The newest "cool" thing for the networks to do is to find something that is popular on the Web and make a real life TV series out of it.
NBC tried last year with "Quarterlife," which still is a popular Web series produced by Marshall Hershovitz and Ed Zwick, who have a series of hits like "30-something" to their credit. "Quarterlife" failed spectacularly, even by NBC's low standards.
"In The Motherhood" started out as a Web series starring Leah Remini, Jenny McCarthy and Chelsea Handler, who starred in episodes based on real-life misadventures of real-life moms. It still has a popular following.
I haven't seen the Web series, but I did watch ABC's pilot for the small-screen version of "In The Motherhood" (ABC, 8 p.m.), which stars Cheryl Hines, Megan Mullally and Jessica St. Clair as three working women/moms. Shot in single-camera style, the pilot includes Hines trying to go on a date with a co-worker; Mullally faking a pregnancy to get all of the perks, such as strangers buying her coffee; and St. Clair telling her kids there is no Santa Claus.
I barely managed even a chuckle. The first rule of comedy is that the program should make you laugh, but despite the pedigree of Hines and Mullally, the only time I even cracked a slight smile was when Hines' oversexed boss (Rachael Harris) had a couple of scenes.
"Motherhood" is teaming with the return of "Samantha Who?" to temporarily replace the struggling "Ugly Betty" for a few weeks, but ABC is going to have to come up with a better option.
Perhaps mining the internet for program ideas may not be the way to go in the future.
THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: I hope some of you have your NCAA pools intact. March Madness continues tonight (CBS, 7:30 p.m.) and runs through the weekend.
Fishnets and all, the DC Comics magician Zatanna pops up in tonight's "Smallville" (CW, 8 p.m.) As tempted as I was to write all of this backwards, Zatanna grants Chloe a wish to switch bodies with Lois. It's followed by a new "Supernatural," in which the Winchesters find themselves in a parallel world where they work in an office.
New episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" follow the sitcoms on ABC, beginning at 9 p.m.
Fox has a double-dose of reality with "American Idol" and "Hell's Kitchen," beginning at 8 p.m.
NBC offers much better sitcom options with "My Name Is Earl," "The Office" and "30 Rock," and that lineup is even better since an "Office" rerun airs at 8:30 p.m. in place of the dreadful "Kath & Kim." They are followed by one of the final episodes of "ER" at 10 p.m.
Finally, on cable, is a new "The Beast" (A&E, 10 p.m.)