Celebs & Money: The recession goes Prime Time


Do Americans want to see the recession on Prime Time, during their nightly escape to the sitcoms? The smart shows of course are already addressing current topics. The current season of 30 Rock has featured laid off ibankers interning at NBC, and Tracy Jordan sparking a War of the Worlds meltdown when he offered financial advice on the Asian Stock Market on Larry King Live. I recently queried show's star Maulik Pancholy, who assured me we can expect to see a lot of the recession parodied this season. It's a welcome relief to laugh at the depressing times.

But would we watch an entire series on the theme? ABC seems to think so. It's launching two sitcoms about laid-off bankers. The first is an untitled show starring Kelsey Grammer, a Wall Street millionaire, who after the economy crumbles, is finally forced to spend time with his family. The second show (think antidote to Entourage,) is "Canned," a pilot about a group of Gen X friends who fall from their investment banker safety nets.

Expect both series to remind us of the important things in life, and our purpose in life, once the money's all gone. Not a bad message for the Disney-owned network. But will the shows have appeal even after the economy recovers? ABC had its doubts, and even passed on the "Canned" pilot when it was first pitched. But producers believe it will have a long-lasting effect, as the basic premise is not about the recession, but about what happens when you get laid off.