SON OF PRIMETIME DEATHWATCH RETURNS: The snow has barely retreated from the streets and we’re still a week or two away from the post-writers’ strike return of regular programming, but the axe is already starting to fall on this season’s underperformers. Last week it was Jericho’s failed Lazarus routine, and this week it’s The Return Of Jezebel James, which has been dropped by chop-happy Fox according to a TV Guide story, to no particular chorus of protest since nobody actually watched the thing, apparently.


Out of respect for the talent wasted on the sitcom, which featured onetime indie queen Parker Posey and Six Feet Under’s Lauren Ambrose and was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino of Gilmour Girls fame, Michael Ausiello wonders aloud what might have been the cause of death: “Who deserves the blame here? AS-P? Fox for burying it on Friday night? The person in charge of integrating that horrible laugh track? Posey for failing to be, well, Lauren Graham?”


Glancing over a description of the show, I have a few theories. Posey played a career girl control freak whose biological clock goes into meltdown, and who decides that it would be a win-win kind of situation to ask her somewhat estranged, bohemian younger sister (Ambrose) to be the surrogate mother. Neither character, by the way, is named Jezebel James. This sort of creaky set-up, populated with overused characters like the white collar princess and the free spirit, is the sort of thing that can barely survive the 90-minute running time of a chick flick comedy these days.


It sounds like pretty tough going for 30 minutes every week (surely you don’t expect me to have actually watched the thing, do you?), and one with a looming expiry date; unless Posey’s character locks her younger sister in her loft and turns her into an in vitro baby factory, the contrivance had to unravel eventually. No worries about that anymore, obviously.


THEY DON’T MAKE THEM LIKE THAT ANYMORE: It’s a good thing that Metro keeps me so wildly busy, because if I had some kind of regular downtime every day, there’s every chance that I’d end up watching Turner Classic Movies all day, now that it seems to be a regular staple on premium cable. My potential addiction to the cable movie channel would be Rose McGowan’s new gig co-hosting The Essentials with Robert Osbourne, a gig she landed after a guest spot on the show during Guest Programmer month, introducing the noir classic Out Of The Past.

“I want people to be better-looking than they are on the street,” McGowan joked in an interview with the New York Observer. “I want people to be better dressed than they are on the street,” she said. “I want the houses to be better. I think the rise of modern movies and the story of an everywoman and everyman … it’s like, who cares? I see that walking around.” She laughed. “Give me a show.”


Rick McGinnis writes about music, movies, books and television, but not opera. He walked 47 miles of barbed wire and has a cobra snake for a necktie.