Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Ripoffs

People talk about the lack of originality in Hollywood all the time, and when you see some of the offerings on movie and TV, they are not wrong. When Hollywood producers hear of an idea that has worked elsewhere, they immediately try to see how they can rip it off.

CBS must really love "House" (Fox, 9 p.m.), and considering it's one of the best shows with one of the best actors on TV, it's not hard to blame them.

But really, tonight the network airs its second attempt to rip off the "House" formula with the debut of "3 LBs" (CBS, 10 p.m.), about a cranky but brilliant doctor (the always excellent Stanley Tucci) who specializes in brain surgery. (The title refers to the weight of the average human brain).

The first attempt to copy the "House" formula is the network's new hit "Shark," a legal drama starring James Woods that moves the setting from a hospital to a court room, but really, that's about the only difference. That, and the writers gave Woods a daughter to deal with for his home life. But otherwise, it's pretty much the same show: A brilliant, but snarky, guy who butts heads with a female boss and who has an entourage of proteges.

I've yet to see the pilot for "3 LBs" but most reviewers have indicated that it's basically "House"-lite. Tucci butts heads with his younger, caring protege (Mark Feuerstein) about various ailments affecting the brain. I'm not sure the producers are doing the show a favor by limiting Tucci's medicine to one particular area, but of course, if they made him a general physician, then the show really would be "House."

CBS is hoping for the added bonus of having "House" air in the timeslot before "3 LBs" to give the show a lead-in even with a different network. NBC has a similar effect, with "ER" drawing an audience from ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" on Thursdays. It's not a bad strategy, But there is the worry that the show doing the ripping off will hurt the original.

It's not so bad in the Grey's/ER case, since the latter preceded the former by a decade, but I'd hate to see "House's" ratings suffer. They likely won't, since the newer show always has a tougher time of proving itself worthy of keeping the audience of the original.

TUESDAY'S BEST BETS: I'm trying to keep the Best Bets section limited to either new shows airing, or certain big episodes with key guest stars, lest I continue to write about the same shows each week. That's why there was no Best Bets for Monday.

I am throwing a shout out to "Friday Night Lights" (NBC, 8 p.m.) just because the network announced that it would be picked up for a full season, again showing why being near last place is not always a bad thing.

As for new shows, you may want to check out "Show Me the Money" (ABC, 9:30 p.m.), which follows the penultimate "Dancing with the Stars." I know nothing about "Money," a new game show except that it stars William Shatner at his most Shatner-ness, which is always a delight. Check out the Comedy Central Roast from September if you don't believe me.

Also of note is the documentary "Thin" (HBO, 9 p.m.) about four women who suffer from eating disorders.

1 comment:

Zodin2008 said...

Since I cannot stand Hugh Laurie as "House" and don't watch that show, I had no problem avoiding "3 LBS". There are other shows I like more to be ripped off such as "24" or "Lost".