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TV Land brings Farrah Fawcett back to TV with 'Chasing Farrah' debut


By Wade Paulsen, 03/23/2005 

Put a TV star who ruled American airwaves (and whose poster dominated adolescent male bedrooms) during the 1970s together with a TV network that rebroadcasts shows from the 1960s through the 1980s, and what do you get? A reality TV match made in heaven.

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The once and perhaps future star is Farrah Fawcett, now 57, who became (almost overnight) both a major TV star as Jill Munroe in Charlie's Angels and America's #1 pin-up girl in 1976-77. The TV network is TV Land, an offshoot of Nickelodeon that now operates as part of the MTV Networks division of Viacom. And the show is Chasing Farrah, a six-episode series that will air Wednesdays at 10 PM beginning March 23.

Chasing Farrah will largely show Farrah jet-setting around America. For example, in the premiere she attends the U.S. Open, parties with her friend (and reality TV veteran) Alana Stewart and tries to hire an assistant. Future episodes feature Farrah and her entourage of hangers-on and sycophants on the town in Miami as she party-hops and on a Manhattan shopping spree that comes to a halt when they try to get some face time with NYC firefighters combating a store fire.

In addition, Farrah will deal with such ordinary issues as searching for a lost wallet and getting head-to-toe salon treatments -- perhaps in a bid to show that she no longer uses the radical "disco queen" amounts of gel and hairspray that supposedly gave ex-husband (and Six Million Dollar Man star) Lee Majors a broken nose when she hit him in the face with her ponytail while rolling over in her sleep. Shades of "dumb blonde" Jessica Simpson.

Farrah also spends time on the beach with ex-lover Ryan O'Neal, the father of her 21-year-old son Redmond ... although advance publicity for the show does not address the widely-reported rumor that they were finally going to marry during Chasing Farrah.

Redmond, who has a long history of drug abuse and drug arrests and admitted in court (in April 2004) to being a heroin addict, does not appear to figure in the show at all, at least according to the press release. Another person unlikely to appear in the show is Ryan's daughter Tatum O'Neal, who (along with her brother Griffin) also struggled with extensive drug abuse problems, including heroin. Hmm, is there a pattern here?

Tatum, in an interview last year on The Oprah Winfrey Show, described Farrah in typical "dumb blonde" terms: "I just don't know how to communicate with her. Like I don't know if she remembers, you know what I mean? Like I just don't know what planet she's on."

Tatum's comments bring to mind a famous dimwitted (or, possibly, chemically-altered, although Farrah has long denied it) appearance by Farrah on CBS's The Late Show with David Letterman in 1997, while trying to plug her nude Playboy photo spread. The interview became legendary because of Farrah's complete cluelessness on stage. For example, she clearly believed that the fake window on Letterman's set was real, and she denied being nude when she "body-painted" because "I have paint on."

These descriptions makes Farrah sound quite similar to Jessica Simpson, star of MTV's Newlyweds, who didn't know whether "Chicken of the Sea" was chicken or tuna and passed up Buffalo wings because "I don't eat buffalo." Can Farrah ape Jessica's success and return to her onetime role as the empty-headed sex symbol for baby boomers? That appears to be TV Land's goal. Perhaps MTV Networks hopes that "dumb blonde" lightning strikes twice.

Chasing Farrah is executive produced by Craig Nevius (Windmill Productions) and Sal Maniaci (TV Land's Vice President of Development and Production).

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