CBS Makes History
Wed, Jan 12, 2000 11:06 PM PST

Six new CBS series and specials, previewed Wednesday at the annual Winter Television Critics Association press tour, either portray historical events or revive television history.

Finally, CBS is reaching back to the early Ď90s with "Grapevine," a Miami-based comedy which debuted in 1992 but went on what the net describes as "the longest hiatus in history."

Steven Eckholdt ("It's Like, You Know..." ) originally played the central character Thumper, but now plays his older brother David. George Eads stepped in as Thumper and described what it was like to meet creator David Frankelís brother, whom the character was based on.

"He had his arms crossed, standing like this," Eads said, "and I looked down and realized I was standing the same way."

Frankel had another brush with critical acclaim and network oblivion when he wrote and directed the TV pilot "Dear Diary," which never aired on TV, but won an Academy Award for Best Short Film/Live Action.

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Grapevine' yields second CBS crop

Who says there are no second chances in TV? CBS' Grapevine sitcom, canceled in 1992, resumes production next week in Miami. The revamped comedy, about the lives and loves of the South Beach set, is expected to premiere in March. Jonathan Penner, Steven Eckholdt and Lynn Clark were the original stars as restaurant owner David; his sportscaster brother, Thumper; and David's girlfriend, Susan, a cruise line executive. But producer David Frankel has recast the show. Eckholdt, who played Thumper, now is David to George Eads' (Savannah) Thumper; Kristy Swanson (Early Edition) is Susan. Frankel (Miami Rhapsody) refused to give up on Grapevine and brought it up with the past four programming chiefs at CBS. The network finally said yes, with some modifications. "The tone of the show this time around is sweeter and gentler, with more romance," Frankel says. His unofficial co-star is Miami. "There's a really sexy quality to the city," he says, "from the sultry air to the fact that people don't wear a lot of clothes here."

Borrowed from USA Today 11/26/99

Success of HBO series gives second life to `Grapevine'

Knight Ridder Newspapers
Date: 07/29/99 22:15

PASADENA, Calif. --With the success of the HBO series "Sex and the City," CBS has decided to give another chance to "Grapevine," a short-lived 1992 Miami-based series that had much the same tone as the Emmy-nominated cable show.

"Grapevine" was about the romances of three single people in Miami and the lives of their large circle of South Beach friends. The original show, which aired for six weeks in the summer of 1992, starred Jonathan Penner, Lynn Clark and Steven Eckholdt.

Kristy Swanson will be among the stars of the new version, which will once again be produced by David Frankel, who also wrote and directed the 1995 film "Miami Rhapsody."

CBS plans to introduce the show as a midseason replacement, and filming is expected to begin this fall in South Florida.

In fact, two of the biggest projects CBS presented to critics won't debut until after the first of the year.

One is "Falcone," the TV version of the mob movie "Donnie Brasco" based on the real-life exploits of undercover FBI agent Joseph Pistone. The show had been slated for this fall, but CBS pushed it back and ordered changes to the pilot because of several very violent scenes.

The other is "City of Angels," a hospital drama from the Stephen Bochco company that will feature a predominantly black cast, as well as a largely African-American production team. It will star Blair Underwood ("L.A. Law") and Michael Warren ("Hill Street Blues").

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Second Time the Charm For "Grapevine"
Mon, Jul 26, 1999 01:33 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES ( - CBS is giving "Grapevine" a second chance -- seven years later. The short-lived series from producer/writer David Frankel ("Miami Rhapsody" ) aired in summer 1992 for two months, and followed the lives of three friends in Miami Beach. The show featured characters talking directly to the camera, and used flashbacks.

Nancy Tellem, President, CBS Entertainment, announced Sunday that the net had ordered six episodes of the show for mid-season, with Kristy Swanson slated to star. Swanson most recently appeared on the Saturday CBS show "Early Edition," and will not return to the program. The new "Grapevine" will have a similar set-up to the previous version. According to Tellem, the first "Grapevine" was "before its time."

Frankel also produced and wrote the pilot "Dear Diary," starring Bebe Neuwirth ("Cheers") and Brian Kerwin ("Beggars & Choosers" ), which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Short Film/Live Action, when it was not picked up for a series.

Borrowed from Ultimate

DEJA VIEW: CBS has given the green light to six episodes of "Grapevine," a midseason series about the lives and loves of three Miami singles starring Kristy Swanson. The series is from writer/director David Frankel, but it's not entirely new. An earlier version with the same title -- also from Frankel -- aired on CBS in the summer of 1992 and starred Steven Eckholdt, Jonathan Penner and Lynn Clark. CBS Entertainment president Nancy Tellem said the series was ahead of its time in '92.

borrowed from 7/26/1999

What's Eating Grapevine?

For about five seconds in 1992, CBS aired a new show called Grapevine. It starred some unknown actors, including Steven It's Like, You Know Eckholdt as "Thumper" (yes, Thumper). The show took place in Miami, which CBS' website calls "America's sexiest city," and featured attractive, young, single white folks in and out of relationships with a penchant for talking to the camera. Guest stars were brought on for each episode to get involved with the core cast. Some of them include pre-fame Courtney Thorne-Smith, Terry "Dax" Farrell and Patrick "Puddy" Warburton. Rumor has it that the show was yanked off the schedule for being "too sexy."

Eight years later, TV standards have loosened up, and CBS has decided to retool Grapevine. Eckholdt's back on board, this time as David, with George Eads as Thumper and Kristy Swanson as Susan. David and Susan are in a relationship, and Thumper (sigh) is the stereotypical square-jawed "guy's guy": he sleeps around, he can't commit, he's into sports, he's constantly smirking. These pals get involved in each other's lives, fix each other up, and make jokes about sex.

It's still attractive, young, single white folks with a penchant for talking to the camera. Of course, in 1992, that was actually pretty innovative; only The Real World and It's Garry Shandling's Show were really exploring that terrain (unless you count the old Burns and Allen show). Today, that gimmick is "been there, done that," with shows like Get Real driving that "innovation" into the ground.

The return of Grapevine (which is still in "America's sexiest city," Miami) is probably due to the success of HBO's award-winning Sex and the City, with its sexual content, folks talking to the camera, and the voice-over of its heroine narrating the relationship exploits of herself and her friends, all of which makes Grapevine seem derivative. Well, Grapevine isn't terrible---it's, as we professional critics say, "eh." Swanson, who played Buffy in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie (but she's not bitter!) is fine, as is Eckholdt. And the revolving cast gimmick might be cute. But its semi-frank sex talk isn't all that fresh in 2000.

One of the problems, is, well, CBS. The network has virtually no other "Friends-y" programming like this; you know, for young, single whippersnappers. After all, CBS is the network of hour-long shows like Diagnosis: Murder. Their successful comedies, such as Cosby, skew much older. Grapevine airs on CBS' best comedy night, Monday, at 8:30, between The King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond, both about married folks with families.

Unless CBS is trying to bring in the twentysomethings, maybe a swap is in order. Grapevine would work much better on...well, anywhere. NBC could exterminate the crud that is Jesse. Fox could air it before Ally McBeal. Or best of all, ABC could take it, and use it to do with the Two Guys and a Girl what it has already done with the Pizza Place.

Angry Girl

borrowed from March 13 - 19, 2000

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Updated May 6, 2004
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