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Picks and Pans Main: Tube

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Producers are always looking for an edge to make their TV shows successful. One strategy that is considered near foolproof is to make a popular, big-name star the lent pole for your attraction, as Burt Reynolds was for Evening Shade.

That theory is going down in flames this season. It Had to Be You, Faye Dunaway’s first foray into TV series work (see review), ranked 85th out of 92 shows the week of Oct. 1. That’s a positively Foxonian showing. Not surprisingly, CBS announced that after only three episodes, It Had to Be You was going on hiatus, the network equivalent of intensive care. Cafe Americain, with dimpled TV sweetheart Valerie Bertinelli, was 74th. Yikes! The first cancellation of the season (but far from the last, I assure you) was The Trouble with Larry, which starred Bronson Pinchot. Viewers haven’t merely been not watching these shows; they’ve been actively avoiding them.