Let's make a deal

All of New York has recently been agog with the latest attempt to revitalize the moribund franchise that is the New York Knicks - the massive multiplayer switcheroo that brought Stephon Marbury to Manhattan. Also in the sports pages has been this year's version of the ring-around the rosy that goes on among the NFL's head coaches, where you never know who's going to be getting which flavor of Gatorade tossed on them any given Sunday.

And, thinking about all of these changes, I had an idea. Well, I had two ideas, the first being that I should try out for one of the head coaching gig myself, which would probably beat my contract with the Monitor by a couple of bucks. But the other was, quite simply: why don't television shows trade characters the way sports teams trade players?

I know that there are a number of logistical difficulties with this scenario, sure, but I think the benefits might outweigh them. Just consider these possibilities:

1. A Salazar brother to be named later from "24" for any one of the Kellys from "Married to the Kellys." Let's see how that good-natured Midwestern can-do nature functions in the murky world of counter-terrorism; and I don't think that a Mexican narco-terrorist could last a day in that part of Kansas.

2. James Spader from "The Practice" for two of the medical interns from "ER". Let's face it, have you ever heard of a hospital without constant worries about malpractice? And with half the cast of "The Practice" suddenly disappearing over the summer, you have to know the rest of them are worrying about their health.

3. Hank Hill from "King of the Hill" for Homer Simpson from "The Simpsons". Just imagine how many different things Homer could destroy in Arlen - particularly since Hank works with propane. And wouldn't it be nice if Marge found someone who would really appreciate her? Plus, the fact that they're both animated will make the transition a lot easier.

4. Clark Kent from "Smallville" for Frasier Crane from "Frasier". Something needs to revive "Frasier," now on its last legs, and maybe super-strength and super-speed will do the trick. As for the voice of Seattle, I don't think Ma and Pa Kent would let him pitch one of his trademark fits about high thread count sheets and the right amount of froth in his decaf latte - let's see him do some chores for a change!

5. The theoretically cute but in practice annoying kid from "Two and a Half Men" with the theoretically cute but in practice annoying kid who's the nurse's son on "ER." No one would notice a thing.

6. A complicated three-way trade, in which Jerry Orbach from "Law and Order" is traded to "Law and Order: Criminal Intent"; Vincent D'Onofrio from "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" is traded to "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit"; and Christopher Meloni from "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" is traded to "Law and Order." Again, no one would notice a thing. (My sources tell me that a similar trade is underway involving the entire casts of "CSI" and "CSI: Miami".)

7. This isn't really a trade, technically, but having seen the first two episodes of "The Apprentice," I'm not sure that there isn't a show on television that couldn't be made better with Donald Trump on it. Okay, maybe not "One Tree Hill," but really, almost every other show.

8. A marquee trade: trading Raymond from "Everybody Loves Raymond" with Tom Bosley, from "Happy Days". Let's give Raymond a chance to be loved unironically and uncomplicatedly for once in the halcyon days of the 1950s, shall we? And Bosley can use his steady demeanor (and his perspicacity, developed from years of working on the "Father Dowling Mysteries"), to figure out and help solve whatever it is that's going on with that family.

9. Finally, my favorite trade: Angel from "Angel" with Jack from "Will and Grace". Let's see how long that broody, melancholic vampire keeps that smile turned upside down around Karen's constant, pharmaceutically induced, sense of giddiness; on the other hand, Jack, the aspiring actor, has always wanted to move to Los Angeles, and he shouldn't have much of a problem dealing with the demons, ghouls, and other things that go bump in the night on the show - after so many years of dealing with Will, Grace, and Karen, he's probably used to things that boggle the mind by now.

I just hope that the television executives are prepared to embrace such a bold move. I am, of course, prepared to act as mediator, if called upon.

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