- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Macy’s no ‘loser’

William H. Macy doesn’t want to be known as a loser forever, even though the label has been pretty kind to his career.

The actor told Scripps Howard News Service that after years of playing the Everyman and the down-on-his-luck weasel, he’s ready to try something new.

“I play the fellow who is over his head a lot. I play the lovable loser. I play the confused guy a lot,” the 54-year-old actor said. “I’m kind of tired of the loser thing. … I would like to play the truly dangerous guy, maybe the assassin.”

In “Reversible Errors,” a two-part legal miniseries about the death penalty debuting Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS, he gets to be more assertive. He plays a lawyer trying to save an inmate who’s facing an execution date.

The film, based on Scott Turow’s best-selling book of the same name, also stars Tom Selleck and Felicity Huffman, Mr. Macy’s wife.

“Errors” is just the beginning of a flurry of roles the actor hopes will break him away from his “Fargo”-esque pigeonhole. “In Enemy Hands,” the upcoming big-screen World War II drama, will also allow Mr. Macy to strut his stuff in a different type of role.

“It’s a rootin’-tootin’ submarine story. It’s heroic for me. I play a commander,” he says.

There’s also “Cellular,” starring Kim Basinger, in which he portrays a policeman who “sniffs out the real story” on a kidnapping case, he says.

Mr. Macy isn’t looking an acting gift horse in the mouth. Playing wimpy, downtrodden and dazed has done well for him. His role as a kindhearted salesman in the TV cable movie “Door to Door” earned him an Emmy and some of the best notices of his career. And with back-to-back critical acclaim for roles in “The Cooler,” as a human jinx, and in “Seabiscuit,” as an off-beat radio announcer, Mr. Macy is one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities.

Though his career easily could encompass only movies, he’s not a cinematic snob. He says he goes where he thinks he can find roles he would enjoy playing, even if that means doing television.

“There are some great roles out there, but you have to be willing to look for them,” Mr. Macy says.

VH1 gets animated

VH1 continues its weeklong bid for animation glory with the fourth installment of its new pop-culture cartoon.

“VH1 ILL-ustrated” airs all week at 11:30 p.m. but settles into its regular time slot Friday evenings at 11:30 beginning next week.

The show is based on the Web site Campchaos.com and skewers all things pop culture — including shows airing on VH1.

Among the celebrities lending their voices to the show are Jay Mohr, Michael Ian Black, Hal Sparks and Kathy Griffin.

Off the menu

Viewers no longer will be able to sample “The Restaurant,” at least not until the sweeps period ends.

The culinary reality show has been dropped from NBC’s sweeps schedule, according to E! Online.

The second season of Rocco DiSpirito’s on-air experiment — which chronicles the opening of his new Big Apple eatery while under constant camera surveillance — proved appetizing only to New York viewers.

Overall, a mere 6.9 million tuned in per week for the first three episodes, which began last month.

Repeats of “Crossing Jordan” and “Law & Order: SVU” will fill the 10 p.m. Monday time slot, with “The Restaurant” expected to return sometime later this month, the trade publication Variety reports.

Ending on a high note

Dr. Frasier Crane’s exit and a pair of nostalgic reunions on CBS proved irresistible to viewers last week.

The series finale of “Frasier” on NBC was television’s most popular show last week, according to Associated Press. Nielsen Media Research said 25.2 million people watched the psychiatrist make a surprise flight to Chicago in search of love, while reunion specials for “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “The Carol Burnett Show” also cracked the top 20.

Yet there was one event viewers weren’t interested in revisiting. CBS’ remake of “Helter Skelter,” the tale of Charles Manson’s followers’ 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and others was seen by just 9.3 million viewers. Another sweeps-month special, NBC’s “The Mentalist,” was an even bigger bust, with 6.2 million viewers.

CBS earned a narrow victory for the week, averaging 11.8 million viewers (7.8 rating, 13 share). NBC had 11.2 million viewers (7.6, 13). Fox had 9.2 million viewers (5.8, 10) and narrowly beat NBC among the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

Struggling ABC averaged 8.3 million viewers (5.4, 9), the WB 4.1 million (2.8, 5), UPN 3.3 million (2.3, 4) and Pax TV 860,000 (0.6, 1).

A ratings point represents 1.084 million households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 108.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of May 10 through 16, the top five shows and their networks and viewerships were: the “Frasier” finale, NBC, 25.2 million; “ER,” NBC, 23.9 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 23.3 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 22.5 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 22.3 million.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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