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Dead Pool '98: Bring the Pain

TeeVee celebrated its second birthday about a week ago. Don't feel bad if you didn't make it to the party. The appetizers sucked, and Boychuk monopolized the karaoke machine all night long.

But the point is, in a day and age when Web sites can fold faster than a cheap card table, lasting for two rotations around the sun says something about us, the folks what provide you with all the yuks and the insights and the obvious grammatical errors. And no, it has nothing to do with our vainglorious desire for self-aggrandizement.

We've tried to entertain you -- the faceless, imponderable masses out there -- with the occasional witticism and infrequent studied analysis about the medium all of us love and hate and love to hate. And every now again, before the next spate of letters demanding naked pictures of Tori Spelling come rolling in, we like to think that we succeed more often than not. We give you folks humor, information, news you can use. And we throw in long, meandering analogies based on obscure pop culture references to shows like Salvage One and The Banana Splits at no cost to you, the home viewer.

But we know the real reason you've made us your Web site of choice in between those visits to the online sex chat rooms and the places you download that hardcore Swedish erotica. And it's the fabulous prizes we dole out to the lucky winners of our annual TeeVee Dead Pool.

If you look back at the first official article ever written for TeeVee -- and if you do, let me apologize right now, since I'm the author of the half-assed piece in question -- then you'd be intimately familiar with the rules and regulations of the Dead Pool. Years and years ago, when us Vidiots were getting our fancy book learning back in college, we would gather together each fall to wager on which shows would be the first to be yanked unceremoniously from the airwaves. Sure, the stakes were high -- a big prime rib dinner at our favorite restaurant went to the winner. But in the end, what mattered was the camaraderie, the esprit de corps, the je ne se quois. Who won our little Dead Pool every year wasn't important in the least. Especially since I never did.

Last year, we opened up our contest to you, our loyal and devoted readers. And we got dozens of entries, many of which we weren't forced to turn over to the authorities. In the end, our winner was Pat Dougherty, who, for her ability to spot doomed television programming, got to be squired around Manhattan on the arm of our own James Collier. The lucky gal!

Second place went to Canadian reader Sanj Arora, who still has not received the TeeVee T-shirt we promised. Sorry, Sanj, but a bunch of Mounties impounded your prize at a federal facility outside of Moosejaw. We hope to get that shirt to you, just as soon as Jean Chretien acknowledges our bribe.

And now, TeeVee readers, you get one more chance to best us Vidiots. Fall is here. The leaves are turning a gentle brown. The World Series is just around the corner. And the stench of death is in the air.

It's time once more for The 1998 TeeVee Dead Pool.


Scour through the 37 new shows that will lay siege to your senses this fall and pick out the three -- in order -- that you think will be the first to be canceled. If you correctly pick the first show, you get three points. Pick the second show, and you get two points. Pick the third show to go, and you get one. If any of the shows you picked gets canceled, but not in the order you picked it, you will be awarded half a point. Them that's got the most points is the winner, Hoss.

Also include the day you think the first show will be canceled. This will be used in the event of a tie.

And for the purposes of our little contest, yes, the WB and UPN count as real networks this year, as opposed to the glorified UHF stations we dismissed them as in the past.


Oh, do we have prizes for you! Diamonds! Furs! Twenty-year T-Bills. Stacks and stacks of folding green!

But we decided to keep those for ourselves. We're not running a charity ward here, after all.

Instead, we offer the winner a choice of: A Hillshire Farms cheese and sausage gift pack! An autographed copy of MTV's The Real World Diaries! A California State Lottery ticket! One of our long-awaited, this-year-we-promise-to-send-you-one TeeVee T-shirts! Or a dream dinner date with your favorite Vidiot! Assuming he's not already scheduled to do his court-ordered that evening, of course...


Send us your entries (to teevee@teevee.org) by Wednesday, September 23. (You may want to wait to read my handicapping of all the new series first.) And quit pestering us about when we're going to send those T-shirts out.


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