When Plots Collide

Nov 1, 2004  •  Post A Comment

During the week of Oct. 18, ABC’s monster hit “Desperate Housewives” and CBS’s modest “Clubhouse” showed very different parents resorting to an identical ploy in dealing with their respective rebellious teenagers: They removed the door to the teens’ bedrooms, a plotline that produced very similar howls about the loss of privacy.

On the Oct. 19 installment of “Clubhouse,” a stressed Staten Island single mom (Mare Winningham) unhinged the bedroom door of her wild child (Kirsten Storms). On the Oct. 24 “Housewives,” Bree (Marcia Cross), who seems to be able to fix anything except her family life, hauls her teenage son (Shawn Pyfrom) out of a girlie joint and strips his bedroom door away.

At The Insider’s house, kids were most appreciated when they were neither seen nor heard. So taking doors off the bedrooms would have removed an essential filter and peacekeeper.

Cursory research indicated that this is not a “Dr. Phil” strategy. There was a similar twist in last year’s remake of “Freaky Friday,” but the authors of the “Desperate” and “Clubhouse” story lines say they didn’t see the Lindsay Lohan-Jamie Lee Curtis hit.

Instead the writers said their inspiration is rooted in their youth.

“Clubhouse” writer Sheila Lawrence said that in the early ’80s, her parents threatened to remove her bedroom door, thus “taking away the thing that is the most horrifying thing for a teenager to lose.” Meaning privacy, of course.

“Housewives” executive producer, creator and episode writer Marc Cherry recalled that a friend whose parents had found marijuana in his bedroom suffered that fate and had to give up his privacy for several months.

Mr. Cherry said he mentioned the long-ago incident at the “Housewives” writers’ table in July.

Ms. Lawrence, an alumna of “Gilmore Girls,” said, “I was glad that ours aired first.”

P.S: Mr. Cherry is scheduled to meet this week with ABC Prime-Time Entertainment President Stephen McPherson to kick around possible paths to the reveals and the freshman-season finale that Mr. Cherry has in mind.

When Pilots Abound

Joel Cheatwood, the controversial former local news executive now in charge of developing programming for CNN Headline News and CNN, is said to have as many as 10 projects in the pipeline for CNN prime time. Word is that CNN executives want plenty of options that would give them flexibility for any eventuality, from illness to impasses and/or abrupt exit of a major on-air player.

The rumors that refuse to die about some extreme programming measures CNN has considered enacting after the election make clear that once unthinkable eventualities now are quite thinkable indeed.

Head ’em off at the impasse, boys, says The Insider.

Meanwhile, Wendy Walker Whitworth, the executive producer of “Larry King Live,” is developing a CNN Headline News prime-time show starring Nancy Grace, the Court TV anchor who frequently fills in for Mr. King. Ms. Grace’s expanded relationship with CNN was announced in early October.