Show of forgiveness

Syndie strip finds its groove

President Clinton’s recent travails have many armchair pundits ruminating on the subject of forgiveness, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the fledgling syndie strip “Forgive or Forget.”

If you’ve done somebody wrong, “Forgive” is the place to go if you’re of a mind to beg for absolution in front of a national TV audience. Guests confess past transgressions to “Forgive” host Mother Love, and then take the gamble that at the end of the seg, the injured party(ies) will walk through a comically oversized door offering tissues and hugs.

Since its June preem, the bulk of the confessors featured on the Twentieth TV show have been ordinary folk. Not surprisingly, “Forgive” producers are starting to loosen up the will-they-or-won’t-they format to go after chastened celebs and other ripped-from-the-headlines material.

Adrienne Wheeler, former producer for the Geraldo Rivera and Phil Donahue talkers, has been hired as a news coordinator for the Gotham-based show, which is slowly but surely making progress in the Nielsen race.

“Don’t think I haven’t written to the White House trying to get Bill and Hillary,” Wheeler said. “We’ll keep hounding them.”

For now, “Forgive” must set its sights a little lower. Portions of two of this week’s segs are devoted to the saga of Gary Coleman, the pint-sized former sitcom star, turned shopping-mall security guard, who was recently arrested for allegedly smacking an autograph-seeker.

Today, “Forgive” hears from the alleged smackee, L.A. bus driver Tracy Fields, who is suing Coleman for upward of $1 million. Fields asks for an apology from Coleman, but winds up with a mere statement of legalese from Gary’s “people.”

On Wednesday, Coleman’s parents, Willie and Sue Coleman, are on the couch making an emotional plea for reconciliation with their son, who sued his parents in the 1980s, accusing them and a former business manager of squandering his fortune.

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