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Ex-'American Idol' co-host Brian Dunkleman pitching sitcom comeback


By John Bracchitta and Steve Rogers, 01/22/2009 

Former American Idol first-season co-host-turned-trivia answer Brian Dunkleman is trying to make a comeback on television.

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Dunkleman and Frozen Pictures are currently shopping American Dunkleman, a scripted comedy series in which the one time Idol host would play a fictional version of himself that is trying to make his way back into the television industry after making "the biggest mistake in the history of show business."

"Brian Dunkleman is a great comic actor," said Frozen Pictures' Brett Hudson, one of the show's writers and creators along with Burt Kearns. "He's a very self-aware personality who's got the timing, the face -- and the name -- for comedy. Dunkleman the character fits somewhere between Rodney Dangerfield and Charlie Brown. The audience can't help but identify with and root for him."

American Dunkleman's concept is, of course, based on Dunkleman's "decision" to leave his post as American Idol's co-host along with Ryan Seacrest following the show's first season in 2002 "in order to pursue other opportunities in the world of TV and feature films."

Dunkleman's announcement had come after several media outlets had already reported that although they weren't necessarily opposed to it, Fox executives (who had had already re-signed Seacrest a few weeks earlier) were largely indifferent to the prospect of Dunkleman's return.

In 2006, Dunkleman "broke his silence" about why he "walked away" from the Fox reality competition after its first season.

"The truth is I really left the show to pursue an acting career. I wanted to be a performer and not someone who introduces other performers. It was my decision," Dunkleman told Inside Edition in an interview that represented his first television interview since he left American Idol.

During the interview, Dunkleman also acknowledged his "decision" was probably a mistake.

"I'm not saying it was a good decision because, obviously with the success of the show, it's a difficult decision to think back on and think I did the right thing," Dunkleman, who was working as a standup comedian and living in a modest Los Angeles apartment at the time, told Inside Edition. "To see that it's going to run for the next 30 years, obviously it's really tough not to second guess but I'm actually watching the show for the first time since Season 2."

According to Dunkleman, one of the additional reasons he left American Idol was its "cruelty." "I agonized over it, really, but I quite honestly had a very difficult time with how cruel the show was. It really affected me."

A "pitch tape" of American Dunkleman can be seen at AmericanDunkleman.com.


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