Gone 'til March.
That's what it's looking like at CBS, where its franchise late-night show (name of, um, "Late Night") might be out of commission for up to 10 weeks while host David Letterman rehabs from emergency quintuple bypass surgery.
Starting tonight, the network will deploy repeats in place of all-new Dave.
All-new Dave last taped on Thursday. On that edition, Letterman revealed to guest Regis Philbin (as well as his TV audience) that he was about to undergo a heart test. The angiogram, performed Friday, turned into a bypass (also Friday) -- the result of severely blocked arteries.
"I feel fantastic," the comic said in a statement released Saturday. "In addition to rerouting the arteries, they also installed an E-ZPass."
To "Late Night" producer Rob Burnett, Letterman supposedly joked that he felt "better than Jimmy Johnson" -- the Miami Dolphins coach who quit last weekend after a humiliating playoff blowout loss.
All right, so the quips aren't Coward. But take 'em for what they could be -- the only fresh Dave material until spring.
LOVE LOST: She may have three names, but come next month, Jennifer Love Hewitt won't have one stinkin' TV series on the air.
The Hewitt-headlined "Time of Your Life" is being benched by Fox for the duration of the ratings-mad February sweeps. In its place, the network will enlist the semi-hit sitcom "That 70s Show" to fill the 8-9 p.m. EST/PST time slot. (New "70s" episodes will air at 8 p.m., with repeats to follow at 8:30 p.m.)
And the future for "Time of Your Life" doesn't necessarily get any brighter after February. According to today's Daily Variety, Fox "may" bring back the twentysomething drama in March -- but not on Mondays where it was paired with "Ally McBeal," but to Tuesdays where it would be paired with "Party of Five."
"Life," of course, is a spinoff of "Party of Five," featuring Hewitt's Sarah Reeves Merrin character. The pilot, broadcast in October, saw Sarah leaving the "PO5" Salinger clan in San Francisco to seek out her biological father in New York City.
Despite Hewitt's status as a supposed "It" girl and teen icon, "Life" has floundered in the ratings. For the season to date, it ranks in 103rd place -- below already yanked stuff such as NBC's "Suddenly Susan" (No. 95). The show has proved to be no lead-in help at all for Fox's prized "Ally McBeal" (No. 24).
In other bad news, Fox also will pull "Get Real," its new hour-long "Dawson's Creek"-esque family drama, for the upcoming sweeps. That show's 8-9 p.m. EST/PST Tuesday time slot will be filled by Fox's usual sex, scandal and camcorder specials.
MOB HIT: "The Sopranos," HBO's critically acclaimed family mob drama, has been designated a future TV classic by cable's TVLand. The series, which launched its second season Sunday, "exhibits the qualities of a classic in the making, sure to resonate with TV viewers for generations to come," the network said in presenting its Future Classic Award. Past winners include ABC's "Sports Night."
TUBE TONIGHT: Norm MacDonald hosts the 27th Annual American Music Awards (8-11 p.m. EST/PST) on ABC. Scheduled performers include Britney Spears, 'N Sync and Creed. Sorry, earplugs not included.