Nathan Lane: Cliff Lipson
Lynette Rice
May 02, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

It’s been months since anyone’s heard from the flamboyant politico with a loose tongue and coiffed hair — and we don’t mean Trent Lott. After some fall hype, CBS hasn’t set a debut date for ”Charlie Lawrence,” starring Nathan Lane as a gay actor elected to Congress. The sitcom was developed for midseason, but there was evidently no hurry to schedule it — maybe because the pilot has such lame yuks as ”I’d like to have a brief word with the majority whip — I’ve been a baaad boy!”

”We have six time periods for comedy,” says Chris Ender, spokesman for CBS, which squeezed ”My Big Fat Greek Life” into its midseason schedule before ”Lawrence.” ”There simply isn’t a place to put it right now.” A summer run is likely, but that usually means the net’s lost faith in a show. And the fall brings a new slate of comedies.

Which is why some of ”Lawrence”’s lines now read more ironic than funny. When the congressman botches a speech, his chief of staff exclaims, ”You’re not a good enough actor for the job!” She said it — not us.

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