Commentary

The Mysteries Of A Network TV Show On 'Hiatus'

Forget about "American Idol," Sumner Redstone and why some New York Post reporter was allegedly looking to bilk $220,000 from some grocery billionaire.

Someone can't figure out why CBS dropped "Love Monkey" and let its now divorced--make that distant--relative, network VH1, pick it up. Apparently, VH1 doesn't know why, either.

"We're not really sure why CBS passed on "Love Monkey," but we are sure about one thing... the critics loved it, so we're bringing it back full force on VH1," said a VH1 press release.

Hmmm... Aren't CBS and VH1 still part of Sumner Redstone-controlled companies of CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. respectively? Maybe someone at VH1 could make a phone call to find out why CBS had no more love for "Love Monkey"?

"Love Monkey," a show about a record executive played by Tom Cavanagh, was a mid-season thing for CBS. Though VH1 may have no clue, the "Monkey" didn't do well enough to peel anyone's bananas.

Several Tuesday night outings this past January did it in. "Monkey" was killed by the likes of ABC's "Boston Legal" and NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," for example.

Okay, we'll spell it out for you: "Love Monkey" debuted with 8.6 million viewers, then went to 7.7 million in week two, and 6.2 million in week three. Get the picture? That's what CBS was looking at--and about what every TV programmer worth her/his salt knows about the health of a network TV show. That's an easy heave-ho.

But somehow VH1 is scratching its head. And, more importantly, it's telling the world it is clueless in this regard.

But wait. I get it! It's a press release. In theory, no one--on the record--from CBS, anyway, would actually say why the show failed. And, of course, it didn't fail. It is just on "hiatus"--from CBS, anyway.

The mysteries of television aren't all that tough to decipher. You just need some love and a monkey and a rating book.

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