- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 19, 2004

Kerry visits Dave

Presidential hopeful Sen. John F. Kerry reports for duty on David Letterman’s stage tonight.

The Massachusetts Democrat is the big guest on this evening’s “The Late Show” on CBS. The senator previously dropped by “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”

Tonight’s visit marks Mr. Kerry’s first appearance on the CBS late night show, which airs weeknights at 11:35.

Jason’s second coming

The trouble with being Jason Alexander is… well, being Jason Alexander.

A member of the stellar ensemble of “Seinfeld,” one of TV’s most-beloved sitcoms, the actor (who has a Tony Award for “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” not to mention other roles on stage and screen) will forever be remembered as George Costanza, thanks to the show’s nine-season run.

“Bob Patterson,” Mr. Alexander’s earlier LAS (life after “Seinfeld”) sitcom, quickly bit the dust following its 2001 debut on ABC. He’s clearly hoping for better luck with “Listen Up,” one of two new comedies joining CBS’ Monday evening lineup tonight.

“Listen Up,” which precedes the network’s ratings-blessed “Everybody Loves Raymond” in the 8:30 p.m. time slot, casts Mr. Alexander as Tony Kleinman, a sports columnist/TV sports show host (based on Washington Post sports columnist Tony Kornheiser).

Unfortunately, the role offers nothing new for Mr. Alexander beyond his George Costanza stint — the well-meaning shlub, who’s out-of touch with his family (in this case, his two teenage kids played by Daniella Monet and Will Rothhaar) and with life in general.

Also along for the ride is another successful sitcom star, Malcolm-Jamal-Warner (NBC’s “The Cosby Show”), who not only lacks chemistry with Mr. Alexander as his best friend and on-air sparring buddy, Bernie Widmer but, worse, brings nothing to the table.

“Listen Up’s” first 15 minutes were truly grating, populated by familiar adolescent daughter-dad tensions and tired punch lines that land with a thud. Remarkably, though, a glimmer of hope shone through in the show’s waning minutes; particularly the exchange with Kleinman’s attempt to sneak into his daughter’s soccer practice which she banishes him from attending after he wrote about her “training” bra in his newspaper column.

It’s not sitcom genius, but enough to merit a second look. Hopefully, “Listen Up” will allow Mr. Alexander to avoid yet another bout of the dreaded “Seinfeld curse” that, so far, has engulfed him and fellow castmates Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Cautionary approach

ABC isn’t taking any chances that a hard-hitting tackle will knock an expletive or two into their signature sportscast.

So the network’s “Monday Night Football” will be broadcast on a five-second delay for the rest of the season; a reaction to the furor caused by last season’s Super Bowl halftime show, Associated Press reports.

The move is just a precaution, an ABC spokesman told AP.

We all remember how Justin Timberlake ripped off part of Janet Jackson’s brassiere, a wardrobe “malfunction” that exposed her right breast during the last Super Bowl’s halftime show on CBS.

The Federal Communications Commission received more than 500,000 complaints about the broadcast and is pondering a $550,000 fine against CBS for violating broadcast decency standards.

Compiled by Christian Toto and R. Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports.

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