For the last 8 years, game show fan Mike Burger has been running a fun competition, for TV fans (which have, at times, included TV insiders) to predict which 10 series will be canceled before the end of the season. When he named the competition in the fall of 2000, he named it after one of the patron saints of failed series, Alison LaPlaca. If you remember her at all, it’d be from Fox’s ’80s sitcom Duet. After Duet, LaPlaca was featured in a quick succession of one-and-done sitcoms, and by 2000, it was a running joke that if you cast her in a series, you were doomed to quick cancellation. So the Alison LaPlaca Open Television Death Pool was born. I’ve played the game over the last few years, and usually done a lousy job.
On Friday, the game pages at Mike’s website “disappeared”. Fortunately, on his blog, Mike put up a pointer to the new pages — now renamed the Cease and Desist Open Television Death Pool.
So what happened?
I don’t have all the details, but it appears that — after eight years — Alison LaPlaca’s lawyers found out about the Death Pool and slapped Mike with a cease-and-desist order on the use of her name.
To be honest, I was under the impression that public figures couldn’t get a C&D on the use of their names… but even if they can, this is about as mean-spirited of a misuse of our legal system as you can imagine. Apparently, Alison LaPlaca doesn’t only play bitches on TV…
EDIT NOTE: The game’s name and URL changed May 12, 2008. The new name is a pastiche of two known showkillers — bonus points if you (1) find this, (2) read it, and (3) know who I’m talking about. 🙂