When you watch this promo for Vanessa Lachey’s new NBC sitcom, “Truth Be Told” Friday, it’s clear what the premiere episode is about: sex and porn jokes.
Lachey plays Tracy, a “tough as nails attorney” married to a Mitch (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, “Franklin & Bash,” “NYPD Blue,” “Saved by the Bell”), who have a 4-year-old daughter. They live next door to newlyweds Russell (Tone Bell, “Bad Judge”) and Angie (Bresha Webb, “Grey’s Anatomy”).
In the premiere (8:30 p.m. Friday, Channel 5, NBC), Tracy and Mitch search for a babysitter so they can go to a concert with their neighbors. That’s how they find Kim (Antonimar Murphy), a well endowed “delicious” young woman. To make sure you know she has a great body, the sitcom gives viewers a close-up of her cleavage. Then the guys and their wives think they recognize her from pornography.
So this definitely is not your Frasier’s NBC. Or the level of comedy NBC provided in Cheers, Seinfeld or The Office.
I like to give any new show a pass, figuring the tone or direction could change between the pilot filmed last spring and the second episode produced for the fall TV season. But truth be told, pornography and nude pictures remains the central theme. Here’s the NBC description for Friday Oct. 23 at 8:30 p.m. (with a warning rating for Adult content, appropriate for age 14 and older):
Mitch (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Tracy (Vanessa Lachey) delight in teaching their newly married friends Russell (Tone Bell) and Angie (Bresha Webb) how to navigate a happy and healthy marriage. When Russell scores VIP tickets to the Adult Film Awards, he looks to Mitch for advice on how to best to play it with the wives. Mitch's answer is just be honest and to Russell's surprise, this approach works, and they head out on the town for a guys' night with Hudson (guest star Malcolm Barrett) and Jim (guest star Matt Oberg). But when Tracy has second thoughts, their night is nearly derailed and Mitch's "honesty policy" is put to the test. Meanwhile, Angie starts following Russell on Twitter and is shocked to find that adoring fans are sending him nude pics.
Yeah, yeah, I know: This show wasn’t designed for my demographic. NBC is aiming for a much younger audience, the lower half of the 18-49 demo. But for any network show to become a hit – or draw big enough ratings to be renewed for the entire season through May – it must attract the 25-54 age group and older (that’s me).
“Truth Be Told” is the second sitcom in three fall TV seasons for Nick Lachey's wife. Two years ago, she was in Fox’s “Dads” sitcom with Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Martin Mull and Peter Riegert.
Vanessa wasn’t seen much in her husband’s A&E “Lachey’s Bar” reality show last summer because she was in Los Angeles with their two young children. In the Sept. 9 finale, the big plot point was Nick considering moving his family to Cincinnati full-time… which obviously can’t happen if Vanessa stars in an NBC sitcom.
So what’s up with “Lachey’s Bar?” I don’t know.
Neither Nick nor Drew responded to emails asking if they’re going to shoot a second season. An A&E publicist didn’t want to comment for the record.
My take: If the show was renewed, the network and stars would be boasting about it. So I’m guessing a renewal is uncertain at best. Stay tuned.