PBS has censored the much-ballyhooed reunion of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.
The public broadcasting network is sending out a "clean" version of its adaptation of D.L. Coburn's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "The Gin Game," starring Van Dyke and Moore, executive producer Mary Mazur informed critics today at Winter TV Press Tour 2003.
The adaptation marks the first time Van Dyke and Moore have acted together since their original teaming on the classic comedy series "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
PBS is leaving it up to member stations whether to air the uncut or the sanitized version, in which some of the swear words uttered by Van Dyke and Moore have been deleted.
Moore's the one who spilled the beans to critics about the second version during the Q&A session on the project.
"What right have you to do it?" one peeved TV critic demanded of Mazur, who had joined Moore and Van Dyke onstage.
"I agree!" chimed in Van Dyke. "The stuff you see in the movies today -- this is harmless by comparison."
That said, Van Dyke was concerned that viewers might think "The Gin Game" appropriate for children, since he has always been associated with "family programming." Watching him in some scenes is "like Mister Rogers swearing," he joked.
But still, he said, "it shouldn't be touched -- it makes it stupid."
Mazur insisted that giving a censored version to stations is appropriate because some routinely censor PBS programming anyway.
"We decided to do it ourselves rather than have them screw it up," she explained. Only "the F-word" is zapped whenever it is used, she said.
Asked why he and Moore had not worked together after "The Dick Van Dyke Show" ended its run in 1966, Van Dyke, 77, said he's "not crazy about reunions. Are you?" he asked, turning to Moore, 66. "No," replied Moore, who pitched and produced a "Mary Tyler Moore Show" reunion movie for ABC.
"The amazing thing is that we never had an affair," Moore said of their five years on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." "I always thought of it as a terrible waste."
When critics tried to change the subject, she interrupted: "You don't want to go into this in depth?"
Asked what he thought of today's reality programming, Van Dyke stuck his finger down his throat.
Sorry, Dick, but it looks like reality series are here to stay. ABC's debut of "The Bachelorette" scored an impressive 17.6 million viewers Wednesday at 9 p.m., beating an original episode of NBC's "West Wing" by 3.6 million viewers and drawing 81 percent more of the 18-to-49-year-olds watching TV at the time.
This is the "Bachelor" franchise's biggest debut ever, eclipsing the second edition's 11 million viewers; only the finales of the first two editions have enjoyed larger scores. The first round wrapped with more than 18 million viewers and the second with a whopping 26 million.
"Bachelorette" stomped the night's two other reality series debuts: CBS's 8 p.m. "Star Search" scored 14.3 million viewers, and ABC's 10 p.m. "Celebrity Mole" nabbed 11 million. The latter is the strongest showing for that franchise since the season finale of the first edition.
Fox took a pass on David E. Kelley's next drama series, so he's gone back to CBS, where he got his first big break.
The series, about three brothers in their thirties and forties who live in a New Hampshire town, was given a 13-episode commitment from CBS, where Kelley created his first series, "Picket Fences," as well as "Chicago Hope."
Since 1999, Fox has had first-look rights on all Kelley-produced programs. He produces his shows at 20th Century Fox, which, like the network, is owned by News Corp.
Kelley's last project for the Fox network was "girls club." It was whacked after just two broadcasts.