Los Angeles has been the setting of numerous primetime shows dealing with the entertainment biz, none of which has been an especially big ratings draw despite strong critical support. A look at some of them:
Greg the Bunny (Fox, 2002): Great reviews couldn’t save this short-lived comedy about a world where puppets are living creatures. Greg, who lands a job on a long-running children’s show, befriends his human roommate, Jimmy Bender (Seth Green), and together they navigate the tricky world of Hollywood. Show was a tough fit on the Fox sked, with its 14 episodes airing in five different timeslots before the ax fell.
Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central) (ABC, 2002): A young TV exec from the Midwest (Ivan Sergei) gets a job at fledgling TV network IBS and is strapped with insecure and wacky co-workers. The title confused viewers and was changed to “My Adventures in Television,” but the show lasted only a few episodes.
Bette (CBS, 2000-01): The singer-actress starred as herself in this comedy, which didn’t last a full season due to lackluster ratings after a promising start. Most critics loved the pilot but feared the energy couldn’t be maintained; they were right.
Grosse Pointe (WB, 2000-01): Darren Star, who created “Beverly Hills, 90210,” bit the hand that fed him with this look at the scandals behind the scenes of a fictional teen soap. Low ratings doomed the show, which lasted less than a full season despite — surprise, surprise — more great reviews by critics.
Action (Fox, 2000) This outrageous, often ribald spoof of film execs looking for the next great action hit centered on a hotshot producer (Jay Mohr) and a former child star-turned-hooker (Illeana Douglas). A favorite of critics, the show proved too inside and was quickly canceled due to low ratings. A handful of unaired episodes aired on cabler FX.
Movie Stars (WB, 1999-2000): In an attempt to show what family life is like for Hollywood stars, the Frog net presented Harry Hamlin as an action movie star who’s married to a lovely dramatic actress (Jennifer Grant). Show delivered respectable ratings and was asked back for a second season but eventually fizzled.
The Brian Benben Show (CBS, 1998): When ratings drop at an L.A. television station, a new anchor team supplants a trusted newsman (Benben) who continues to work there as a reporter but is an arch enemy of the new duo. In real life, ratings aren’t there from the start, and CBS cancels it after less than a month.
Almost Perfect (CBS, 1995-96): Based in part on the life of co-creator Robin Schiff, this comedy centered around a high-strung TV writer (Nancy Travis) and her district attorney boyfriend (Kevin Kilner). Her work life included a behind-the-scenes look at the writing of fictional cop show “Blue Justice.” Perhaps too young and urbane for CBS, it made it only a few episodes into its second season.
The Larry Sanders Show (HBO, 1992-98): Comic Garry Shandling drew upon his own talkshow experiences to create the character of a paranoid, insecure host of a latenight show. A convincing slice of life behind the camera, the show was adored by critics and regularly nominated for a comedy series Emmy, but never won.
The Famous Teddy Z (CBS, 1989-90): John Cryer starred in this laffer, which showed the world of Hollywood talent agents (at fictional Unlimited Talent Agency) and revolved around agent Teddy, his brother and a grandmother who is bewildered by his career — she would prefer he was a baker. The show lasted just one season, despite being hailed by critics as a sure winner.