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The Michael Richards Show aired from October 2000 until January 2001 on NBC.
The first of the Seinfeld alumni to get his own show was Michael Richards , with this misbegotten sitcom ( subsequently Jason Alexander's Bob Patterson and Julia Louise-Dreyfus' Watching Ellie did little better).
Vic ( Michael Richards) was a lanky , bumbling detective working for Brady McKay's small McKay Investigative Services. Although Vic usually got the job done, it was only after so many pratfalls, misunderstandings and screwups that everyone was left laughing rather than aplauding. Brady ( William Devane) was the cheerful, if curmudgeonly boss, while others in the streetside office were eager simpleton Stacey ( Amy Farrington), the new hire; photographer Kevin ( Tim Meadows), who had a peeping Tom fetish; and grumpy old pro Jack ( Bill Cobbs), who sparred with Kevin constantly.
A Review from variety
October 24, 2000 12:00AM PT
The Michael Richards Show
By Phil Gallo
NBC, astute in realizing the original debut episode of “The Michael Richards Show” was thoroughly unfunny, has replaced it with a seg that’s only slightly more comical. Sadly, the two episodes share a love of sophomoric shtick, a booming laugh track and a reliance on the character traits of Richards’ previous TV alter ego, Cosmo Kramer.
As private eye Vic Nardozza, Richards is a bumbling goofball who manages to solve cases despite his awkward techniques. In the pilot, Mitch (Hamilton Von Watts) hopes to catch his fiancee fooling around. She’s about to become his fourth wife and, well, she tends to drink a lot and then not be heard from for awhile.
Nardozza attempts to get a good-looking decoy to try to lure her from her barstool to a bedroom, but the gym teacher buddy he has been using declines the invite. Nardozza has to do it himself — but first he has to get in shape. In about an afternoon.
That does lead to the night’s lone comical riff as Nardozza attempts to be a smooth operator despite his muscles spasming at every turn from the workout. As the show goes from the bar to a hotel to a hospital, nothing else is very funny.
Nardozza’s office is stacked with oddballs, a suggestion that four Kramers is better than one. Tim Meadows, the “Saturday Night Live” alum now starring in bigscreener “The Ladies Man,” is a photographer-Peeping Tom who has a love-hate relationship with Jack (Bill Cobbs), the curmudgeonly veteran of the staff. Their jokes are as flat as the performances.
William Devane is Brady McKay, the head of the agency, and his transition from tough guy to kook does not fare as well as some notable transitions in the 1980s, when Leslie Nielsen and George Kennedy traded in their straight-laced dramatic personas for a few laughs.
Stacey (Amy Farrington) is a no-nonsense new hire. In the pilot, she was tackling a reorganization of the files. The dialogue is as such:
McKay: “Stacy’s bringing a new system to the office.”
Stacey: “The alphabet.”
Kevin: “Oh, so you want to do it that way.”
The laugh track keels over as it does each time Richards utters a line. The humor is lacking at every turn in this series and the wit is practically nonexistent. Richards’ marquee value is limited to the “Seinfeld” audience, which will demand more than physical quirks and slapstick. Intelligent humor is not what this show is going after — and it’s even obvious from the laugh track response. When questioned about the validity of a statement, Nardozza responds, in that Kramer-esque I-know-what-I’m-talking-about voice: “It’s a fact, like evolution.” The response is a mere chuckle.
Technically the show is indistinguishable from countless other over-the-top, soon-to-be-canceled sitcoms.
The Michael Richards Show
NBC, Tues. Oct. 24, 8 p.m.
Production: Taped in Los Angeles by Castle Rock Entertainment. Executive producers, Spike Festen, Andy Robin, Gregg Kavet, Michael Richards; co-executive producers, Ron Zimmerman, Dan Greaney; director, Asaad Kelada; writers, Kavet, Andy Robin.
Crew: Director of photography, Howell Peterson; editor, Danny White; casting, Brian Myers. 30 MIN.
Cast: Vic Nardozza - Michael Richards Stacey Devers - Amy Farrington Brady McKay - William Devane Jack - Bill Cobbs Kevin Blakeley - Tim Meadows
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 28, 2000
The Michael Richards Show
NBC, 8-8:30 PM DEBUTS OCT. 24
By Jeff Jensen
Pity the poor souls who made their reps on Seinfeld and dare to attempt something different on TV. Pity Michael Richards, the jiggly-limbed, shock-haired Kramer, the first of Seinfeld's Fab Four to give it a shot. Pity NBC's The Michael Richards Show -- please? They're begging. ''If you want to slam the show, that's fine,'' laughs Andy Robin, who cocreated and exec-produces with fellow Seinfeld alumni Gregg Kavet and Spike Feresten. ''Lower expectations can't hurt.''
Sorry. For we are journalists, called to keep an open mind about The Michael Richards Show -- even if it does come bumbling onto the schedule tagged as one of the season's most troubled new series. In this slapsticky detective-genre send-up, Richards plays L.A. gumshoe Vic Nardozza, whose eccentric tactics include an arsenal of daffy disguises: overzealous golf pro, hyperactive Red Cross worker, mild-mannered dentist. Version 1.0 of the sitcom was hell-bent on being the anti-Seinfeld: slow and moody; shot on location like a movie; no strong supporting cast. ''Three quarters of the way through,'' says Richards, who worked a week of 16-hour days to shoot the pilot, ''we knew there was no way we could do this every week.''
And there was an even more pressing problem: Test audiences -- ready to bust a gut at the sight of their old pal Kramer -- just didn't get it. ''People were looking for really hard laughs,'' says Robin. ''Expectations were bigger than we imagined.'' Thus began a summertime of Seinfeldization. Richards Version 2.0 is quick-moving, with multiple plots, jokey banter, a live studio audience, an office set that serves as home base, and a supporting cast of straight men. William Devane is the fatherly agency boss, Amy Farrington is the new recruit perplexed by Nardozza's methods, and Tim Meadows is the voyeuristic surveillance expert. ''It didn't feel like I was coming on a sinking ship. It felt like I was still on the ground floor,'' says the Saturday Night Live vet. ''The weirdest thing has been not having cue cards. I keep telling myself, Don't look around.''
The changes have effected Nardozza, too. ''The audience has given me a bit of kick,'' says Richards. ''I got broader.'' You mean, Vic's been Kramerized? ''I think Vic integrates Kramer,'' says Richards. ''People will see it if they want to see it.''
And how many people will that be, pray tell? NBC remains firmly optimistic. ''I've never seen a pilot that isn't better the second time,'' says Entertainment president Garth Ancier. ''The question is, is it better enough?... Having shot the first episode, I don't think people will be disappointed.'' With no pilot available for screening, we'll have to take Richards at his word: ''We think it's funny. The audience laughed,'' he says. ''But I don't know.... We'll see. Please let us know.''
A Review from The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Kramer Re-emerges, Disguised as an Inept Detective
By CARYN JAMES
Published: October 24, 2000
Vic Nardozza seems like a character out of a confusing dream: he's Kramer but at the same time he's not Kramer; he is a detective at an agency where the photographer is a recovering voyeur; he is controlled by people who have trouble figuring out what week it is. This is not some surreal trick but the misbegotten premiere of ''The Michael Richards Show.''
Mr. Richards arrives with enormous good will and likability from his days as Kramer on ''Seinfeld,'' and as Vic he displays many Kramer qualities. There are the loose limbs, the raised eyebrows, the startled look.
Yet Vic has no personality of his own. He is as bumbling as Kramer but doesn't seem to be a brilliant detective savant. Who knows what he is?
We do know he has had a rocky journey. The show's original pilot was revamped and cast members added. A few weeks ago the new first episode was finally sent to critics. It is predictable and banal. Investigating a rich geezer who might be doing drugs, Vic puts on many disguises, which at least plays to Mr. Richards's gift for physical comedy. But the characters around him are lame, and several first-rate actors wasted. Tim Meadows plays the voyeuristic photographer, Bill Cobbs, a grumpy old detective, and William Devane is the almost-as-grumpy owner of the agency. The script is awful, but as a first episode it suggests the broad sitcom humor and visual jokes the series is going for.
But wait. Recently NBC decided to show that pilot at some later date and replace it with yet another premiere.
The episode scheduled for tonight (barring a last-minute reprieve from the governor) is actively bad, even incompetent. When Vic is hired to investigate a man's unfaithful fiancee, he becomes the bait, though it takes half the show to arrive at that obvious point.
As he fumbles his way through the case, even the physical humor is mishandled. When Mr. Richards tumbles backward out a window, the camera is at a skewed angle and he is almost hidden by another actor. When he asks the fiancee to dance, the scene seems truncated; yet, additional film of Mr. Richards's gangly Krameresque dance is used under the closing credits.
The series seems to be going in reverse, getting worse instead of better, as if it were trapped in the backward episode of ''Seinfeld.'' The apparent problem is how to capitalize on the Kramer character yet create something new. Trying to have it both ways, the creators of the show seem caught in their own nightmare.
THE MICHAEL RICHARDS SHOW
NBC, tonight at 8
(Channel 4 in New York)
Spike Feresten, Gregg Kavet, Michael Richards and Andy Robin, creators and executive producers; Ron Zimmerman and Dan Greaney, co-executive producers; Suzy Mamann Greenberg and Brian Kelley, supervising producers; Mark Driscoll, consulting producer. Written by Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin; directed by Asaad Kelada.
WITH: Michael Richards, William Devane, Bill Cobbs, Amy Farrington and Tim
An Article from the Chicago Tribune
"The Michael Richards Show": Is it too late to ask for...
October 24, 2000|By Steve Johnson, Tribune Television Critic.
"The Michael Richards Show": Is it too late to ask for "The Jason Alexander Show" instead? Viewers who watch this piece of videotaped Limburger (7 p.m., WMAQ-Ch. 5), and NBC execs, too, have to wonder.
After much inauspicious retooling, the anticipated Kramer-as-private eye concept lands on the television schedule like one of Richards' patented pratfalls -- out a several-story window. Which, coincidentally, happens, to no comic effect, in the series opener.
Almost nothing works here. Not Richards' character, a Los Angeles private eye named Vic Nardozza forced into antic situations. Not William Devane (saddled with a Warren Commission joke) as his boss or Tim Meadows as a colleague. And certainly not the tone of the show, which wants to be loose and offbeat but comes off sloppy and patchwork.
There is exactly one good line here. Richards walks into the office announcing something like "103 went Spanish." Then, he adds, "That's my third preset wiped out by NAFTA." You're welcome for the 30 minutes saved.
This was the third try at a "Richards" opener. The original pilot was scrapped over the summer. The new pilot was sent to critics in early October, and it was bad, too, though not quite this bad. Then came this. What's that old saying about three strikes?
A Review from TeeVee.org
Fall 2000: "The Michael Richards Show"
by Monty Ashley November 9, 2000
And now, a look inside the mind of the producers of The Michael Richards Show:
"It's been two years since Seinfeld, so the viewing public is no doubt starved for quality television entertainment. And since we don't have any to give them, we'll just stick Kramer in a suit."
With that out of the way, let's get to the petty sniping. The Michael Richards Show stars Michael Richards as Vic Nardozza, a great detective. Or that's what the show would have us believe, anyway. On the job, he's clearly a complete incompetent, who should be locked up someplace with soft walls and soothing music, but the characters keep saying things like "Vic, you're the best!" It's disconcerting.
That's what probably happens behind the scenes, too. Michael Richards has built a narrow reputation based on the amusing way he used to enter a television apartment, and now he's got people surrounding him, talking up his comic timing and before you know it, there he his falling over couches in prime time again.
Naturally, the writers of The Michael Richards Show weren't satisfied with putting the convulsive twitches of an alleged detective on television screens, so he has comic relief second bananas, too. They're there for when the viewer gets tired of the ponderous issues raised by a detective constantly in danger of strangling on his own tie.
Comic Relief Drone Number One is Tim Meadows, who you may remember from Saturday Night Live. You might also have seen the commercials for his recent movie "The Ladies Man." I'll just go ahead and assume you didn't actually watch the movie. Tim's character, Kevin Blakely, is a voyeur. Get it? He works for a private detective, and he's a voyeur! Isn't it deliciously spicy? It leads to wacky punchlines that mention -- get this -- sex! Wow! Edgy! In your face! Proactive!
Or, as it turns out, not so much. It's a sad thing when a sitcom can't wring laughs out of a premise like that. Or indeed, any premise at all.
The show also features a pair of guys (Brady and Jack) played by William Devane and Bill Cobbs whose main job is to be old and cranky. And then there's Amy Farrington, who's a woman. None of these allegedly comic relief put half the effort into their wackiness that Richards does. It's exhausting to watch him flinging himself at the ground over and over. Exhausting, but not, for some reason, amusing. I never thought I'd pine for the days of Chevy Chase and the brilliantly nuanced way he used to fall down.
In fact, for a show based around a funny-face goofball, the subplots are surprisingly somber. In the pilot, for example, Kevin thought Jack was dying, and then Jack had a stroke. And then heartwarming hilarity ensued when it turned out that Jack had just had his first ice cream headache.
The truth is, like so many other television shows, The Michael Richards Show isn't amazingly terrible. All of the wrong-headed thinking happened before the cameras started rolling. What's on the screen isn't really worth a hyperbolic discourse -- it'll be gone in a month and forgotten in a year. Big deal and good riddance.
I'm sorry. That was mean. The truth is, I hope this show lasts for years with really low ratings. Every three or four shows, the writers could come up with a new "comically" incoherent job for Richards. He's a spastic fireman! He's an epileptic mechanic! He's a congressman with an inner-ear disorder! He's a short-order cook with no control of his bowels! He's an orthopedic surgeon with the hiccups! And so on, until everyone in Hollywood has the whole thing out of their system.
A Review From The Daily Free Press
Richards Show? won?t survive
Issue date: 11/16/00 Section: Muse
Many fans were disappointed when ?Seinfeld? went off the air. The show that coined the phrases ?bubble boy,? ?soup nazi,? and ?yada, yada, yada? was one of the highest-rated comedies ever. But, perhaps the things we all miss about ?Seinfeld? were the antics of Cozmo Kramer (Michael Richards).
Naturally it was wonderful to hear the news that NBC had offered Michael Richards his own show. Two years in the making, fans figured this show would be a sure thing. After all, this is Kramer we?re talking about; how could it fail? Well, the show has premiered and the reactions are mixed.
No doubt, Michael Richards is a talented actor; he?s a three-time Emmy winner. If you put him in the right vehicle it will take off. But, now that ?The Michael Richards Show? has aired, most people seem to be asking, ?What happened??
The show itself has been through several re-vamps, has shot two pilots and has been an on-again, off-again production for at least a year. The show almost never made it to the small screen. The pilot was scrapped and re-shot. The second pilot was supposedly so awful, that NBC aired the second episode of the series in lieu of the pilot. Either way, the show is mediocre at best.
The show revolves around Richards. He plays private detective Vic Nardozza, who uses unconventional methods to solve crimes. The show is not Richards? best work, but he did rise from second banana to lead star in just two years. Unfortunately, that was not enough time to get the results NBC was expecting. Richards created a much more entertaining and funny character while playing Kramer, who wasn?t the lead in ?Seinfeld.? Writers could make him as goofy as they wanted, and the fans loved it. The writers used Kramer to balance out a ridiculous storyline created for Jerry and Elaine.
Maybe it would help to have a supporting cast to bolster ?The Michael Richards Show.? Unfortunately the current one is trite. William Devane plays the owner of the detective agency Vic works for, McKay Investigative Services. Devane is a veteran actor and has worked in comedy before, but his formula doesn?t work. It makes no sense to have Vic working for anybody, especially a character who does nothing but walk around the office and drink coffee.
Tim Meadows? character is particularly slow-witted, and it seems the writers were merely fitting him into the mold for dependable supporting cast member. Even ?The Ladies Man? was more exciting. Meadows is mixed in with veteran actor Bill Cobbs, as well as Amy Farrington, a relative newcomer, both of whom are average. Their characters seem to have little room to grow in the series.
All that said, there are up sides to the show. Fans are not totally deceived, because there are plenty of famous slapstick sequences for which Richards is known. However, this also proves to be a weakness and, at times, an overkill. Every episode the writers have to use the clumsy routine to remind the audience this was Kramer at one point.
NBC is hoping Richards? big name will make people continue to watch the show. But, despite the name, the second episode took an extreme plunge in ratings. The show has its moments, and it can be funny, but, like many of the new fall shows, it just doesn?t live up to the hype.
An Article from the LA Times
NBC Cancels the Struggling Sitcom 'Michael Richards Show'
December 08, 2000|PAUL BROWNFIELD | TIMES STAFF WRITER
NBC has canceled "The Michael Richards Show," a move that had been rumored for some weeks and which ends a high-profile failure for Richards, who was attempting a return to situation comedy after his beloved role as Kramer on "Seinfeld."
From the beginning, the sitcom in which Richards played a private detective was beset by problems. The original pilot was thrown out, and sources say the show's direction was repeatedly retooled and Richards would improvise on the fly, causing internal turmoil. Not long after the show's launch in October, Spike Feresten, one of the sitcom's executive producers, was let go, but the series continued to struggle at 8 p.m. Tuesdays.
For NBC, there were serious financial concerns with the sluggish ratings, given that the network had given Richards a 13-episode guarantee at what insiders put at about $1 million per episode. The show was produced jointly by Castle Rock Television and Warner Bros. Television.
The show's last airing on NBC will be Jan. 2. On Jan. 9, NBC's new Tuesday night lineup of sitcoms will feature "3rd Rock From the Sun" at 8, "Dag" at 8:30, "Frasier" at 9 and the new domestic comedy "Three Sisters" at 9:30.
"Dateline NBC" will continue to air at 10.
Richards was the first of the ex-"Seinfeld" core cast to attempt a return to series television since the benchmark sitcom went off the air in 1998.
To watch clips of The Michael Richards Show go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+michael+richards+show
For an article on The Michael Richards Show go to http://www.vulture.com/2013/06/the-michael-richards-show-we-can-cross-off-what-if-kramer-was-a-detective-from-our-wacky-scenario-list.html
For an article on The Michael Richards Show go to https://tv.avclub.com/the-ghost-of-kramer-killed-the-michael-richards-show-1798251598
For a review of The Michael Richards Show go to https://web.archive.org/web/20070320074328/https://www.popmatters.com/tv/reviews/m/michael-richards-show.html
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Keywords: Michael Richards