RIGHT MOVES: Apparently ABC Entertainment president Jamie Tarses found time for work amid all the speculation on her future with the network. Tarses and ABC have landed Something So Right, the freshman sitcom canceled by NBC at the end of last season. Performance wasn’t terrible: Something had been regularly making the top 40 on Tuesdays at 8:30. But the Peacock felt the slot could do better and chose to give it to the underperforming NewsRadio this fall. Universal, which produces Something, was devastated by the cancellation: The show had looked like a bright spot in the studio’s struggling TV division; Universal even rewarded the sitcom’s creators, Judd Pillot and John Peaslee, with a multimillion-dollar development deal.
But fortunately for Universal, Tarses moved to ABC. In her former position as senior vp at NBC, she helped develop Something So Right. When the Peacock began making noises about cutting it loose last spring, Tarses met with Universal execs in the hopes of cutting an ABC deal. That caused NBC to reconsider the show, prompting rumors it would return as a mid-season replacement. ABC did the next best thing, signing Something star Jere Burns (who costars with Mel Harris) to a development deal. That way, if NBC passed, ABC would be halfway home to landing the series. It worked. Now NBC is miffed ABC might make a hit out of one of its rejects — something the Peacock had already done to ABC with 3rd Rock From the Sun.
The interesting dilemma for ABC will be where to put Something once it returns next season. The ideal spot would be between the family comedies Soul Man and Home Improvement — coincidentally, Tuesdays at 8:30. For the moment, however, that slot is set for Over the Top, a sitcom developed for ABC by none other than Tarses’ ex-flame, Robert Morton.
AND SO ON… Something So Right isn’t the only show finding new life. Fox, which lost to ABC in last spring’s Arsenio Hall bidding war, is talking with the onetime late-night yakker about a possible series. It’s unlikely Fox would try to save Arsenio, which tanked on ABC; odds are better that it would develop a new project — and hope that viewers have very short memories.