After a failed start with an unpopular batch of new shows, and an ongoing WGA strike that, in all likelihood, will never be resolved, it looked as though all was lost for the networks — until Sunday night when NBC's writerless American Gladiators reboot became the highest-rated show of the new season!
With Hollywood's warring writers and producers seemingly spending more time on PR statements than negotiations, it's going to be a long, wretched winter for television fans. To patch scheduling holes, networks are rushing out "mid-season replacements" (everything from game shows to reality hours) — essentially, shows that are handy in a pinch, but weren't good enough to debut in the fall. It's the idea that if there's no water at the oasis, we'll just drink the sand; too bad for them we're not so easily satisfied. However, we ARE easily bored without our stories, so if our holiday wish for a speedy, fair strike resolution is impossible, then it'll take some crafty TV-diet substitutions to get us through the drought.
Here are a few simple swaps:
American Gladiators. The show that brought us such spandex-wrapped warriors as "Turbo" and "Zap" obviously occupies its own vital place in TV history. But it also ably replaces the absent 24. Think about it: Jack Bauer runs a lot. He sweats. He does things to America, for America. And he likes to hit people with blunt objects. If he'd had the wherewithal to do it all with a Speedo and a tennis-ball cannon, you'd never even know the difference.
While promoting his new movie 3:10 To Yuma, Christian Bale "let slip" that his co-star Russell Crowe would also be appearing with him in the forthcoming Batman sequel, The Dark Knight. We suspect he may have been joking.