IF YOU THOUGHT FOX AIRED THE CRASSEST SHOWS ON TV: E! Entertainment Television has decided to try to beat Fox at its own game and produce the most tasteless series it could imagine.
When Michael Jackson's molestation trial begins, E! will air daily re-enactments of what goes on in the courtroom, based on trial transcripts.
"I find this well within the parameters of responsible reporting," E! president Ted Harbert told TV critics gathered in Los Angeles this week, and he said it with a straight face, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.
"Some of it will be sensational," Harbert continued. "Some of it will probably be mundane."
The network came up with the idea because courtroom cameras have been banned for the trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 31. Its plan is to do five daily half-hour programs highlighting the previous day's testimony and court events.
This will be a classy, tasteful production, Harbert said, down to the quality of the actors, "the best actors we can find _ not going to be name actors."
Why not get name actors? We're sure many would welcome the chance to be a part of TV ignominy. If we were casting the production, here's who we would go for in the roles of . . . :
MICHAEL JACKSON: LaToya Jackson, always ready to make money and get attention off the family name.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY GORDON AUCHINCLOSS: Jeremy Irons, as is.
JACKSON ATTORNEY THOMAS MESEREAU JR.: Liam Neeson, with long white hair.
JACKSON ATTORNEY BRIAN OXMAN: Ex-Saturday Night Live cast member Darrell Hammond, in Bill Clinton mode.
COMEDY CLUB OWNER AND SUBPOENAED WITNESS JAMIE MASADA: Topher Grace (That '70s Show on TV, In Good Company on movie screens), after a few hours in makeup.
JACKSON ATTORNEY ROBERT SANGER: Jeffrey Tambor, who could use the opportunity to get more publicity for his regular job on low-rated, Emmy-winning Arrested Development.
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY THOMAS SNEDDON: Gene Hackman, with his Royal Tenenbaums look.
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE RODNEY S. MELVILLE: Bob Balaban, Alias' Arvin Sloane, which means he's another actor needing a vehicle to help pump up his show's ratings.
Sharon Fink can be reached at (727) 893-8525 or finksptimes.com.