Welcome Home... To MSNBCBS
Personally, we're in favor of the deal, and not just because it makes for awkward office Christmas parties when Jay Leno runs into David Letterman. No, tossing NBC and CBS into the same blender and hitting the "puree" button is the right thing to do simply because it combines the best of both worlds. Aging sitcoms meet aged audiences. Shameless self-promotion hooks up with stodgy self-satisfaction.
Just like a curious monk named Gregor Mendel, we can't help but wonder what might happen if the networks start breeding for sure-fire blockbuster formulas. What recessive traits will rise to the fore?
Come and look at the programming Punnett square we've cobbled using an old TV Guide, our notes from freshman biology, and our years of observing what qualifies as "success" to network types. We hope you'll agree, the results are not just Must-See TV; it's a brave new network. Welcome Home to...
L.A. E/R: Doctors deal with gritty emergency-room crises and a host of personal problems while running a lucrative private practice in sunny California on the side. The good news: Roger Cross and Peter Benton duke it out after they can't agree on which one is more emotionally repressed but touched by a loved one's health problems. But the bad news: Dr. Carter hits on Dr. Sarah Church -- and spends May sweeps dancing with a midget in the Black Lodge.
Mad About Raymond: Paul and Jamie Buchman finally come to terms with the fact they're no longer hip enough to live in Manhattan. They wind up buying the Long Island house recently abandoned by Frank and Marie Barone and spend most of their time over at Raymond's house, driving him crazy with their constant kvetching. Debra Barone doesn't notice.
Dateline II: Dateline correspondents Len Cannon, Victoria Corderi, Bob Costas, Ann Curry, Steve Daniels, Dawn Fratangelo, Ed Gordon, David Gregory, Chris Hansen, John Hockenberry, Sara James, Hoda Kotbe, Josh Mankiewicz, Bob McKeown, and Keith Morrison are spun off into their own news show. From time to time, Stone Phillips and Jane Pauley stop by to tell tales about "classic" Dateline stories from the early '90s.
Touched by a Friend: The downtrodden and hopeless are driven to suicide when Rachel and Phoebe attempt secular humanist outreach.
Martial Law & Order: Sammo Hung joins Lennie Brisco and Rey Curtis in rounding up the Big Apple's murdering miscreants and thugs by occasionally kicking them in the head. Unfortunately, Hung's unorthodox interpretation of the Miranda Rights leaves Jack McCoy shaking with anger as all his Murder-2 cases walk due to technicalities.
48 Hours of Dateline: In an effort to call the public's attention to the dangers of aging TV commentators, Dateline producers rig Andy Rooney to explode.
Frasier: Texas Ranger: Reeling from his recent mistreatment at the hands of the Seattle job market, Frasier Crane reads What Color is Your Parachute? and decides to rededicate his life to serving up frontier justice to the Lone Star state's murdering miscreants and thugs. Niles visits during sweeps week, and turns visibly green as he realizes exactly where his new calfskin driving moccasins come from.
Jesse's JAG: Spurned by Diego, Jesse goes on a three-day coke jag, and only a jet-flying Navy lawyer can talk her down from the 12th story ledge. Guest cameo by Jennifer Aniston (see above).
Nash Bridges: Life on the Street: Long-suffering Lieutenant Giardello moves to San Francisco, and attempts to recreate that old Crockett-and-Tubbs chemistry with Nash. Inexplicably, 20/20 rises in the ratings.
Dateline's Candid Camera: Dateline correspondents Len Cannon, Victoria Corderi, Bob Costas, Ann Curry, Steve Daniels, Dawn Fratangelo, Ed Gordon, David Gregory, Chris Hansen, John Hockenberry, Sara James, Hoda Kotbe, Josh Mankiewicz, Bob McKeown, and Keith Morrison are each told they're replacing Stone Phillips as principal anchor on the show. Their jubilant responses -- and subsequent attempts to save face when they realize Phillips is standing behind them -- are taped and aired before a studio audience.
Becker's Closet: Veronica loses her business and is forced to work as a barmaid in a bar frequented by the surly Becker. Both of them experience palpable deja vu, but never really figure out why.
Dateline Says the Darnedest Things: After sucking the newsmagazine genre dry, Dateline correspondents Len Cannon, Victoria Corderi, Bob Costas, Ann Curry, Steve Daniels, Dawn Fratangelo, Ed Gordon, David Gregory, Chris Hansen, John Hockenberry, Sara James, Hoda Kotbe, Josh Mankiewicz, Bob McKeown, and Keith Morrison begin interviewing children.
Just Shoot the Nanny: It's not a sitcom; it's wish fulfillment.
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