KNIGHTS OF PROSPERITY - ABC

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"You can’t always get what you want.

But if you try sometimes, you get what you need."

The memorable Rolling Stones lyric is now also a media metaphor for the new ABC sitcom, The Knights of Prosperity, a show whose pilot featured a cameo by the iconic Stones’ singer himself.

Originally entitled Let’s Rob Mick Jagger, Knights tells the tale of a band of have-nots plotting to rob the have-everything Mick Jagger after the gang’s leader sees his Manhattan mansion on an E! special. .

The premiere, which garnered a fourth place 4.9/7 household rating and share, reveals that the struggling network’s quest for more nights of prosperity probably should think twice before counting on The Knights of Prosperity.

So… while ABC doesn’t get what it wants – a seminal sitcom that defines our times and revives or reinvents the genre – it does get  what it needs. Prosperity has been a critically well-received sitcom thus far (including a rare gush from The Washington Post’s Tom Shales as “knee-slappingly and side-splittingly funny stuff”) and that kind of recognition enhances the networks image as a risk taking network.

This is a critical posture in the run-up to the Program Development Meetings this March in LA and the Upfront Presentations in May. This is particularly important in appealing to creators like Rob Burnett and Jon Beckerman, who bring Knights the same quirky comedic sensibilities they displayed working together on Ed and The Late Show with DavidLetterman.

Creatively cast with small-time grifters that make the A-Team look like TheUntouchables, this non-laugh track comedy creates laughs out of the lead played by Donal Logue from The Tao of Steve. It also gets them out of  nearly every bit player, particularly Maz Jorbani as politically incorrect cabbie Gourishankar Subramaniam . Try putting that on a marquee.

But as with many criminal capers, the fun is in assembling the team (think Ocean’s 11), not in the ongoing details of the robbery itself, which will make it hard to sustain as Knights is a chronological caper. It is especially difficult in a year when serialized dramas (Six Degrees, TheNine) and comedies (Big Day, Notes from the Underbelly) have already failed on ABC.

And soon, Knights will face the ultimate serialized drama, comedy and reality show in one: Fox’s American Idol.

By John Rash

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