Fall shows receive makeovers

Network executives are busily retooling sitcoms expected to debut in the fall and in some cases replacing cast members and even producers, the Wall Street Journal observed Friday. A show starring cable-TV chef Emeril Lagasse is being completely overhauled after initial episodes, in the words of the WSJ, “came out flat as a fallen soufflé.” Having determined that Lagasse does not have the acting experience to carry the show on his own, the network has brought in veteran TV star Robert Urich to play the chef’s friend and agent. The newspaper also reports trouble with the production of ABC’s Bob Patterson, starring former Seinfeld regular Jason Alexander. Executive producer Tim Doyle told the Journal that he quit the show after he was “reduced to writing down funny things [Alexander] said in the writers’ room.” Doyle suggested that the team of producers, including Alexander, continue to alter the sitcom, in which Alexander plays a motivational speaker. “Maybe they’ll … set it at a Japanese internment camp during World War II, and Bob Patterson will be a Japanese gardener,” Doyle told the newspaper. “You just don’t know what will happen when all of the executives get their licks in.”