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Scott D. Pierce: Great TV idea? Try, try again

SHARE Scott D. Pierce: Great TV idea? Try, try again
Jeremy Piven starred as "Cupid" back in 1998.

Jeremy Piven starred as “Cupid” back in 1998.

Andrew Eccles, ABC

"So," you've been wondering, "what's new with the creator/writer/producer of the late, lamented 'Veronica Mars.'"

Well, not much is new.

Rob Thomas is involved in not one but two shows that could be on TV next season, but he's not doing anything new. Instead, he's doing a couple of things old.

Thomas is writing the pilot for a return to "Beverly Hills, 90210" for The CW. That's right, even though it's only been eight years since Fox's teen soap signed off. The CW is going ahead with plans to try to revive the 1990-2000 show.

How involved Thomas is with that project depends to some degree on how his other project goes. He's updating his own short-lived series "Cupid," which aired briefly on ABC back in 1998.

ABC programmers have ordered a new "Cupid" pilot, which they will consider for next season.

If you missed it the first time around — and, given the show's weak ratings, most of you obviously did — "Cupid" was about a guy (Jeremy Piven of "Entourage") who genuinely believed that he was the Greek god Cupid. And that he had been sent to Earth as punishment and ordered to unite 100 couples using only mortal powers, given that his god-powers seem to have deserted him.

Or maybe he was just a nut.

That sounded like the recipe for 100 episodes, but — despite good reviews (yours truly called it "downright charming") — "Cupid" lasted only 14 episodes before getting the ax.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new "Cupid" will look a lot like the old "Cupid," except, of course, that there will be a different, yet-to-be-cast actor in the title role. And while the first "Cupid" was set in Chicago, the second "Cupid" will be set in Los Angeles.

As for the new "90210," it will feature a whole new crop of kids.

We will, of course, have to wait to see how these revivals turn out. (And there's no guarantee that either show will get picked up by their respective networks, so we may never see the end product at all.)

And, while it would be easy to make cracks about how network television has run out of original ideas, that isn't fair. Reviving "90210" is not a bad idea. Neither is reviving "Cupid."

In the case of "Beverly Hills, 90210," nearly 18 years after the show debuted, it's hard to remember that it was actually good the first few years it was on the air. Sort of like how, after watching "Rocky 3" and "Rocky 4," it was hard to remember that the original "Rocky" was an Oscar-winning film.

The problem was that as the "kids" on the show aged and graduated from high school, the show lost focus. And, as with every prime-time show, season after season of plot twists and turns left the writers without anything new for the characters to do.

(A lot of us do pretty much the same things day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, but that makes for a real dull TV show.)

If "90210" had cycled a few new kids in and cycled a few old kids out every year, the show might still be running on Fox. And a new bunch of characters on a "90210" revival just might work.

(Hey, it's working for The CW on the East Coast with "Gossip Girl.")

As for "Cupid," that was a really great idea that — for one reason or another — didn't work. Maybe it was the casting (although Piven went on to find multiple-Emmy glory on HBO's "Entourage.") Maybe it was the time slot. Maybe it was just the wrong time for the show.

Given all the really bad ideas that get made into TV shows every year, why not take a good idea and give it another try?

E-mail: pierce@desnews.com