Jerry knows who's on first: Special puts Seinfeld in some funny company

July 26, 1994|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

LOS ANGELES -- Jerry Seinfeld was asked yesterday what he thought about the wave of stand-up comedians getting their own sitcoms.

"I'm against it," he said. "I think it should be all Shakespearean actors doing sitcoms.

"But there's nothing new about it. Abbott and Costello did it. Every comedian that's been used in television, they try to create a show around him. So, there's nothing new about it."

Seinfeld met with critics here yesterday to promote "Abbott & Costello Meet Jerry Seinfeld," a retrospective of clips from the classic comedy team with Seinfeld as host, which will air on NBC in November.

The biggest revelation of the session came from Lou Costello's daughter, Paddy Costello Humphreys, who said her father paid for a "nose job" for Dean Martin in the early 1950s. She mentioned this to show what a generous guy her dad was, she said.

Name-calling among rival networks rose a notch yesterday with NBC's West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer tearing into Rupert Murdoch and Fox over the issue of violence. "The most violent programming on the air is 'The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,' which is aimed at kids. And I'm tired of seeing my people from NBC going to Washington and get beat up on the issue of violence," Ohlmeyer said.

"When I pick my 10-year-old at school and I see the little 5, 6 and 7-year-olds on the playground karate-chopping and kicking one another, they didn't pick that up off 'Law and Order' [an NBC show], they didn't pick that up off of 'Dr. Quinn' [a CBS show].

"They picked that up from a steady diet of shows aimed at them. And what you have in 'The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' is a show that's gratuitous violence in search of a plot set in the future."

Ohlmeyer said he's angry because the Federal Communications Commission does not consider Fox a network, which results in Fox "seeming to be beyond the purview" of regulations that hinder the ability of NBC, CBS and ABC to compete.

"Three guys have to play by a certain set of rules, and the fourth guy [Murdoch] is somehow just excluded from those rules. . . . Maybe that's what we're missing, we don't have enough naturalized Australians running the networks," Ohlmeyer said,

referring to Murdoch's nationality.

There are big changes in NBC's "The Martin Short Show," and it hasn't even aired yet.

Short has replaced Catherine Hicks, who played his wife in the pilot, with Jan Hooks, and added Andrea Martin to the cast. Like Short, both are ex-members of the "Saturday Night Live" troupe.

"The Martin Short Show" uses the show-within-a-show format, with Martin Short playing Marty Short, host of a TV show.

NBC doesn't yet have a full pilot.

"I couldn't be more excited about returning to weekly television. However, I'm very philosophical. If this doesn't pan out, I'm not above playing a new neighbor with an attitude on "Roseanne,"

Short said.

Barbra Streisand is coming to cable. HBO announced yesterday that "Barbra Streisand The Concert," a special on Streisand's concert tour, will air at 9 p.m. Aug. 21.

OK, I blew it. I missed one of the biggest stories of the entire press tour over the weekend.

NBC announced that it will televise the 74th Miss America Pageant at 9 p.m. Sept. 17.

For the first time, contestants will compete in the swimsuit FTC competition barefoot, eliminating the traditional high heels.

NBC and pageant officials are very proud of this bold and progressive step.

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