You might think that the networks would have learned something from the enormous egg that Jenny McCarthy laid on NBC last year.
The Playboy centerfold/MTV "star" was given her own sitcom - "Jenny." It was hyped to the heavens before imploding and being tossed off the air.The show's biggest problem was its star. Other than what she displayed on the pages of Playboy, McCarthy has no talent to speak of. She was wildly overmatched by even that weak show's simplistic scripts.
But, apparently, that lesson didn't sink in. Three more refugees from MTV have prominent roles in new shows this fall - and not one of them can act at all.
Former veejay Jon Sencio is one of the worst things about the dreadful WB sitcom "The Army Show." Former "Real World" cast member Jacinda Barrett makes Bo Derek look like she has Oscar-worthy talent on the silly new NBC prime-time soap "Wind on Water" (which premieres later this month).
And McCarthy's former "Singled Out" co-host, Chris Hardwick, may just be the worst actor in prime-time television, as he clearly demonstrates in the upcoming UPN sitcom "Guys Like Us."
What's the deal? Well, the fact is that talent is not required to be a star on MTV. If you look cool and/or have an attitude - even if it's a fairly stupid attitude - it's enough to be a success on the cable channel.
But looking cool and having an attitude isn't enough when even a small degree of acting talent is required.
Take, for example, Hardwick, who was pretty much McCarthy's second banana on "Singled Out," a crass dating show that was sort of "The Dating Game" high on hormones.
"I mean, there's nothing more compelling on a show than when you can actually go to a category entitled `Chest or Package' and actually watch someone shake a can of soda in their pants," Hardwick said in a recent interview with TV critics.
And that hardly honed his acting talents.
Barrett, for her part, didn't even have to act, she simply had to behave to become a cast member of "The Real World." She was one of seven people picked to live in a house and have their lives taped.
("Real World" fans may remember her - she was the snotty, self-absorbed Australian model who was a member of the London cast - arguably the most boring season ever for the show.)
"I didn't do it for a career move when I did it three years ago," Barrett said. "I was modeling in Paris at the time. I just did it as an opportunity to live in London and pursue my pilot's license. And take a break from modeling because I was kind of sick of it at the time."
Ah . . . there's the ticket. Hire a bored model as an actress.
(Hardwick and Barrett are actually a couple - although she's filming in Hawaii and he's in Los Angeles. But they have to be the least talented couple in Hollywood.)
Sencio readily admits that becoming an MTV veejay was pretty much a fluke - he was picked from 8,000 applicants for the job.
"I was a doorman, so I just mailed a videocassette in of myself in my living room in my tiny little apartment," he said. "It was a two-minute video and I got a call later."
And he arrived at MTV headquarters in New York not quite knowing what to do next.
"Then I walked into the room for the audition and there were, like, nine average white guys," Sencio said. "And I figured, well, I could be at least the best average white guy out of them.
"So that's how the thing happened, and it was overwhelming, and it happened fast, and now I'm here."
What a story.
Not that their time on MTV was totally wasted.
"I guess being on MTV for a few years helped getting used to the cameras," Sencio said.
And, obviously, it got all of them acting jobs. It's just too bad none of them took the time to actually learn to act.
Getting the job is only half the battle. You've got to get on a decent show, and you've got to be able to at least be able to fake your way through your part.
Just ask Jenny McCarthy.