Colin Quinn back on TV in 'Tough Crowd'

Friday, December 6, 2002

Fasten that seat belt in your recliner: Colin Quinn aims to rock your viewing experience.

The gravelly voiced comic and manic social critic is previewing a new talk show on Comedy Central. For it, he will gather with a few of his comedian cronies to discuss the news of the day -- and he promises no one is going to mince words.

"Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn" gets an eight-segment tryout Monday through Thursday next week and next at 10:30 p.m. CST."

"I'm going to read the paper and say, 'THIS is what I want to talk about tonight,"' Quinn says. "There'll be no democracy on my show. But there'll be lots of political insights and personal backstabbing."

But why have comics as his guests? Easy, explains Quinn. "They're not always funny, but it's easy to fool them into thinking a show like this is good for their career."

Will his show be PC? Those letters aren't even in his alphabet!

"Everyone's afraid of being boycotted, protested or vilified," sneers Quinn, who used to sound off as Weekend Update anchor on "Saturday Night Live." "People don't want to make trouble."

Except the people on his show. "We're going to talk on the air the way we talk around a table at the bar," he says.

And if "Tough Crowd" clicks, he could be back making trouble on a regular basis as soon as March.

Other shows to look out for:

-- Mary Tyler Moore and Burt Reynolds star in "Miss Lettie and Me," a TNT holiday film airing 8 p.m. Sunday. Lettie Anderson (Moore) lives alone on a small-town Southern farm, where, disappointed by people through the years, she has closed herself off to newcomers. But then Lettie's world is invaded by a precocious 9-year-old grandniece she never knew she had. Needless to say, Lettie's hard heart softens thanks to Travis, with the help of her newly resurfaced lost love (played by Reynolds).

-- Any project starring Vanessa Redgrave is worth your attention, and in "The Locket" this great actress stars as Esther Huish, a lonely nursing home resident whose interest in life is re-ignited by a new friend. (Sense a theme here?) In this case, it's a newly hired young attendant (Chad Willett), who has taken the job to pay off medical bills for the invalid mother he cared for until her death. But this is only the beginning of the challenges that Esther helps him meet, and, in the process, she conquers her own regrets. A Hallmark Hall of Fame production, "The Locket" airs on CBS 9 p.m. Sunday.

-- Now comes Jane Seymour as a woman in need of a heart transplant in "Heart of a Stranger." While she waits, ailing Jill Maddox is in the care of her teenage daughter (Maggie Lawson), who longs for mom to get the chance for a fresh start. She does, thanks to the transplanted heart from an 18-year-old boy, which fills fortysomething Jill with more youth and spirit than she or her daughter could have ever imagined. This film, based on a true story, airs on Lifetime 9 p.m. Monday.

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