For the last nine years, Mike Burger has run an online contest to predict the shows that will be cancelled during the TV season. He named it the Alison La Placa Open Television Death Pool, honoring the actress who's known as a sitcom killer for being a regular cast member on so many short-lived comedies: Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs, Duet, Open House, Stat, The Jackie Thomas Show and Tom.
I entered this year's La Placa and have proven to be one of its worst players, predicting these cancellations:
- Samantha Who (ABC)
- Cavemen (ABC)
- Moonlight (CBS)
- Viva Laughlin (CBS)
- Scrubs (NBC)
- Medium (NBC)
- Back to You (FOX)
- Chuck (NBC)
- 'Til Death (FOX)
- According to Jim (ABC)
Only three of those shows have gotten the axe: Cavemen, Moonlight and Viva Laughlin. Cheers writer Rob Long is in first place, failing only to anticipate the inexplicable survival of According to Jim.
Last month, the contest's name became the Cease and Desist Television Pool after Burger was contacted by La Placa's attorney. "Seems either the previous honoree, or more importantly her lawyer, decided I was harming her, ahem, career," Burger announced. I would've thought by now that La Placa was impervious to harm -- after all, this is an actress whose career has survived her decision to star in two different Tom Arnold sitcoms.
The contest is now known as the Ted Marshall Open Television Death Pool. The new name's a fake in an attempt to avoid litigation, as Burger explains on his blog, but my guess is that he's honoring two other legendary show killers, Ted McGinley and Paula Marshall.