Mike Olshansky in Hack

David Morse - Hack

Posted on Mon, Nov. 04, 2002

Gail Shister | With a show to carry, Morse is sweating the Nielsens

By Gail Shister
Inquirer Columnist

David Morse is playing Hack by the numbers.

Before starring in the new CBS drama, Morse never bothered with ratings or box-office figures. Now that he's carrying a whole show - and the jobs that come with it - the numbers matter.

"I actually feel more pressure than I thought I would," Morse said the other day between takes at Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Center City. "As the lead, jobs are depending on me."

No surprise, then, that Morse was a happy fella last week when CBS ordered nine more episodes of the Philly-based Hack, for a full season's 22. It's averaging a respectable 11 million viewers at 9 p.m. Fridays.

"Everybody was on pins and needles," says Morse, who checks the Nielsen ratings every week, even though he's a numbers novice. "It's exciting. Now we can do this show the way we feel it should be done."

To Morse, that means digging deeper into his character, Mike Olshansky, a disgraced Philadelphia cop seeking redemption as a beneficent cabbie. Andre Braugher is his former partner.

"Now you really feel like Olshansky's soul is on the line. You've entered dangerous territory. That's what you hope for as an actor."

Hack camped out at Loews for three days last week. The story line has Olshansky discovering $10,000 left behind by a fare he had dropped off at the hotel.

Olshansky spends the episode trying to find the guy and return the cash. The segment, "All Night Long," is scheduled to air Nov. 22.

CBS chief Les Moonves says Hack "has better than a 50-50 shot" to return in the fall for a second season.

"I believe in the show. The stars are great. I'm very pleased with its performance in the time slot. If it continues to improve a little bit - we're not looking for miracles - it's got a decent shot."

On an unrelated topic, we asked Moonves which new shows on other networks he'd like to have on his schedule. His choices: NBC's Boomtown and ABC's 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.

Boomtown "is trying something different, unique. It's also very well cast." Simple's John Ritter "is very charming. A legitimate TV star."

New top jock at 'PHL. Philadelphia's WB17 News has a new sports director - Geraud Moncuré, formerly weekend sports anchor at L.A.'s KCOP. He debuted on the 10 p.m. show Thursday.

Moncuré replaces Mike Missanelli, who couldn't come to terms on a new contract. MM was to have stuck around until Dec. 2, the day his one-year deal expires.

Missanelli, a weekday talker on WIP-AM (610), recently asked that his last day be Oct. 31, says 'PHL chief Leslie Glenn.

"It made sense," she says. "Obviously, Mike didn't want to be here. This let Geraud start cleanly. It's better for both parties that Mike not stay on. We wish him well."

Here's where it gets murky. Missanelli says he was told Oct. 31 not to come in that day. Glenn says he called in sick. Moncuré, scheduled to start Nov. 1, took over a day early.

St. Louis-born Moncuré, 36, raised in L.A., has previous stops in Dallas; Fresno, Calif.; and Memphis.

Freelancer Blaine Applegate will continue as weekend sports anchor until a full-time replacement is named.

Originally, Moncuré signed a three-year contract for weekends. When talks with Missanelli went south, Glenn says, Moncuré got his gig.

Although some of his earlier statements blasted management, Missanelli was tossing bouquets Friday. "There are no hard feelings on my part. We're both going in different directions. I'm grateful for the opportunity they gave me."

Where's Lisa? Lisa Thomas-Laury, coanchor of WPVI's 5 p.m. Action News, was out all last week and was missing in action for chunks of October and September.

What gives?

LTL is having a negative reaction to medication for treating numbness in her feet, says a 'PVI rep. She may be back today, "depending on how she's feeling," the rep says.

Contact Gail Shister at 215-854-2224 or gshister@phillynews.com.



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