Situation: Comedy? I saw one episode and found it very interesting to get an insider's look at developing a TV comedy. But I found one thing disturbing: One of the two winning sitcom ideas was about a girl not sure about which of two men is her biological father. Hellooo? Does anyone remember an '80s series called My Two Dads? (Gee... maybe the title would be a giveaway). What's worse is the NBC programming chief called it a fresh idea — and My Two Dads aired on NBC! Hey, maybe I can sell my idea about two supercool undercover cops who drive fast Ferrari cars and wear pastel suits and have a pet alligator and live in Montana! Montana Vice! I love it!
Answer: Surely you know that no self-respecting programmer, not even on NBC, would buy a show set in a "fly-over" state like Montana. But seriously, the lack of originality in TV gets even worse. There's a midseason comedy for WB, Misconceptions, that has nearly the same exact premise as the projected pilot on the Bravo show (single mom discovers the sperm donor isn't who he was cracked up to be). One of the best things about Situation: Comedy is that, in microcosm, you get an idea of why so many sitcoms turn out so badly, especially where NBC is concerned. (Speaking of doing badly, the show is being moved to Fridays at 7 pm/ET, a sure sign that Bravo is disappointed in its ratings.)