Viewers have been anything but guarded about CBS’ The Guardian this season. The sophomore law drama starring the steamy Simon Baker has managed to remain in second place on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. with 12 million-plus viewers, despite heated competition from Fox’s 24 (up a staggering 31 percent over last year) and The WB’s Smallville (up 24 percent). In fact, the Feb. 25 episode – in which Baker’s love interest, Lulu (Wendy Moniz), recovered from a devastating car accident – pulled in 13.8 million fans, making it the second-most-watched episode this season. ”It’s been a dogfight all year in that time slot,” admits executive producer David Hollander. ”We’ve been asking CBS to [individualize] our show. With all due respect to the shows that surround us [JAG and Judging Amy], we are a totally different entity.” Especially since The Guardian actually appeals to viewers under 80.
If you think there is far too much reality fare on TV, then you might want to avoid the boob tube this May: The Big Four networks plan to air at least as much reality as they did in February. Fox (no surprise) was the most aggressive, devoting 41 percent of its schedule to realities like Joe Millionaire and American Idol. But it also won the sweeps month for the first time among young adults, so expect more unscripted specials – plus the finale of Idol – to air on the network in May. ABC, which devoted 33 percent of its February slate to reality TV, will stretch All-American Girl into May along with The Bachelor and Extreme Makeover. CBS and NBC both set aside 14 percent of their schedules to unscripted endeavors in February, and in May the Eye will have Survivor: The Amazon and Star Search, while new episodes of Fear Factor and more programs to be announced will run on the Peacock. Says one Big Four scheduling exec, ”I don’t know why anybody would change courses with their reality lineup, coming off what they considered a successful February.”
AND SO ON…
Little bowwow may get his own gig on NBC! No, not the young rapper, but Frasier’s Eddie. Costars Peri Gilpin and Jane Leeves are developing a prime-time movie for the pooch called My Life as a Dog. ”It’s a beautifully written long-form special,” says Gilpin, who has a Paramount-based production company with Leeves. She even coerced her fellow Frasier friends to take part – though it took more than a bit of arm-twisting to persuade Kelsey Grammer. ”Regretfully, I’m probably going to be a part of it. It’s on the periphery of my concern,” he says. Grammer’s more focused on the comedy’s May season ender, which he promises will boast ”a huge, huge moment” with Roz (Gilpin)…. Dust off the ottoman: Carl Reiner says he’s in talks with CBS to revive The Dick Van Dyke Show as a one-hour reunion special starring Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, and other members of the original cast.
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