Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Here are a few trades made for prime time

With the summer TV season about two weeks away, we can thank Monday's switcheroo by Jay Leno (who guest-hosted 'Today') and Katie Couric (who guest-hosted 'The Tonight Show') for planting the seeds of a new and welcome trend. Just chuck the reruns, and make the following trades. some of which might make even Bob Whitsitt blush.

• Tony Soprano for Bob Barker: Sex and violence work in prime time, so maybe it's time to bring it to daytime game shows. 'Come on down!' could be replaced by the peppier 'I'm going to break your legs!' With a game-show host as head of the household in 'The Sopranos,' the estranged Mrs. Soprano would undoubtedly come back just to claim her 'brand new car!'

• Dr. Phil for President Bartlet: 'West Wing,' which has seen its ratings plummet this season and now faces the loss of its executive producer, Aaron Sorkin, could use a new, tough-love president. And face it, if the presidential election were held today, Dr. Phil probably would win.

Martin Sheen could use Phil's forum in the afternoon to advance his already-vocal political views, testing the waters for a real presidential run while trying to help couples in crisis.

• Ray Romano for Michael Jackson: As head of the household in 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' Jackson could begin repairing his image and show the world that he can adjust to a normal family life. Of course, he'd be living by himself after the wife, kids and relatives all moved out. But that would just give Michael more face time.

Romano could undergo cosmetic surgery on 'Extreme Makeovers' to make him look more like Diana Ross, then launch a singing career.

• Paul Allen for Oprah Winfrey: The Blazers would finally get an owner who isn't afraid to get in front of a camera and talk. And talk and talk. The show could get a week's worth of episodes with 'host makeovers,' showing what Allen would look like after Oprah's team of hair stylists got through with him.

• Regis Philbin for Kathie Lee Gifford: Bring back self-centered Kathie to team up with her replacement, the even more self-centered Kelly Ripa, and watch all hell break loose. Could be renamed 'Live with Kathie and Kelly: The Real Fear Factor.' Regis could baby-sit Cody, although isn't Cody about 43 by now?

• The 'CSI' cast for Larry King: Larry could investigate all those grisly crimes from his CNN set: 'Blood splatter in Buffalo, New York Hello?' If the 'CSI' actors and actresses end up looking clueless on what questions to ask of newsmakers and politicians, it would be no different from what King does on a nightly basis.

• Bill Bennett to FX's 'Lucky' for a future draft choice: The show about a compulsive gambler could use a guest star who wouldn't have to fake it.

• Jennifer Aniston for Judge Judy: Judge Judy moves into the 'Friends' apartment scolding everybody, while Aniston starts meting out justice. You're bound to get a bigger male audience for 'Judge Judy' and some unexpected hijinks when the judge makes a pass at Chandler and Ross before announcing she's really Joey's mother.

Pete Schulberg is the host of 'Portland's Morning News' on KPAM (860 AM). Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .