On TV this fall, the news is the news.
With 10 debuting series featuring fictional TV news, magazines or newspapers, it’s clear that journalists have replaced cops and orphaned black children as primetime’s fave raves. In other words, it’s His Girl Friday through Thursday.
In “Naked Truth” (Wednesday, ABC), Tea Leoni is a serious journalist who finds herself working for a sleazy tabloid. In “Preston Episodes” (Sunday, Fox), David Alan Grier is a serious professor who finds himself working for a sleazy tabloid. (He’s a black man, she’s a white woman, so there’s no chance viewers will confuse the two.)
In “Hudson Street” (Tuesday, ABC), Lori Loughlin is a liberal newspaper reporter who frequently spars with a detective. In “American Gothic,” Gail Emory is a reporter who frequently spars with a sheriff. Unlike “Hudson,” however, “American’s” lawman has demonic powers (presumably the reporter’s years of dealing with publicists has prepared her for this ongoing battle). One of these series is a comedy, one is a drama. You guess which is which.
CBS has turned Fridays into TGIJ: Thank God it’s journalists. “American Gothic” is followed by Bonnie Hunt, in the imaginatively named “The Bonnie Hunt Show”; she plays a TV journalist who lands her first big job as an on-the-street reporter.
“New York News” (Thursday, CBS) brings Mary Tyler Moore back to where America loves her: the newsroom. However, unlike the ’70s classic, this is not a comedy, but a drama, and it’s not a TV station, but a newspaper – facts that will not keep real-life journalists from trying to compare the two.
“Live Shot” (UPN, Tuesday), which bears no relation to MTM, does take place in a TV newsroom. In real life, viewers make angry phone calls to register their displeasure; in “Shot,” however, an angry viewer sends exploding pate. It’s these touches that separate TV from television “TV.”
Separating magazines from “magazines” is “Central Park West” (Wednesday, CBS). In this one, a heroine relocates to Gotham to edit a slick monthly, Communique, but finds that a columnist is a shameless hussy who seduces her teacher husband. As anyone who’s ever worked with real journalists knows, they never have the time, energy or opportunity for sex. However, since this one is from Darren Star, the creator of “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills 90210,” you can be sure that this need will be corrected.
Lastly, Lea Thompson plays a cartoonist in “Caroline in the City” (Thursday, NBC), and Bruce Greenwood is a news photographer in “Nowhere Man” (Monday, UPN). Thompson is adorable, and Greenwood is paranoid and everyone thinks he’s insane, so it’s easy to see why people would consider them journalists.