The fourth network, long enamored of police chases and wild-animal rampages, and now scoring solid ratings with the real-life oddities of Guinness World Records, might be shelving its as-yet-unaired offbeat drama for good.
While Fox refused to comment on the fate of Hollyweird Tuesday, Daily Variety reported fan enthusiasm for the freaky feats of Guinness might be the final nail in the new series' coffin.
Produced by horrormeister Wes Craven and former teen idol Shaun Cassidy, Hollyweird was originally about aspiring filmmakers from the Midwest exploring the dark side of Tinseltown. But the pilot failed to wow Fox execs, and the show was rethought, rewritten and recast. (Among the casualties, Bodhi Elfman--husband of Dharma and Greg's Jenna.)
Variety says that due to the sweeping changes, Hollyweird won't make its scheduled August 29 production start. A late start means the series will not likely premiere in fall--although it could still debut midseason.
Since debuting July 28, Guinness has earned a solid 7.8 rating, winning the all important 18-49 demographic. Executive producer Eric Schotz tells the New York Post, "We're not producing this show to replace any of Fox's shows," but, he adds, "anything is possible." Fox has ordered three more episodes of Guinness, taking the total to 15--that suggests a regular fall time slot is possible.
Hollyweird isn't the only new show facing massive changes. Here's a rundown of other preseason shakeups. CBS: Jerry Stiller (Frank Costanza on Seinfeld) now has the role of the live-in father-in-law, played in the pilot by Jack Carter on King of Queens. Dale Midkiff, who starred in the pilot of Martial Law, couldn't manage double duty now that The Magnificent Seven has been picked up, so his role as Det. Louis McGray is now played by Louis Mandylor (brother of Costas).
NBC: Mark Fewerstein is still Conrad Bloom but much of his supporting cast has been switched, including the addition of Ever Carradine (daughter of Robert) as his sister. The sister and the sister's son in the Nathan Lane sitcom Encore! Encore! are now Glenne Headly (ER) and Trevor Fehrman. Anne Meara (real-life wife of Jerry Stiller) and Philip Bosco have been replaced by somewhat younger actors, Jill Clayburgh and John Spencer, as the parents on the family drama Trinity. In Jesse (previously called All My Life) one of the brothers will now be played by David DeLuise (Dom's son).
The WB: Lori Rom was replaced by Alyssa Milano on Aaron Spelling's witchy show Charmed, which also stars Shannen Doherty. T.W. King also joins the cast. Hyperion Bay just swapped in Cassidy Rae (formerly of Models Inc.) and Ray Barry.
UPN: Sharon Leal now has the role of Marita in the post-Civil war drama Legacy.
ABC: Not known recently for stability, the network is having a relatively calm summer. A spokesperson could think of "no major changes" and believes "the original pilots will all air."