Ever since John Nance Garner pronounced the the vice presidency not worth "a bucket of warm spit," the office has suffered from bad press. Now, from Hollywood, comes an NBC situation comedy about a vice president of the United States who isn't quite what the president ordered.

Tentatively titled "The Wrong Man," the sit-com is the idea of Hugh Wilson, creator of "WKRP in Cincinnati."

"The guy is a ticket-balancer in the classic sense," says Wilson. "He's a lame duck governor from Montana who somehow gets picked up by the presidential candidate, a New Yorker. The vice president had been married for about 20 years, but his wife died of cancer, and he's just married about four weeks before the Democratic convention. But in checking the man out, no one learns about the new wife.

"She used to be a hair colorist in Las Vegas. Now she owns a travel agency in Helena, but she's had a lot of jobs like that. She's kind of an independent woman who's come up on her own after a very short high school marriage. She is outspoken and appreciates substance more than symbols -- an interesting thing in Washington."

To learn about Washington, Wilson flew a former speechwriter to Spiro Agnew -- Vic Gold -- and a former assistant to Rosalynn Carter -- Paul Costello -- to Los Angeles to "sit in my backyard for four days and informally chat with me."

"The Wrong Man" debuts in January; exterior shots will be filmed in Washington, but most action will take place in Burbank. And the Oval Office is spared: "I think you can joke about the vice presidency," says Wilson, "but I don't think you can joke about the presidency."