Beggars and Choosers (1999)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Media Satire, Prime-Time Drama [TV], Workplace Comedy  |   Run Time - 45 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

To paraphrase the late, great NBC programming executive Brandon Tartikoff, the television industry is comprised of two different groups of people: The "beggars," those actors, writers, directors, and producers who tirelessly and relentlessly package and pitch ideas, concepts, and premises for new TV series; and the "choosers," those elite network chieftans who make the final decisions as to what will or will not be seen on the air. With this in mind, Beggars and Choosers was the perfect title for a raunchy, ribald cable-TV satirical sitcom, set behind the walls of a major (but not too major) television network. The setting for this weekly, 60-minute series was the headquarters of the LGT network, which, though it ran a distant last to such prestigious webs as ABC, CBS, and NBC, still managed to score a few ratings successes, notably the Seinfeld clone "Peter's Pals" and the ethnic soaper "Puerto Vallarta." Like most contemporary entertainment-manufacturing concerns, LGT was a hotbed of betrayals, double-crosses, backstabbings, dark intrigues, covert conspiracies, and sexual shenanigans. Heading the huge cast of regulars and recurring characters was Brian Kerwin as youthful LGT president Brian Kerwin, who manfully kept his wits about him while swimming with sharks at the workplace and dealing with domestic problems engendered by his demanding wife Cecile (Isabella Hoffman) and his troublesome teenaged children Audrey (Keegan Connor Tracy) and Cary (Kaj-Erik Eriksen). Co-starring with Kerwin was Charlotte Ross as Lori Vopone, LGT's barracuda-like vice president of development, who would stop at literally nothing to get bigger ratings and advance her own career. Others in the cast included Tuc Watkins as the network's closeted homosexual casting executive Malcolm Laffley, who spent most of the first season trying to work up the courage to "out" himself; William McNamara as supercilious talent agent Brad Advail, who was convinced that his success hinged upon which pair of socks he wore on any given day; Christopher Kennedy as Marty Hertz, LGT's bean-counting head of business affairs; and Sheila Moore as the network's hypersensitive vice president of standards and practices. Initially, LGT was owned by the senile, semi-comatose E. L. Ludden (Bill Morey) and his scheming trophy wife Lydia (Carol Kane). During a bitter power struggle between Mr. and Mrs. Ludden, control of the network was seized by flaky billionaire Dan Falco (Beau Bridges), who shortly thereafter turned the business over to his nitwit brother Freddie (James Belushi). The gloriously uninhibited and diabolically clever Beggars and Choosers debuted over cable's Showtime network on June 19, 1999, remaining in first-run for the next two seasons.




ethics, executive, show-business, television