Finger food appetizers and spoon fed quotes, augmented by twenty minute demo reels of forthcoming broadcast fare from eight national networks, didn’t keep members of the Television Academy from leaving the June 14th Broadcast Preview Night with a bad taste in their mouths.  Distasteful and humorless, FOX rolled out an unappetizing smorgasbord of so-called “comedy” clips that left viewers drop jawed with incredulity.

Television professionals bolted from their seats at the Leonard Goldenson Theatre in North Hollywood and headed for the aisles in what one actor termed “the biggest mass-exodus since


.” In truth, had Moses shown Ramses the Fox demo reel, God could have put the plagues on hiatus, and simply cut to the chase.

FOX, allowed the same twenty minutes as the other networks, selected what they believed were the strongest comedy moments from their “sure-fire” new sit-coms. At nineteen minutes into the reel, and despite non-stop howls and applause on the laugh track, no one in the live audience demonstrated even the slightest symptoms of honest amusement.

“It was horrid and offensive,” grumbled one long time television veteran, “and the so-called funniest moment was a woman telling a man that, because he was wearing shorts, ‘I can see your balls. There is no part of your balls I can’t see.’ Did FOX really think that material was funny? No one laughed. People were screaming with hysterics on the laugh track, but in real life, it wasn’t funny at all – it was pathetic.”

“Based on FOX’s presentation,” quipped another television pro, “I predict a big comeback in the popularity of prime time radio.”

NBC, thankfully devoid of FOX’s excrement and anatomical excesses, elicited honest laughs with the admission that they were terribly off-base with their previous season’s programming.  Their upcoming fare is not only excellent in concept and execution, but may actually be too good for network television.

FOX and NBC gave the



the full spectrum – from the absurd to the sublime.  The other networks’ presentations were enjoyable, with PBS offering predictably high-gloss material.

“There is no doubt that NBC and FOX each, in their own way, stole the show,” commented one well-known actress. “Well, maybe FOX did more than steal the show – they made about half the audience vanish.”

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