Television has a long history of settling for the lesser sibling. Jerry Van Dyke and Jim Belushi are examples of actors who have enjoyed steady TV careers through trading on the family name.
When you can't attract a star, it's time to climb a few limbs down the family tree.
John Turturro is out of the networks' league. But Nicholas (Blue Bloods) isn't.
Want Melissa Gilbert as a panelist on your View rip-off talk show, CBS? Her glum sister Sara (Hawthorne, 24) was a more realistic alternative.
Bryant Gumbel won't consider anchoring your NFL pregame show? Calling Greg.
You know who would be perfect for your crime procedural? Zooey Deschanel. Not likely? How about the next best thing: her sister Emily (Bones).
Happens all the time. In fact, we may have just solved Two and a Half Men's casting dilemma. Jon Cryer, say hello to Emilio Estevez.
In the money. Forbes.com just posted the most lucrative network TV shows of 2010 (not including sports or specials).
The instructive aspect of the list is how it deviates from Nielsen's Top 10.
As you might expect, American Idol rules the roost, raking in $7.11 million in ad revenue every half hour. (Now you know why "right after these commercials" trips so lightly - and so often - off Ryan's Seacrest's tongue.)
The take drops off steeply after that. In second place, Two and a Half Men gobbles up $2.89 million per episode. (Or should I say "gobbled"? CBS's golden goose appears to have stopped laying.)
The surprise is that the network's very popular procedurals, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, and The Mentalist, Nielsen giants all, aren't among the money elite.
Fans of these shows tend to be older and thus less attractive to advertisers.
On the other hand, ABC's Private Practice, which would need a GPS to find the Nielsen Top 25, commanded more than all but eight other series on television.
It just goes to show it's not how many watch you; it's how old they are.
I smell Pulitzer. Today attained new journalistic heights this week when correspondent Jenna Bush Hager interviewed Celine Dion.
The former second daughter asked the singer such probing questions as "How have you kept your marriage - nearly 20 years - it's amazing." OK, technically that wasn't a question, but she did inquire about Dion's postnatal shape: "You look amazing! Was it exercise or did you just shrink back into your beautiful self?"
When Celine did a brief, clumsy duet with Jenna, the reporter enthused, "You just made my life!"
If the oil rigs owned by Jenna's family gushed this much, we wouldn't need to import fuel.
Shades of "Poltergeist." The funniest line of the week came on Parks and Recreation when the chief of the Wamapoke indigenous tribe told Leslie her harvest festival would be cursed if she held it on an Indian burial ground.
"There are two things I know about white people," he confided to the camera. "They love Matchbox Twenty. And they're terrified of curses."
Contact staff writer David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his pop culture blog at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dave_on_demand