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TV’s H’wood navel gazes

Inside Entertainment Los Angeles

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.

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