Rock TV: The SitCom
A bit of background, Rock TV’s sit-com actually had 37 episodes in the can. It is believed the plug was pulled by the CW after the “Zac Efron Debacle”.
According to CW executives, the show runners told them they had Zach Efron set up to appear on the season finale. It turned out that by the time of filming, noone had spoken to Efron’s management. They tried to pass off a stage hand (New Jersey native Bernstein “Lifty” McBigg) as Efron. The audience revolted and caused several million dollars in damage to the CW studios.
As this damage was several times “the Sanderson’s” budget, the CW changed the terms of the contract, throwing the cast and writers into a quickie reality show. Winner of the reality show made the news when Steve Guttenberg punched him at their meeting with over coffee. According to witnesses, Guttenberg went ballistic when Jordan asked Guttenberg “when is this Steve guy showing up?” Cast and crew express disappointment over the show’s failure. “I thought we really had a shot, especially sandwiched between re-runs of Designing Women and that show with Amanda Bynes and the girl from the old 90210,” laments Peter.
But the real shock of the story is what became of “wacky neighbor” Stroganoff. According to show runner Peter, Stroganoff was tough to work with. “First off, he refused to go by the name we gave him for the series. The character was originally named Severus Jones-we just referred to him as ‘Jones’ in scripts-but he demanded we call the character Stroganoff, claiming that he was the character.” The on set friction with cast member Brandi was most obvious when he would enter a seen. “He totally would eclipse her,” notes Adam (one of the show’s editors), “I mean, totally eclipsed…you could not see her. He would intentionally miss his marks so she could not be seen by the camera.”
If that was not bad enough, there was the law suit from guest star Weird Al Yankovik. Although never made public, there was a brief mention of inappropriate hair stroking.
It is believed that one of the terms of the settlement was the show was never released on DVD. Stroganoff claims Weird Al over-reacted, but due in part of the law suit, Stroganoff was fired after four episodes. “Between the whole thing with Weird Al, the problems with his diva like behavior and the cast and crew griping that he smelled like bagels? He really had to go,” Welle explains. “Besides, that was the deal with the drum sticks?!”
After the writers replaced Stroganoff with an alien, an embittered Stroganoff attempted to get executives to give him his own sitcom, as an attempt to compete with RockTV’s CW sit-com. Picked up by Fox, and to be aired after the super-bowl, a racist verbal assault on Steve Martin resulted in Fox dropping the show. Even an apology (accused by critics as being stilted and insincere) on Carson Daily’s show failed to save the program. It is rumored that Stroganoff’s antics resulted in the cancellation of My Name is Earl-even though he has no ties to the program in any way.
He was rejected from CelebRehab on VH1 six times (in spite of the series only having two seasons so far). According to Dr. Drew Pinsky, heavy consumption of Pez candy does not currently qualify as an addiction.
Ultimately, RockTV’s crew has gone on to other Rock TV related endeavors with results, but the biggest success story is Smetka. Smetka had four successful shows: the sitcom Smetka, the comedy adventure show Smetka:Action Janitor, the emmy winning Smetka:ER Janitor and the travelling humorous observational Smetka’s America. He also hosted three seasons Campfire Roulette.
getting sued by Weird Al? that has to be the ultimate
As soon as I saw the mention of Weird Al’s “diva like behavior” I knew we were dealing with humor from some alternate universe. “Weird Al” Yankovic is known for consistently being a mensch, but I guess they’ll know better than to audition that “Yankovik” guy again. 😛
Al wasn’t the diva (Stroganoff was…but reading it again, I can see how it looks like it means Al was the Diva :)))…but yeah, that is definitely against Al’s public persona. 🙂
All this created backstory for a character’s mere 7 second appearance on a Rock TV! Brilliant!