- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2005

NBC’s state of union

We’re all a little neurotic when it comes to affairs of the heart, but the stars of “Committed” take that neurosis to a higher plane.

The new comedy, premiering at 9:30 tonight on NBC, follows two manic singles on a collision course for love.

The clash is funnier than your standard midseason sitcom — perhaps a notch above average. Yet it’s a classic case of “where can the story go from here?”

The mismanagement of the couple’s first date goes down well, but what about date 18?

The sitcom, from the creative team of Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline — whose past credits include “Roseanne” and “Murphy Brown” — introduces us to a pair of singles who could both use some time on the couch.

Nate (newcomer Josh Cooke) would make a monk fidget with his chronic second-guessing and dyspeptic manner, while Marni (Jennifer Finnigan from “Crossing Jordan”) is endearing when she’s not flying off on a tangent.

The two meet, flirt and decide to give romance a try. Love is never easy, though, even for the sanest among us.

The show’s secondary characters, who could have propped up this precarious premise, do no such thing. The notion that Marni shares a home with a dying clown who resides in her closet (played with deadpan charm by veteran sitcom sideman Tom Poston) should quickly wear out its welcome. Darius McCrary of ABC’s “Family Matters” fame strikes the same sour note as Nate’s co-worker and confidant.

Miss Finnigan, a triple Daytime Emmy Award winner for “The Bold and the Beautiful,” is a delight and someone viewers could fall for easily. Mr. Cooke, on the other hand, may need a bit more sympathy from us — but who knows how much time we’ll have with these two crazy kids?

Spike radio

Spike TV isn’t satisfied being the TV network for men. The cable channel wants to extend its manly domain to radio airwaves.

The male-targeted network is teaming up with fellow Viacom company Infinity Radio to rename one of Infinity’s Las Vegas stations, Reuters reports. Spike 1140 AM: Radio for Men, formerly KSFM-AM, may be just the first Infinity station to share Spike’s brand and target demographic.

Spike 1140 AM will mix syndicated programs such as “The Tom Leykis Show” and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball with brief segments produced by the cable channel focusing on men’s issues — including health, fitness and lifestyle. The station also will add the Sporting News Network to its lineup later this month.

“Spike TV has proven there is an audience for programing specific to the male lifestyle,” says Jack Landreth, program director of Spike 1140 AM.

No room for ‘Daddy’

TV viewers in one North Carolina community who wanted to see how low reality television can go never got the chance.

WRAZ-TV, the Fox affiliate for the Raleigh-Durham region, balked at airing last night’s 90-minute special “Who’s Your Daddy,” in which an adopted woman tried to pick her biological father from a group of eight candidates, Reuters News Agency reports.

The station yanked “Daddy” and instead aired the documentary “I Have Roots and Branches: Personal Reflections on Adoption” in the 8 to 9:30 p.m. time slot.

Fox and News Corp. executives have been catching flak from adoption advocates and many other critics for “Daddy.” The show challenges a woman who was adopted as an infant to pick her father from a group of eight men for a $100,000 prize. If the woman picks the right man, she wins the $100,000, but if not, the impostor gets the money. Fox has shot a total of six episodes of “Daddy” but so far has scheduled only one airing as a special.

Fox representatives have stressed that despite the show’s provocative title, all the people featured in “Daddy” were willing participants and that regardless of the competitive element, all the women are reunited with their biological fathers as a result of their participation in the show.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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