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If a TV critic had the power, not just the remote . . .

Spend days watching the messy, venal, illogical process that produces network TV's fall season — as I did last week — and you will catch a tiny thought irritating the back of your mind like a mosquito bite. • I could do waay better. • So, for the rest of this piece, I'm going to take over as the King of Television, ruling the world of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox with an iron fist. No more lame "unscripted" series based on vapid ex-Maxim models; enough police dramas ripping off CSI and Law & Order. • There's a new monarch on the throne. And here's what the King of Television decrees:

Saturday Night Live must feature Will Ferrell or Justin Timberlake as host every week. In a long season, only the last two original shows hosted by Timberlake and Ferrell approached the old-school grandeur of SNL in its prime — when sketches grabbed the zeitgeist by the throat and anybody might turn up (Ferrell's show had Tom Hanks, Anne Hathaway, Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler, to name a few).

Smoking-hot stars such as Teri Hatcher and Courteney Cox do not get to star in shows where they pretend they are not smoking-hot stars with the best liposuction a network TV salary can buy. Clips from ABC's new series Cougar Town featuring Cox poking at her 1 percent belly fat — just before causing a kid to run his bike into a car by flashing him in her underwear — make the writers look blind and the star look stupid.

A new broadcast network will arise, packed with all the cool shows the networks canceled this year. And when ERIC-TV's lineup of Pushing Daises, Life on Mars, The Unusuals (with Amber Tamblyn), My Name Is Earl, Samantha Who?, Kings and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles assembles its awesome fan base of maladjusted TV geeks, we will drown rival network executives in snarky blog posts and mailed-in packages of Nerds.

Chris Rock, Daily Show senior black correspondent Larry Wilmore, Wanda Sykes and Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi will be locked in a room until they come up with at least one blindingly funny series starring an ethnically diverse cast in which Tyler Perry does not dress up like a woman.

ABC is going to seriously integrate the one area of network television that has remained mostly monochromatic; yes, there will be a black, Hispanic or east Indian Bachelor.

There will be cool, successful series created for Idris Elba, Amy Ryan, Lance Reddick, Jimmy Smits and Amy Poehler (Poehler's lame-o Parks and Recreation SO does not count). Because these talents deserve an amazing platform, and that's how this ruler rolls.


Mental, 9 p.m. Tuesday on WTVT-Ch. 13: Why would Fox order up a clone of House so complete that it features an off-putting, unorthodox-yet-brilliant doctor (Chris Vance), with a sexy female hospital administrator boss (Annabella Sciorra), young arrogant underlings and a self-destructive secret? A better question: Why would you waste time watching a dumbed-down House copy set in a mental hospital where the biggest difference from the original is a lead character who is a blandly uninteresting nice guy?

The Goode Family, 9 p.m. Wednesday on WFTS-

Ch. 28: Remember all those jokes comics told years ago about how we'd gotten so politically correct that organic apples cost $10 and liberals keep asking What Would Al Gore Do? Finally, someone made an animated series about it all: a comedy about the most politically correct family in the world that feels like a Larry the Cable Guy skit gone bad. If he wasn't doing some of the voices, I wouldn't have believed King of the Hill creator Mike Judge would go anywhere near this toxic joke dump. But even A-Rod hits a foul ball, sometimes.

the list

Is a visit backstage with talk queen Oprah Winfrey 10 times cooler than getting a swim lesson from Olympian Michael Phelps?

Fans can weigh this question and others while checking a unique celebrity auction organized to benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. The charity has lined up more than 125 "celebrity experiences" for auction, from grabbing a cane used by House star Hugh Laurie to taking home a pair of CNN host Larry King's suspenders (hopefully, after he's finished using them).

You can bid at until Thursday.

Here are a few interesting items, and their prices as of Friday afternoon:

• A singing lesson from Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin,


• Meeting Winfrey backstage, $27,500.

• Watching a Red Sox game with superfan Ben Affleck,


• Visit with Laurie on set of House and signed cane, $25,000.

• Private swim lesson with Phelps, $2,200.

• Being an extra in Russell Crowe's Robin Hood movie, $6,200.

• Getting a pair of King's



If a TV critic had the power, not just the remote . . . 05/23/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 23, 2009 4:30am]
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