‘Hollyweird’ awaits its fate
Much like last season’s nipped-in-the-bud sitcom “Rewind,” Fox Broadcasting Co. is now considering scrapping the beleaguered Studios USA drama project “Hollyweird” before it makes it to air. Fox earlier this summer decided to recast the Wes Craven and Shaun Cassidy show, and revise its premise, which was originally about twentysomething filmmakers from Ohio investigating the underbelly of Hollywood. Fox has made no final decision on the show’s fate, but web sources say the first revised script was just delivered and needs more changes. The show still hasn’t been recast, and there’s no way the Aug. 29 production start date will be met. That makes a fall premiere seem less and less likely, but Fox could still get it together by midseason. Then again, the web may decide it’s no longer worth the trouble, and the proven series “Guiness World Records” should take over the Thursday 9 p.m. timeslot.
— Jenny Hontz
‘GMA’ eyes adding studio audience
NEW YORK — ABC’s ratings-starved “Good Morning America” has found a new way to get viewers: Haul ’em in off the streets.
As the struggling ayem show’s Nielsen numbers continue to flirt with record lows this summer, “GMA” producers tried adding a studio audience to the mix during Monday’s broadcast. The 40 to 50 civilians were brought in to interact with anchor Lisa McRee as part of a Washington, D.C.-based “town hall” meeting discussing President Clinton’s testimony before the Kenneth Starr grand jury.
While nothing’s official yet, the studio audience could become a regular part of “GMA” in coming months, particularly when the program moves into its new Times Square studios next year. McRee has been a vocal proponent of the idea, believing the interactivity of an audience adds an important element to the show.
Using “real people” is not a new idea to morning TV. CBS has tried the concept twice in recent years, with neither effort proving particularly successful, and NBC’s top-rated “Today” has a street-level studio that allows crowds to observe — but only occasionally participate in — the broadcast.
An ABC News spokeswoman, noting that “GMA” used a studio audience last winter for another town hall on the Monica Lewinsky scandal, said using an audience is just “one idea that’s being tossed around” to help improve “GMA’s” ratings. “We thought it worked very well,” she said.
— Josef Adalian