My idea of a must-see TV network

By Kevin Wilson: FNM columnist

Our eighth-grade honors English teacher had us do a daily writing. She read the papers, but never graded them. She wanted us to write to learn more about ourselves and be better writers.

It was there I dreamed of a TV job and wrote, “I’ll someday own a television network, and program things people would want to watch.”

Um, eighth-grade Kevin … who asked you? Grown-up Kevin will fill his station with programs HE wants to watch. If the people don’t like it … he’s rich enough to own a network. Program, watch, or get out of the way.

And if anybody questioned my shows, I’d ask back, “Why the Heck Not?” The lineup on WHN would be indicative of a desire to try something new, or steal better ideas.

Here’s Thursday night’s lineup on Why the Heck Not:

• 8 p.m.: Cheers: On an ESPN podcast, Kevin Wildes of the network will pitch three “half-baked ideas” to Bill Simmons. One Wildes idea is to recast old television series.

Charlie Sheen makes $850,000 per episode of “Two and a Half Men,” and he gets the summer off to do movies. Make that same offer to Vince Vaughn to be the new Sam Malone. Have a ridiculous episode with Kevin Garnett, or reset it in a city other than Boston. Tell me this wouldn’t be as good as ABC’s “Wipeout” or Fox’s “Hole in the Wall,” both based on Japanese game shows. How about trying something that’s worked in America before trying something that worked in Japan?

• 8:30 p.m.: Why I’m Here. I have an on-again, off-again relationship with CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother,” which is based on a dad telling his children how … never mind.

Anyway, why just make it a flashback scene? Make the ending the entire episode. The second episode builds up to the first, the third to the second. Foreshadowing becomes reminiscing, and vice versa. Viewers would still follow week to week, but they’d wonder, “Why did that happen”” instead of “What will happen?”

• 9 p.m.: Stuff We Couldn’t Mock. Again, I’m stealing ideas. When Conan O’Brien first came on NBC, he had a segment where he mocked events in the news preceding his show’s debut.

Make it a half-review, half-comedy show. Get some low-level news host to give the particulars, then get all those comedians VH1 let go from those “I Love” shows.

• 9:30 p.m.: What If? A little bit of seriousness leading into the news, but still ridiculous enough for water-cooler talk the next day. Take an event in history, change one monumental fact, and let a rotating panel of experts hash it out like Bill Maher does.

I’ll even suggest the first four episodes. What If … the Boston Celtics won the 1997 draft lottery and got Tim Duncan … NBC had given “The Tonight Show” to Letterman … Andrew Johnson told his secretary of state the Alaska Purchase is a stupid idea … Woodward and Bernstein decided they only wanted to cover sports for the Washington Post.

So with all due respect to eighth-grade Kevin, that’s how it’s done. Anybody who wants to start the network for me gets to hear about the next six nights of programming.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail:

kevin_wilson@link.freedom.com