Tag Archives: Coach

15 Shows That Never Existed That Were Cancelled Too Soon

Judge Dabney ColemanWith the impending return of the X-Files, Full House and, yes, Coach, we thought it would be appropriate to look back at fifteen series that never had the chance to capture the large, passionate audiences of those beloved shows. Sadly, they will never be rebooted. They were never even booted in the first place.

Sludge (CBS, 1983-1984): Dabney Coleman stars as veteran Salt Lake City Judge Sherman Lipschitz decides to use the power of the bench to combat environmental pollution when his son grows a third arm after swimming in the lake. A pre-Ghostbusters Ernie Hudson co-stars as Bailiff Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, with a cherubic Jerry O’Connell as Sherman Jr., the boy with the extra appendage. The series started strong, but suffered a huge ratings hit when it was accused by both Exxon and the EPA of being “wildly, willfully and dangerously inaccurate.”

Nine Lives (Syndicated, 1987): After crossing paths with a black cat on a Halloween, unemployed comic book artist Freddy Cheshire (Zach Galligan) wakes up to realize that he has developed feline-like reflexes and agility, as well as an insatiable hunger for Fancy Feast and a hatred of mice. By night he uses his new powers to fight crime, by day he transfers his recent experiences to his newest comic creation, Super Whiskers. Dom DeLuise appears as criminal mastermind and comic book store owner, Dom Dominos.

Whiskers (Syndicated, 1987): A retooled, comedic-approach to Nine Lives now features Freddy trying to hide his feline-leanings from his new roommates, including Matt (Matt LeBlanc), Steve (Steve Burton) and his big-crush, aspiring singer-songwriter Marisa (Ellen DeGeneres). Freddy can only reveal his special condition – and his true feelings for Marisa – to pet store owner and close confidant, Mr. Byrnes (Brian Doyle-Murray).

Where There’s a Will (NBC, 1984, 1987): After a car crash claims the life of greedy, self-obsessed estate lawyer Will Christman (William H. Macy), he’s sent back to earth to fulfill all the Last Will and Testaments he had blithely ignored over the years. Notable for featuring one of Orson Welles final appearances as the voice of God. Briefly resurrected in 1987 with Billy Baldwin in the lead role.

DOM! (Fox, 1989-1990): The late Dom DeLuise starred as Dom DiLorenzo, a retired Broadway actor who opens up his downtown Chicago apartment to his struggling progeny (real-life sons Michael, Peter and David), despite living alone for the past 30 years. With the womanizing, scheming, unpredictable Dom as the head of the household, it’s hard to tell who’s the father and who’s the son. But who says an old dog can’t learn some new tricks? A young Jack Black co-starred as the youngest DiLorenzo, Nick.

From Riches to Rags (NBC, 1987-1988): When the wealthy Sheraton girls – Cindy, Mindy, Lindsay, Winny and Barry – lose their parents in a freak Aspen gondola accent, they also lose their sprawling mansion in Beverly Hills. With their inheritance squandered by their father on his secret family, and nowhere else to go, the girls are adopted by lonely plumber Joseph Pulaski (Joe Bologna), and move into his two-bedroom basement apartment in the Valley. Slowly but surely they learn that there are some things in life that can’t be bought, and love is worth more than money. Executive produced by Robert Zemeckis and with a pilot directed by Clint Howard, the series premiered to big numbers, but never recovered after being pre-empted for Brian Boitano’s gold-medal winning performance at the ’88 Olympics in Calgary. Most remembered for Paula Poundstone’s role as oldest sister Barry, and Nora Dunn’s winning performance as Terry, a cold but caring social worker.

Drexell’s Class (Fox 1992-1993): Starred Dabney Coleman in the role of Otis Drexell, a fifth-grade teacher at fictional Grantwood Elementary School in Cedar Bluffs, Iowa, and a formerly  famous corporate raider who lost a large sum of money on a failed venture was subsequently arrested for tax evasion. At his court case, he was told that he would receive a suspended sentence on the basis he work as a teacher in the undermanned school until he pays his back taxes. This was a real show.

The Dog House (ABC, 1993-1994): Dabney Coleman returns (again) as gruff Detective Mitt Morgan, whose drinking problems lead him to bungle a murder case and convince his wife to throw him out of the house. Busted down to canine patrol, and living in his mother’s basement with his new partner, Bartleby, Mitt tries to put his personal and professional lives back together. But Mitt soon learns that the dog days are just beginning. Chi McBride co-starred as Mitt’s former partner and best friend, Chi and the late Jean Stapleton received her final Emmy nomination as no-nonsense widow, Louise Morgan.

Spuds (ABC, 1988): After the smash success of Dynasty, Executive Producer Aaron Spelling turned his Midas touch to a sprawling potato farm in Idaho’s Sun Valley and the filthy rich but morally bankrupt Van Vondren clan. Family patriarch Geoff Van Vondren (John Aniston), who inherited the estate from his late father under suspicious circumstances, struggles to keep his house in order and to cover up all the secrets – including a second wife, a mistress, a shady deal with a Russian vodka company, and hypertension – that could ruin him. Aniston famously broke his Days of our Lives contract for the opportunity to portray Geoff and act with his daughter, Jennifer, in her first television role. The family was rounded out by Shelly Duvall as Geoff’s jilted wife Yvonne, Daniel Baldwin as eldest son Carmichael, Rick “Ricky” Schroeder as youngest son Michael, Dick Van Patten as the ghost of Gerry Van Vondren, and Temla Hopkins as Geoff’s jilted lover, Sadie, and later featured a visit from Ted McGinley as Geoff’s cousin Clay Fallmont, a reprise his Dynasty character. Despite the all-star cast, it was more famine than feast, as the show was unable to capitalize on its popular lead-in (Battle of the Network Stars), and was soon banished to Saturday nights. The show ended on a cliff-hanger, with the Van Vondren family facing a hostile takeover from arch rival Oral-Ida Corp.

S.P.U.D.s. (Fox, 1995-1996): Following the brilliant but canceled The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., Fox and Executive Producer Carlton Cuse re-teamed for the farcical action-comedy S.P.U.D.s (Shelly Potato Uniformed Division). Cuse once again set the story out west, but this time in the small, potato-loving town of Shelly, Idaho. Bruce Campbell also returned, starring as Captain James “Jim” Progresso, a former NYPD detective who was dismissed from the force for insubordination (and an unfortunate incident at the Thanksgiving Day Parade) and moves out to Idaho for a fresh start heading up Shelley’s potato protection squad. Yes Dear’s Anthony Clark co-starred as bumbling Deputy Dave, along with Marcia Gay Harden as hard-nosed local policewoman Diane Schmatz and California Dreams’ Kelly Packard as Julienne, the Mayor’s daughter and Progresso’s romantic foil. The infamous season (and series) finale found most of the town being destroyed by an at explosion at the annual Spud Day Festival, a deliberate and somewhat spiteful decision by producers who knew that cancellation was imminent. The story was continued, however, in a 6-part limited comic book series penned by Cuse and illustrated by Campbell himself, which followed Progresso and his trusty Golden Retriever Russet on a quest for revenge that turns the Idaho potato fields into the killing fields.

Gängers (WB, 1998-1999): In his last major role, Dom DeLuise returned to primetime as successful businessman Dom DeDavinci, whose life is turned upside down one when he encounters his doppelgänger, local chef Paul LaViolette, played by real-life celebrity chef and DeLuise’s close friend, Paul Prudhomme. Brothers from another mother, Dom and Paul get the sibling they never had, and, by swapping jobs, a new outlook on life. Designed to pick up where Sister, Sister left-off, the series never clicked with the WB’s more urban demographic, and the show was pulled after the controversial episode “Strange Bedfellows” in which Dom and Paul sleep with each other’s wives (Wendie Malick and the late Wendie Jo Sperber).

Cat’s Cradle (Fox, 1999): Rebounding quickly after the cancellation of The Single Guy, Jonathan Silverman stars as Gregg Greenberg, a recent widower and struggling architect who lives in an Upper East Side apartment with his nine-month old son Glenn and tabby cat Elvis Pawsly. With Gregg barely finding the time to watch his son and meet his deadlines at a fledgling design firm, it falls on Elvis to take care of little Glenn when Gregg’s not watching. Home Improvement‘s Debbe Dunning played building superintendent and object of Gregg’s affection, Debbe, and Corey Feldman provided the cool-dude voice of Pawsly. A flood of letters from concerned parents, public advocacy groups, PETA and the American Humane Society, as well as a stunning lack of jokes, convinced Fox to ax the series only four episodes into its run. However, its final episode, “You Aint Nothing But a Pound Dog,” featured television’s first and only canine-feline pregnancy scare (until the most recent season of Girls), and won no awards. Despite a public plea (and particularly graphic threats) from Feldman, Cradle was quickly replaced by a seventh weekly airing of episode of Cops, and ratings immediately skyrocketed.

Bulworth (UPN, 2001): Perfect Strangers’ Mark-Lynn Baker returns to television in this small-screen adaptation of the “hit” film, taking on the title role. After narrowly surviving his assassination attempt – picking up where the film left off – Sen. J Bulworth retreats to his home town of Modesto, CA with new main squeeze Nina by his side (Stacey Dash, stepping in for Halle Berry). While recovering in his parents’ guest house, he recaptures his love for local politics and decides to run for city council. The incomparable Marion Ross and Al “Grandpa Munster” Lewis co-star as Bulworth’s parents, whose old-school perspective clashes with Bulworth and Nina’s interracial relationship, often to hilarious results and Flavor Flav appears as Bulworth’s campaign manager and hype man, Flav Flavor. Pulled after only one episode in response to very valid complaints by the NAACP, among other many justly outraged organizations.

Splitsville (ABC, 2000): The Alphabet Network’s entry into the great bowling alley-sitcom wars of 2000 (see: NBC’s beloved but barely-watched Ed), Splitsville starred Joe Bologna and Annie Potts as a recently divorced couple who agree to joint custody…of their bowling alley. The late William Hickey earned a Golden Globe for his guest appearance as Bologna’s father, Col. Mickey T. Splits, despite passing away three years prior. Infamously, it’s widely considered the death knell of the first incarnation of TGIF, particularly due to rabid unpopularity of Bologna’s signature dance “The Split,” which was a thinly veiled ripoff of “The Urkel” (itself a thinly veiled ripoff of “The Bartman”).

Dabney (NBC, 1995): Dabney Coleman comes back to the small screen as an author of do-it-yourself books who leaves New York City to run a bed and breakfast in a small, rural Vermont town that features no shortage of colorful, eccentric characters. Production was stopped immediately when producers were informed that this is the exact plot of Newhart. 

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Out of the Fire and into the Philippines: Michael Skupin Returns to ‘Survivor’

There’s a tale we like to tell to novice or late-to-the-party Survivor fans. It’s a story – feels more like myth now – about a tribe called Kucha in a harsh landscape called the Outback. This is pre-Russell Hantz, pre-Boston Rob, even pre-Tom Westman. This is back in the second season of Survivor, when they had no idea that their initial success would continue nearly unabated for twenty-four seasons, that Richard Hatch and his flabby, hairy, naked figure strolling the beach in Borneo had changed the face of television forever. In season two the show was still in unknown territory, not yet a cultural institution with enough memorable moments to fill a double DVD and enough beloved (and reviled) players to field a competitive softball league. This was a long time ago. But all that time we’ve never forgotten about Michael Skupin. And never gave up hope – despite how unlikely it seemed – that he would return. 

We often relate how this season featured a tribe that we found to be as formidable and as likable (save for Kimmi) as any tribe in Survivor’s prodigious history. It featured a pretty young face that we’d come to later know as Elisabeth Hasslebeck, football wife and The View co-host/conservative punching bag, then going by the surname Filarski. And while Kucha lacked the statistical dominance of Tom Westman’s Koror tribe in Palau, the team felt as strong and cohesive as any tribe, and it was getting stronger and more cohesive after each challenge and Tribal Council. There was Jeff Varner, the good-looking, drawling Tar Heel, and his partner-in-crime Alicia Calaway, who could have easily parlayed her Survivor appearance into a berth in the WWE. There was Old Man Rodger, who had formed such a sweet, good-natured, grandfather-granddaughter relationship with Elisabeth. And there was Nick Brown, the bright, young Harvard Law student. And they were all led by Michael Skupin, a midwest father whose receding hairline was more Bruce Willis than Ron Howard. Skupin served as heart and soul of the team, his intelligence and survival skills keeping Kucha focused and united at camp, his athletic ability pacing them in challenges, and his hunting prowess keeping them energized. With his guidance Kucha was poised to decimate the Ogakor Tribe, which featured such bickering, unlikable players as Jerri “the Black Widow” Manthey, arrogant chef Keith Famie, mama’s boy himbo Colby Donaldson, mama surrogate Tina Wesson, and another pretty face named Amber (yep, that Amber); it was a tribe that fell out of favor with us the moment they voted out Maralyn “Mad Dog” Hershey. Ogakor featured several future All-Stars and a couple million dollar winners, but after five tribal councils they were faltering, fractured and frustrated (Colby dousing Jerri with a bucket of water following a Reward Challenge loss, for example), and with one more Immunity Challenge defeat they were in danger of going into the merge down 6-4 to a Kucha Tribe operating with extreme confidence and bellies full of chickens and popcorn and, thanks to Mike, a pig.

And then, in the blink of an eye, it all came crashing down.

And like that, he’s gone…

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Filed under Be careful what you wish for, Century 21 Reality, Freak Out Control, Mancrush, Tribal Council

‘Survivor’ Returns Tonight!

In just a matter of our CBS will premiere the newest edition of Survivor, this time set in the vast wilds of the South Pacific.  Also returning this season will be the much-maligned (at least by us) Redemption Island twist.  Also also returning, the inclusion of two returning Survivor players from season’s past.  Will one of those players be Steve, competing in back-to-back seasons?

Clearly not.

Actually the two returning players are Coach (!) and Ozzie.  Now in his third game of Survivor, we wonder if Coach will exhibit his trademark modesty.

See you at Tribal Council!

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‘Survivor Nicaragua’ Unless You’re Bill Parcells, How Could You Think You’re a Better Coach Than Jimmy Johnson? AKA The Final Faces of Jimmy Johnson; Plus: Player by Player Odds!

Well, Survivor: Nicaragua just became a little tougher to watch every week.  While we were initially skeptical of the inclusion of former NFL head coach Jimmy Johnson’s in the cast, we were quickly won over by his charm and gung-ho attitude.  We still think it was a questionable decision by the producers, big picture-wise, but it enabled us to enjoy his positivity, humor and variety of faces every week.  That is, until the Espada tribe made the curious (aka egregious, outrageous) decision to cut Coach Johnson, engineered by Jimmy T and Marty’s testosterone-driven need to prove that they can be a better leader (than a Super Bowl winning NFL head coach).  Why Jimmy T felt threatened by Jimmy Johnson, or why he desired to usurp the  leadership role when it makes more sense to let Jimmy J maintain the mantle and thus the pressure, is beyond us.  And why Marty feels compelled to “accelerate” the game is even more baffling.  Now they’ve put themselves both in the cross-hairs, while they could have let the bullseye rest on Coach Johnson.  It was way to early for a power grab, and completely unnecessary, and they’ll likely realize this sooner rather than later.  At least vote out the dude who can’t even walk (Danny).

But, for now, the damage is done and Jimmy J is gone.  In his honor, our (perhaps) final Faces of Jimmy Johnson:
Continue: The sad final Faces of Jimmy Johnson. Then we rundown who’s left!

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Filed under Analysis, Century 21 Reality, Lists, The Worst, Tribal Council

‘Survivor: One-Star’; Thoughts on the ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’ Premiere

Well, Survivor: Nicaragua certainly has its work cut out for itself, following arguably the greatest season in the series’ illustrious history.  Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, AKA Buried Knives and Burnt Hats: Boston Rob vs. Russell, brought us back from several seasons of indifference.  Really, our interest in the show had waned years ago,  and we really only returned to see Tom Westman defend his title.  But we found ourselves sucked back in, charmed by Russell, strangely tolerant of Boston Rob, amused by Coach, infuriated by Sandra, disappointed by Colby, baffled by JT, and it ended up being one of the strongest, and probably most enjoyable, season in memory.  But how will Survivor: Nicaragua stack up?  Without the familiarity of the castaways, the pang of nostalgia and the promise of alpha male vs. alpha male vs. alpha male vs. alpha male fireworks, will this new season hold our attention?

Well, the show is not All-Stars, but it does have one star, that being perpetually erect Super Bowl Champion coach Jimmy Johnson (not to be confused with his former boss, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, or 90s talk show host Jenny Jones, or top race car driver Jimmie Johnson or former wrestler and member of the Fabulous Freebirds Jimmy Garvin).  Turns out that Jimmy Johnson (or “Jimmy J”) is kind of a bizarro Tom Westman.  They’re both silver-topped elder statesman, but where Westman excelled in physical prowess and strong morals, Johnson oozes charm and good ol’ boy wit, matching his elite leadership skills with just enough self-deprecation and humor (although, no indication yet of how Johnson’s beard is going to fill in).  Turns out that this season might be worth watching just for Jimmy Johnson alone.

Read on: Goodbye, Chatterbox! And “The Faces of Jimmy Johnson”

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‘Survivor All-Stars’: The Dragon Slayer Is Vanquished

Before we get into this past week’s Tribal Council, let’s hear from Amanda (I think it’s Amanda.  Eight weeks in and I’m just now able to keep Amanda and Danielle straight.  And Candace and Courtney).

Insightful stuff there, Amanda; really eye-opening.

So Coach claims to have survived an a choose your own adventure of dangerous predicaments in exotic locations, facing down vicious natives and brutal conditions with only his cunning (and tai chi) to protect him.  Unfortunately, for Coach, here on Survivor: All-Stars he encountered the ultimate threat in the form of Russell Hantz.  And no amount of tall tales of enduring against insurmountable odds could save Coach this time.  And, really, he can boast all he wants about loyalty and cowardice, but he has no one to blame but himself.  He refused to vote for Russell two weeks ago and then decried the result when Boston Rob was eliminated.  And with his mancrush out of the picture he decided to take on the leadership role, and in doing so sent up the “varsity” team in the bowling reward challenge, because he so desperately wanted to win the bounty of a smorgasbord of (cold) pizzas.

More: Goodbye, Coach. And a new Survivor cookie???

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‘Survivor’: All-Stars???

Last night’s Survivor felt more like a blooper reel clip show that should air as filler before the final episode, because it was teeming with just sloppy, weak, almost buffoonish play, both physically and strategically.  Don’t have much time today, so we’re going to make our thoughts quick.

If the high school where Coach heads up the girls soccer team ever needs someone to helm the basketball squad, they would probably be better off looking in another direction.

Colby, stirred on by James’ “Superman in a girdle” comment last week, really turned it on.  And wouldn’t let anything (or any middle aged woman) get in his way.

So how to sum up the week?

Well, a strong, strong contender was “Always Be Copping a feel” (Colby, looking in your direction).

Or it could be “Always Be Calling out,” for the awesome way Russell recommended to Rob that they vote out Sandra or Courtney (pointing to the two of them, no more than 3 feet away, and stating “one of these.”  Brilliant.)

But no, our A-B-C phrase of the week is brought to us by Coach, who was torn between his mancrush Rob and his commitment to Russell and in the end didn’t choose either side.  That’s not being loyal or honorable, not in this game.  It’s being meek and afraid.  So, for this week, it’s:

Always Be Cowardly

Thanks, Coach!

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