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The Building

Bonnie Hunt's sitcom about a jilted actress returning to her Chi apartment house and its denizens may seem unlikely, and it is -- but it is also inspired. Snappy patter, good setups and, for the most part, sharp characters are on the plate. Looks like the hurt bride and her friends will prove a cheery addition to the CBS lineup.

Bonnie Hunt’s sitcom about a jilted actress returning to her Chi apartment house and its denizens may seem unlikely, and it is — but it is also inspired. Snappy patter, good setups and, for the most part, sharp characters are on the plate. Looks like the hurt bride and her friends will prove a cheery addition to the CBS lineup.

Bonnie (Hunt), doing teleblurbs for a living, consults with best friend Holly (Holly Wortell) about, well, life; plus, good neighbors like actor Stanley (Tom Virtue), fireman-bartender Finley (Michael G. Hagerty), foul-mouthed (and bleeped) Big Tony (Richard Kuhlman) and columnist-without-a-column Brad (Don Lake) offer consolations on her Big Secret — that fiance Jim (George Clooney) dropped her.

The program zips through the first-class dialogue under John Bowab’s skillful direction, and scripter Hunt gives the sitcom a buoyant style that should keep “The Building” way up there. Wortell’s role as the girlfriend is a good foil for Bonnie, and Virtue’s Stanley has an attractive, ready wit.

Hagerty’s fireman-bartender Finley isn’t in this first episode enough to judge, but Lake’s Brad has been written too broadly. Kuhlman’s Big Tony has possibilities, and Clooney’s guest stint as the fiance who got away adds solid balance to the sitcom’s pilot. As for Hunt, her delivery’s assured, her body lingo on target. Bonnie’s apartment looks out at the baseball stadium, so the scripters incorporate Wrigley Field as a prop. Looks like “The Building” will be around as long as the writing and action match this level.

The Building

(Fri. (20), 9:30-10 p.m., CBS-TV)

  • Production: Taped in L.A. by Bob and Alice Prods., Worldwide Pants Inc. and CBS Entertainment Prods. Exec producers, Bonnie Hunt, David Letterman; supervising producer, Elaine Arata; producer, Robert Wright; director, John Bowab; writer, Hunt.
  • Crew: Editor, Rich Blankenship; art director, Chris Idoine; consulting art director, Roy Christopher; sound, Otto Svoboda; theme, Rob Kolson.
  • Cast: Cast: Bonnie Hunt, Michael G. Hag-erty, Richard Kuhlman, Don Lake, Tom Virtue , Holly Wortell, George Clooney.
  • Music By: