THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT – THIS IS WHAT YOU GET: News of new and returning shows slated for the summer and fall schedule have gone from a trickle to a – well, a sturdy dribble, which means that we’re in that time the networks savour: the last possible moment when it’s possible to imagine that the future is a promising, even hopeful time.

And yes, I know how cynical that sounds.

For all the geeks out there, there was George Lucas’ appearance at the Cartoon Network’s upfronts last week, where he hit the fanboys with a preview of his Clone Wars animated series. Broadcasting & Cable magazine quoted Lucas saying that the look he wanted for the show was “a different take on the animation, a little bit of anime, a little bit of feature animation,” for which it was necessary to build a whole new studio in Singapore. If Lucas ever makes another feature film (please God, no), he might have to start his own country to cast and shoot the thing, and terraform another planet for the audience. His credit line might just cover that.

He said that the series, which will flesh out the world in which episodes 1 to 3 of the Star Wars saga takes place (expect lots of trade missions and tariff conflicts,) drew on Gerry Anderson’s British “marionation” series of the ‘60s; “I didn’t want it to look like Beowulf,” Lucas said, referring to Robert Zemeckis’ recent motion capture feature, which is good, because Beowulf was two shades of awful away from being a crime against nature.

CBS is apparently this far (holds thumb and forefinger a millimeter apart) from cancelling The New Adventures Of Old Christine, despite good reviews and respectable ratings that have made it the show that broke the “Seinfeld curse.” ABC is ready to make a new home for the show if they do, according to Michael Ausiello of TV Guide, though no one from either ABC or Warner Bros., the show’s producer, were willing to comment. Which means it’s probably going to happen.

Fox has renewed King Of The Hill once again, ordering 13 episodes for its 13th season, which would be unlucky for any series but this one, which has been reported dead then revived more times than I can count. The fact that I’m sure I’m the only person watching the show anymore makes me believe that this is being done solely for my own amusement, and that I am, in fact, the ruler of the universe.

Just in time to prove me wrong is the news in last week’s New York Post that MTV is considering a Hills spin-off built around someone named Brody Jenner. This is the first step in giving a show to every member of the Hills cast, which will expand to the point where everyone who appears on camera will get their own show, an exponential process that will eventually see everyone on the planet with their own MTV “reality” show, at which point a whole new economy will have been created. At which point the world will end.

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