Television's castaways find new homes |


Television's castaways find new homes

For Andy Dick, Fran Drescher, and other stars of cancelled shows, other series may offer new homes

There may be life after Homicide: Life on the Street for Richard Belzer’s Det. John Munch. The comedian-actor recently announced on the Today show that his old character will likely join NBC’s new Law & Order spin-off, Special Victims Unit, ”if the network doesn’t screw it up.” (And what are the chances that could happen?)

This is great news for Homicide fans mourning the loss of their beloved Baltimore cops. It makes sense that Munch would be the one to make the jump. He always meshed well in the Homicide/Law & Order crossovers; his nutball conspiracy theories put him right at home in New York City. With Munch having wed barmaid Billie Lou (Ellen McElduff) in Homicide’s finale — the fourth marriage for both — you can see why they’d want to make a fresh start in a new town.

But why stop with Munch? There are plenty of other characters from discontinued shows who could find a new life on existing series. Take NewsRadio’s Matthew Brock (Andy Dick), for example. His kooky physical shtick could only help a laugh-starved sitcom like NBC’s Suddenly Susan, which has lost two of its male regulars with the defection of Judd Nelson and the death of David Strickland (who had partied with Dick the night before his suicide). While we’re at it, once Dick’s clean and sober, why not add Matthew to the cast of Susan’s weak new NBC Monday-night companion, Veronica’s Closet, as well? Hey, anything to keep Dick off the streets.

Another charity case, The Nanny’s Fran Drescher, could find work taking care of the kids on CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond. Star Ray Romano actually attended Queens’ Hillcrest High School with Drescher in the mid-’70s, so he’d be doing a solid for his homegirl. Besides, somebody needs to watch the Barones’ three brats (played by real-life siblings Madylin, Sullivan, and Sawyer Sweeten), who mysteriously always seem to be napping or playing in another room. Only one condition: Drescher shouldn’t get any more lines than the children do now. Like the little ones, she’s better seen and not heard.

Home Improvement’s Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), on the other hand, could get a job as a handyman on Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place. This shaky sitcom is in desperate need of a renovation, so Tim could level the joint and start rebuilding from the ground up. And in its vulnerable new 8 p.m. time slot on Wednesday, Two Guys will require a jolt of star power that non-household names Richard Ruccolo, Ryan Reynolds, and Traylor Howard can’t possibly supply. Heck, maybe ABC should just remake this show with Allen and his Tool Time sidekicks Richard Karn and Debbe Dunning.

Finally, what to do with the castaways of Mad About You? Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt are now too pricey to reemploy on TV, and we were never that mad about any of the supporting characters — except maybe Murray the Dog. Come to think of it, that pooch could give Frasier a boost. Eddie needs a playmate, and if there’s anything that America loves more than an adorable doggy, it’s two adorable doggies. If NBC execs want Frasier to deliver Seinfeld-size numbers in the Thursday-at-9 slot, they should seriously consider luring Murray back to the tube. Unless, of course, Kramer’s available.