With the casting of a lead actress, the comedy pilot “Washington Street” has earned new life at CBS.

Cynthia Watros, late of “The Drew Carey Show,” has stepped into the lead role in the show, the Hollywood trade papers report. She’ll play a single mom in the show about the close-knit tenants of an apartment building.

“Washington Street” was part of CBS’ development slate in the spring pilot season, but problems finding a star meant it never got past the “cast-contingent” stage. The arrival of Watros lifts that contingency; the pilot is now under consideration for midseason.

Julie Ann Larson, who worked with Watros on “The Drew Carey Show” and also wrote for “Dharma & Greg,” is writing and executive producing the pilot.

Watros won a Daytime Emmy in 1998 for her role on the CBS soap “The Guiding Light.” She also starred on the Fox sitcom “Titus” before joining the “Drew Carey” cast in 2002.

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Last comic hanging: NBC scraps last show

Someone at NBC seems to have noticed that the all-star edition of “Last Comic Standing” wasn’t doing so well in the ratings.

The revelation in Burbank that the show was averaging only about 6 million viewers per week and delivering a meager lead-in to “Father of the Pride” and “Scrubs” led the network to drop the final episode of “Last Comic Standing,” in which viewers would have found out which of the four remaining performers is, indeed, the last comic standing. Two “Father of the Pride” reruns will air in its place on Tuesday.

For those who haven’t been watching, the Oct. 5 episode featured the elimination of four more comedians to get to the final four – Rich Vos and Dave Mordal from season one and Alonzo Bodden and winner John Heffron from season two. Each then performed a final set before voting lines were thrown open.

Were the finale actually airing next week, viewers would have likely seen a recap of each comic’s performance and probably some new material, along with appearances by some of the vanquished comedians. Instead, NBC promises that the winner will be revealed during the two “Pride” repeats, which lead into a new episode of the CGI-animated series.

Following “Last Comic’s” abbreviated end, the weight-loss unscripted show “The Biggest Loser” will move into the 8 p.m. ET Tuesday spot.

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Critics choose the WB for award show

The WB will join the pre-Oscars awards parade with a deal to broadcast the annual Critics’ Choice Awards in January.

The awards, presented since 1995 by Broadcast Film Critics Association, will air Jan. 9. The network has the rights for the next three years; they previously aired on E!

“This is an event we think we can build into a successful franchise for The WB,” says Keith Cox, head of alternative programming at the network. “Over the past decade, the Critics’ Choice Awards has time and again foreshadowed Academy Award winners in all major categories, adding a great deal of anticipation, prestige and, most importantly, star power to the show.”

Last year, the Critics’ Choice Awards matched the Oscars for best picture (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”) and director (Peter Jackson) along with all four acting winners (Sean Penn, Charlize Theron, Tim Robbins and Renee Zellweger). The critics’ association has called the last five best picture winners correctly.

“Moving to The WB will now magnify the importance of the Critics’ Choice Awards show,” says Joey Berlin, president of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. “Our members are thrilled that The WB shares our vision of what this show can be.”

The 188-member Broadcast Film Critics Association is made up of radio, TV and online reviewers. Its membership includes some nationally known critics, including Joel Siegel, Jeffrey Lyons and Chris Gore, along with a host of critics from local and regional media outlets.

Viewers pick poison on ‘Criminal Intent’

The producers of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” will let viewers decide whether a character lives or dies later this month.

In what it’s touting as a first for network TV, NBC will show two endings to the Oct. 17 episode of the show, titled “Great Barrier.” In the episode, Detective Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) meets up again with his nemesis, seductive killer Nicole Wallace (returning guest star Olivia D’Abo).

Goren and his partner, Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe), discover that Wallace is manipulating a “diamond swallower” (Grace Shu) and track her down. The show has shot two endings – one in which Wallace lives and one in which she dies.

Viewers in the Eastern time zone will see one of the endings on Oct. 17, while those in the Central, Mountain and Pacific zones will get the other. Following the episode, both endings will be posted on NBC.com, and viewers can vote for their favorite through Oct. 20.

The choice will be revealed during “Criminal Intent’s” Oct. 24 episode.

The “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style ending for “Criminal Intent” may be a first for NBC, but the idea is not entirely new. Fox developed a comedy called “Nathan’s Choice” in 2001 that would have let viewers make decisions for the main character, but it never made it to the air.

FX did a similar thing last year with its unscripted show “Todd TV,” but viewers didn’t warm to the idea.



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