A series that ‘Beat’ George Clooney


TV Pipeline


Q: I saw an article about George Clooney recently, and it referenced a show he was in called “Sunset Beat.” I don’t even remember that. What was it? – Sue Garrett, Palm Coast, Fla.

A: It’s little surprise that you can’t recall it, since ABC canceled it after only two episodes in 1990. The show was about Los Angeles cops who went undercover as motorcycle-gang members, so it was sort of “Sons of Anarchy” without the anarchy. Clooney had long hair then, much of which would be shorn for several other ‘90s series he did … “Bodies of Evidence,” “Sisters” and (of course) “ER.”

“Sunset Beat” – which also featured James Tolkan (“Top Gun”) as the officers’ tough-talking boss — did rise again, albeit briefly. Six episodes were made before the show got pink-slipped, and ABC played off the remaining four in 1992.


Q: Why won’t the Emmy Awards have a host this year? – Rich Donaldson, via e-mail

A: To a degree, it probably plays off the success the Oscars had in going host-less earlier this year, which was more or less a benediction for the Emmys to go the same way if so desired. Another factor is that Fox – which will air the ceremony Sept. 22 — doesn’t have as clear a go-to for hosting as most other broadcast networks, which have comedically inclined talk-show hosts they can call upon. That’s not to say a Fox star such as Tim Allen or Taraji P. Henson couldn’t do it, but they’re filming their series for the new season and likely don’t have the time for prep work that being an award-show host often requires.


Q: I heard that “Bombshell,” the fictional Broadway show in the series “Smash,” was going to become an actual stage production. Did that ever happen? – Amy Reed, Grafton, Ohio

A: Supposedly, an actual run of the Marilyn Monroe-inspired musical still is in the works, despite the passing of one of its intended producers … Craig Zadan, who also was one of the producers of NBC’s “Smash” along with his longtime professional partner, Neil Meron. The “Bombshell” songs were performed in a one-time charity concert in 2015, with such “Smash” stars as Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Leslie Odom Jr. and Jeremy Jordan participating.

“I don’t know what that would be and what it would look like,” Hilty told a gathering of television writers (including this one) earlier this year about the prospect of a bonafide “Bombshell” production. “Of course, I would love to be a part of it. At the point where it actually is done, I might get an audition to play Marilyn’s mother.”


Q: When is “The Masked Singer” coming back? – Doug Cook, Erie, Pa.

A: The Fox series starts its second season Wednesday, Sept. 25, with a two-hour opener. A hit for the network the first time around, it’s been ordered for two separate “cycles” for the new television year … and the second one will be used to try to keep Super Bowl viewers in front of screens right after the championship football game ends when Fox televises it in February.


Q: I see that Christina Anstead is back doing “Flip or Flop” with her ex-husband Tarek El Moussa. Does that mean she won’t be doing any more of her own show, “Christina on the Coast”? – Alice Wayne, via e-mail

A: Quite the contrary. HGTV has ordered another 13 episodes of “Christina,” expected to debut early in 2020. In making the announcement of the renewal, the network cited viewers’ apparent desire to watch Anstead “evolve personally and professionally.” However, they’ll also have the same chance with El Moussa: He’s getting his own show, too. “Flipping 101 With Tarek El Moussa” also is slated to have an early-2020 start.


Q: Is ABC planning to bring back any more old game shows? – Ben Davis, Grand Junction, Colo.

A: Not at the present time, per network entertainment chief Karey Burke. She said she’s quite satisfied with the six that make up two nights of programming (and sometimes three, if you count the repeats that “Press Your Luck” and “Card Sharks” have been getting on Saturdays). Burke doesn’t want to overextend the “Fun & Games” brand that has brought ABC significant ratings – and she also wants to limit it to the summer season, which she considers the ideal time of year for such primetime programming.


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Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2007 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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