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PIRATE MASTER WALKS PLANK (DUH, OBVIOUS HEADLINE OF THE DAY): The Mark Burnett-produced CBS reality show dismissed as Survivor In A Boat has been cancelled by the network after ratings continued to sink since its inauspicious debut and despite a shift on the evening primetime schedule.
The five remaining episodes will be streamed on CBS’ website for the rest of the summer, hitting the web at 3 in the morning, a new episode debuting every Tuesday. The move to Tuesday night from Thursday didn’t help the show much, and it was easily bested by reruns of Law & Order: SVU, Seinfeld and Friends, never picking up much more than an average of five and a half million viewers.
It’s been a bad summer for Pirate Master creator Mark Burnett, who also saw his other new show, On The Lot, get downgraded to a single hour a week after a chilly reception by viewers, but as Variety pointed out, his status improved when The Apprentice, toe-tagged and ready for burial after the upfronts, was revived for a celebrity edition by NBC. If that fails, Burnett can always opt for Plan B: the ultimate low-budget celebrity reality challenge, with Kathy Griffin and Flavor Flav trapped together in a storage locker, monitored by a half dozen closed circuit cameras, fighting over a box of energy bars, a bottle of Powerade and a back issue of In Style magazine.
SINCE WHEN DID THE BADA BING MOVE IN NEXT TO MR. HOOPER’S STORE? It’s always a bit of a shock when you get a glimpse of the old Muppet Show to see some of the hip guests (John Cleese, Alice Cooper, James Coburn, Debbie Harry) or full-on weird skits and themes Jim Henson and his crew dreamed up for the show. Sesame Street, the cornerstone of the Muppet empire, never seemed quite as cutting edge as its prime time sibling, but that might change with a holiday Sesame Street special ABC is planning.
According to a Hollywood Reporter story, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys will have guest shots on the show, as will Ben Stiller, who’ll do the voice for Stiller the Elf, a Muppet based on the comic. Weirdest of all, though, is a skit planned to feature Steve “Bobby Bacala” Schirripa and Tony “Paulie Walnuts” Sirico of The Sopranos, who will play real-life versions of Bert and Ernie, long-time roommates in their basement apartment at 123 Sesame Street, “with guidance from the real Muppets.”
There’s no way I can spin this in my mind without it coming out balls-out disturbing; cold-sweat nightmares disturbing. If ABC’s pockets are deep enough, they should go all the way, and cast a “parallel universe” version of the show, with Michael Imperioli as Kermit The Frog, Frank “Phil Leotardo” Vincent as Oscar The Grouch, Joseph “Gay Vito” Gannascoli as Snuffleupagus, Steve Van Zandt as Cookie Monster and James Gandolfini as Big Bird, with a special appearance by the Amazing Mumford in a Members Only jacket at the end of the skit. Why don’t they put me in charge of this stuff?