Mr. TV: Santa Baby

I have to admit that as a Jew, I always feel funny about asking Santa Claus for anything. But since ’tis the season to be jolly and have good will for all, you’ll have to excuse me while I take off my yarmulke and hit Kris Kringle with my TV wish list. After all, I haven’t been at all naughty in ’08.

Let’s start with ABC’s Brothers & Sisters. It’s still my favorite relationship driven drama since thirtysomething.  But now that Rebecca is not officially a Walker, seeing her hook up with Justin is just plain creepy. And conjuring up another Walker sibling, a younger brother named Ryan this time, sounds desperate for a three-year-old series.  Santa, would you please drop this silly storyline? How many affairs, after all, did late patriarch William Walker have? Poor Sally Field!

While we are on Sunday TV, it’s great to know that the writers of Desperate Housewives are planning on giving Carlos his sight back. But enough with the schlumpy Gabrielle—it’s wearing thin. And please, Santa, the next time a member of the press takes a stroll down the faux Wisteria Lane, it wouldn’t hurt for the lead actresses—Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria Parker and Nicolette Sheridan—to say hello, particularly when they are standing just a few feet away. When the show ends its run in 2011, maybe their arrogance will diminish.

Over at CBS, I still enjoy Two and a Half Men. But Charlie Sheen as Charlie Harper is too old at this point to still be bed-hopping in every other episode. So, please, Santa, let him settle down already. While you’re at it, can you give us more of Holland Taylor as high-maintenance Mama Evelyn and Conchata Ferrell as sarcastic housekeeper Berta? A real bonus, Santa, would be awarding Conchata with her own spin-off series and positioning it after Two and a Half Men (and in place of the inane Worst Week). Remember how well Rhoda worked out of The Mary Tyler Moore Show? Or Frasier out of Cheers?

Speaking of Cheers, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars comes to mind because John Ratzenberger (aka Cliff Clavin) recently competed (and did fairly well, actually).  This is real escapist fare, the new definition of variety TV.  But I wish they would give overrated dancer Cheryl Burke a break and bring back Ashly DelGrosso, who reminds me of a young Liza Minnelli. And I hope ABC does not open the next season with three nights (and five hours) of
Dancing in one week. Santa, please tell Stephen McPherson to avoid running this great show into the ground. Ditto to the programmers at Fox, who are sure to cram the airwaves with as much American Idol as possible.   

While we’re on the subject of nonscripted programming, please, Santa, tell NBC to bring back 1 vs. 100 and remind Fox that I still feel the need for Greed. Both game shows were put out to pasture way too soon. And give the programmers at NBC a friendly reminder that one weekly telecast of Deal or No Deal is more than enough, particularly now that it airs five days a week in first-run syndication. Host Howie Mandel must be a basket case by now.

Since Santa sometimes can do the impossible, here is a tall order: a better night of programming on Saturday. I know that’s a huge undertaking, so I do not expect miracles. But since I am already giving you my TV wish list, please ask CBS—the one network that might actually be able to pull it off—to come up with a night of original options on this once prosperous evening. Scripted programming is a longshot, so how about an evening of The Price is Right, Super Password and 48 Hours Mystery? Any of the Big 3 networks, in fact, can do a night of game shows, which would be the first step to rebuilding the night.