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The Odd Couple

Get ready for the next ''American Idol'' movie. Let's face it -- it's only a matter of months before Ruben and Clay make their own ''From Justin to Kelly.'' Here's what could happen.

Clay Aiken, Jack Klugman, ... | 'AMERICAN' ICONS Ruben and Clay make a great ''Odd Couple''
Image credit: Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard: Ray Mickshaw/FOX; The Odd Couple: GeneTrindl/ABC/MPTV
'AMERICAN' ICONS Ruben and Clay make a great ''Odd Couple''

Now that Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini have hit the big screen in ''Grease'' meets ''Baywatch'' (a.k.a. ''From Justin to Kelly''), last year's ''American Idol'' winner, Ruben Studdard, and runner-up, Clay Aiken, are considering a high-concept movie of their own. EW.com eavesdropped on some recent Hollywood pitch meetings to bring you the latest ideas that are being discussed.

THE PITCH ''Insomnia'' meets ''It's a Wonderful Life'' meets ''Sweet Home Alabama''
THE PLOT Guardian angel Clay, fed up with Ruben complaining about how he hasn't gotten any shut-eye since he became the American Idol, offers Ruben a chance to see what he'd be doing if he hadn't signed up for the show: selling 2-for-$10 ''205'' T-shirts at a flea market back in Birmingham.
CAMEOS Who's that Ruben catches stuffing his merch in her purse? You guessed it -- Trenyce!
MARKETING TIE-INS A Clay plush doll with detachable wings, a special ''Idol'' brand of extra-strength No-Doz, and those shirts, of course.
WHY IT'LL MAKE A FORTUNE ''Idol'' fans loved it when Ruben sang Lynyrd Skynyrd's ''Sweet Home Alabama'' -- just imagine it in surround sound!

THE PITCH ''The Love Boat'' meets ''All About Eve''
THE PLOT For five solid months, Justin and Kelly have the most popular act aboard the Caribbean Princess -- that is, until ingenues Ruben and Clay join the revue, only to befriend -- then backstab! -- their predecessors. (Proposed catchphrase: ''Idols overboard!'')
CAMEOS Simon Cowell as the stern but fair captain; Paula Abdul as the perky activities director; Randy Jackson as the poolside bartender; Brian Dunkleman as ''Gofer.''
MARKETING TIE-INS Randy mixes drinks using -- what else -- Mad Dog liquor: ''Here's your Dog, dawg!''
WHY IT'LL MAKE A FORTUNE Hey, almost the whole gang's here! (Maybe we can get some sort of package deal on their salaries...)

THE PITCH ''The Odd Couple'' meets ''The Time Machine''
THE PLOT In the year 2010, laid-back Ruben and uptight Clay become roomies in New York City. Their post-''Idol'' albums, UPN reality prank show, and combination sparerib cooker/popcorn popper have all bombed. When they're not arguing about whose turn it is to do the dishes, they chat wistfully about the things they'd do differently if they had another shot at fame. One night they decide to make their dream a reality after they get a call from an old friend...
CAMEOS ...Joshua Gracin, now a high-ranking military official, who lets slip that he has access to the government's very first time machine.
MARKETING TIE-INS Heavy-duty Rubbermaid gloves, which Clay wears to pick up Ruben's sweaty 205 shirts from the floor.
WHY IT'LL MAKE A FORTUNE It's got sci-fi, comedy, drama, musical performances.… something's gotta stick.

THE PITCH ''Bruce Almighty'' meets ''Behind the Music''
THE PLOT A bitter Clay, stuck playing Candlestick's understudy in ''Beauty and the Beast,'' gets a break from God (Ruben Studdard), who endows him with all his powers; suddenly Clay has that ''commercial radio'' voice he's dreamed of. Dubbed by his adoring female fans the ''Velvet Raggedy Andy,'' Clay goes straight to the top of the charts, selling gajillions of records -- but unfortunately he begins to abuse his fame and wealth. On a bender one night, he tosses back more Coke than the entire ''Idol'' cast endorsed in a season, and the caffeine and sugar high leaves him comatose. After an intervention from God and a rigorous 12-step program, he bounces back with a hugely successful new record, ''Aiken for a Change.''
CAMEOS Ryan Starr, Nikki McKibbin, and Kimberly Caldwell as sexy groupies.
MARKETING TIE-INS Caffeine-free Sprite, Clay's drink of choice after swearing off Coke.
WHY IT'LL MAKE A FORTUNE A nerdy guy beating the odds to become a pop phenom? Sounds a lot like ''American Idol'' to us.

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Originally posted Jun 17, 2003