'Trek' Alumni Score Gigs On NBC

By Caillan
May 13, 2003 - 11:14 AM

Cast of 'Whoopi' - courtesy Zap2it, copyright Paramount Pictures Three Star Trek alumni have landed a spot on NBC's 2003-2004 primetime line-up.

Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg, who played the recurring role of bartender Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation, will star in and executive produce Whoopi, Zap2it reported.

The half-hour sitcom, which is scheduled to air on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m., revolves around a washed-up singer, Mavis Rae (Goldberg) who has spent the last 15 years running a small hotel. In order to revive her flagging career, Rae expands the hotel bar into a lounge where she can entertain her guests. The "twist" is that Rae lets out some of her office space to her uptight younger brother and his wife, which causes them to clash on a regular basis.

In a preliminary look at Whoopi, Zap2it said the series "has potential to be a huge disappointment". Although the pilot caused the studio audience, or more precisely, the canned laughter track, "to guffaw, hoot and clap at every tired punchline", the web site said "Goldberg's exasperation at her 'white-acting' brother and his white gangsta girlfriend is by-the-numbers".

Cast of 'Happy Family' - courtesy Zap2it, copyright Paramount Pictures Whoopi will be followed in the Tuesday 8:30 p.m. timeslot by another new sitcom, Happy Family. This comedy series features two Trek faces, Emmy Award-winner John Larroquette (Maltz in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock) and Susan Gibney, who played Dr. Leah Brahms in TNG's "Booby Trap" and "Galaxy's Child" and Captain Erika Benteen in DS9's "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost".

Happy Family centres around a married couple (Larroquette and Cybill's Christine Baranski), whose plans to settle down and enjoy life are interrupted when their twenty-something children return to wreak havoc in their lives. Gibney will play the next-door neighbour, Maggie, who with the couple's youngest son, Tim.

Zap2it delivered a cautious verdict on the series, writing that "the stars may be stuck in roles that require little more than slow burns and double takes", but added the "supporting cast shows potential".

NBC did not pick up another sitcom pilot featuring former Trek actors, the Tom Selleck comedy, Touch 'Em All McCall. The series would have starred Paul Dooley (Enabran Tain on Deep Space Nine) and Susan Diol (Voyager's Danara Pel).

Further details on NBC's fall schedule are available at the Futon Critic and Zap2it.

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