EW's explains how to fix TV | EW.com


EW's explains how to fix TV

Gillian Anderson, get out of sci-fi! Give Jack Black a show! We offer this and more good advice about how to improve TV. Read our excerpt from Entertainment Weekly's May 24, 2002, cover story

Keri Russell, Charlie Sheen, ...

(Russell: Jeffery Thurner; Alexander: Kevin Winter/ImageDirect; Sheen: Robert Trachtenberg; Anderson: Frank Ockenfels 3)


Is your once-hit series running out of prime time? fear not, EW’s career counselors are standing by to help guide you back on the path to showbiz success. Just follow these simple pieces of advice:

GILLIAN ANDERSON If you don’t want to turn into the 21st-century equivalent of Nichelle Nichols, you need to steer away from sci-fi. No ”X-Files” movies, no conventions, and I don’t care if George Lucas himself offers you a part in the next ”Star Wars” movie, you turn him down. Shed your geek-goddess image with goofier roles. ”The X-Files”’ comedic episodes proved you can be funny – now do it without the aliens. If only somebody had told David Duchovny this before ”Evolution.”

JASON ALEXANDER You’re never going to top ”Seinfeld,” so why did you try another sitcom (especially one with a premise thinner than your hair)? Motivate yourself to return to your first love: musical theater (you won a Tony in 1989 for ”Jerome Robbins’ Broadway”, remember?). See if Mel Brooks needs a TV version of Max Bialystock.

CHARLIE SHEEN Golden Globe be damned, sitcoms are not your bag. Through two seasons of ”Spin City,” you never emerged from the tall shadow of your predecessor, Michael J. Fox. Call up your old ”Platoon” buddy Oliver Stone and see if he’ll produce a military drama series for you. Better yet, call up your old man and see if he can get you a gig on ”The West Wing” as the President’s long-lost love child.

REGIS PHILBIN You saved ABC’s prime-time bacon – at least until the network slaughtered the ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” franchise by piggishly overexposing it. Now the Alphabet needs late-night help since your pal Dave turned them down, and – despite the net’s decision to go with ”The Man Show”’s Jimmy Kimmel – you’re actually the guy for the job. You’ve got experience in the nocturnal-talk genre, having played sidekick on ABC’s ”The Joey Bishop Show” from 1967 to ‘69. You’re more likable than Bill Maher (granted, it’s not hard) and have better hair than Ted Koppel (ditto). Hell, you can even bring Gelman along.

KERI RUSSELL Let your hair down, literally and figuratively. Like Samson, your power lies in your mane, and that infamous haircut chopped years off ”Felicity”’s life span, so keep growing it. And while Ms. Porter initially seemed a poster child for collegiate angst, you were at your best when the Ben/Noel triangle was later played as a light romantic comedy. Get Nora Ephron to develop a sitcom for you, and you could become the small-screen Meg Ryan. After ”Kate & Leopold,” Lord knows we’re tired of the big-screen one.