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ABC: Everything's Coming Up Regis!

Poor Regis Philbin. The king of prime time, the man who singlehandedly saved ABC from irrelevance, will no longer be the most ubiquitous face on television. Yes, it's a sad day for all Americans. Thanks to ABC's decision to cut back on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, viewers who need to see the feisty Phlibinator more than twice a week will have to wake up early and catch Live with Regis and Kelly Lee.

With Regis shoved to the sideline, ABC has room to premiere five new shows, two comedies and three dramas. Oh, sure, you could go to all the trouble of memorizing the new shows with their new stars and new writers, but what's the point? All it takes is one look at ABC's fall schedule press release to realize that Regis will be back on the air four nights a week by Halloween.

So, as a tribute to the Alphabet Network's most important star, we've slightly modified the following descriptions of what you'll see on ABC come September. The sad part is, you probably won't be able to tell the difference... and we like our version a whole lot more.

In Alias (Sundays, 9:00), Regis Philbin stars as a "vivacious, athletic grad student" with a heart of gold who also happens to be a sexy secret agent for the CIA's top secret SD-6 division. Apparently the Backstreet Boys are hiding secret terrorist messages in their songs, forcing the U.S. Government to recruit freshman co-eds into the intelligence community.

Regis has spent the past several years as both student and sassy spy, successfully concealing his secret identity. Except for that time he accidentally handed in an Lit 101 term paper entitled "Known Bolshevik Operatives In Latvia" just before briefing the CIA Director on "Fairies and Sprites As Metaphors in 16th Century Welsh Iambic Pentameter."

It's been an exciting few years for Regis -- sorority initiation, internship with Maybeline, assassinating the Albanian foreign minister -- but now that life is about to get even more exciting. Regis' boyfriend has just proposed and in a fit of pre-marital honesty, Regis has spilled the beans on his secret career. Now Regis' fiance is running for his life and Regis discovers -- surprise! -- his fellow spies may not be as nice as he thought they were. Throw in some frat brother terrorists (the Phi Kapp Jihad) holding the dean for five kegs in ransom and you've got yourself a show.

(Actual Fact Alert: The star of Alias was in "Dude, Where's My Car." How could it not be great?)

In Bob Patterson (Tuesdays, 9:00), former Seinfeld cast member Regis Philbin stars as motivational speaker Bob Patterson. Which is funny, because Regis is a short, bald, self-absorbed, whiny neurotic with a heart of gold. Yes, it's nice to see Regis fight so hard against being typecast. This could have been a decent premise, but judging from ABC's description it's actually more about finding self-esteem than about Regis as a self-involved infomercial huckster.

In Philly (Tuesdays, 10:00) NYPD Blue auteur Regis Philbin turns the camera on the other side of jurisprudence in a drama revolving around a young defense attorney always fights the good fight. Former NYPD Blue star Regis Philbin stars as Kathleen Maguire, the sassy lawyer with a heart of gold who also happens to be a single mother. Maguire's ex-husband is Regis Philbin, the notorious Philadelphia D.A, and his former partner is now doing time in the loony bin. Oy vey!

The Dad (Wednesdays, 8:30) is the latest in a long line of Home Improvement clones, this one featuring Regis Philbin as a beer-swilling, football-watching dad with a heart of gold. But when you add in a few bratty kids, a sassy wife, and a wacky neighbor, the fun begins as... ah, screw it, why am I wasting my time? You know the drill just as well as I do.

Too bad The Dad doesn't star Regis' vastly more talented, long-dead brother. Samurai Dad or Bumblebee Dad would be a hell of a show.

Thieves (Fridays, 9:00) stars former Full House hunk Regis Philbin as Johnny, a master thief with a heart of gold who gets nabbed by the FBI pulling the biggest job of his career. The Feds give Johnny and his sassy partner Rita a choice: work for the government or spend life in the ol' gray-bar hotel. Guess which one they choose?

Yep, prison. Surprisingly, Thieves has little to do with stealing and everything to do with Johnny's journey from high-class crook to prison bitch. In fact, the producers originally wanted to call the show Prison Bitch, but decided against it when they learned Fox will be airing a reality show with the same name. They fooled around with Pretty Boy Prison Bitch, but Regis had problems with being called a "pretty boy." Prison Bitch With A Heart Of Gold and Sassy The Prison Bitch were also considered before being discarded in favor of Thieves.

Thieves is noteworthy for one reason and one reason only: It is the clear favorite to take this year's TeeVee Dead Pool. Judging from ABC's other rookies, though, it should have plenty of competition. Let's hope Regis has some extra work lined up for when his show inevitably goes down the drain.


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