But what if you could watch a much-edited dinner party on TV, then get on the Internet and vote two of the more offensive diners off the guest list? That's the concept that Jack Cashill -- novelist, editor, filmmaker and conservative pundit -- has for a syndicated TV show to be called Dinner Party.TV. He'll be pitching a thirty-minute pilot (which he and partner Mike Wunsch taped last week at the Hereford House's catering facility, the Hollywood Room) at the National Association of Television Program Executives convention next week.
Cashill cast himself in the pilot episode, along with actress Cathy Barnett and her actor-husband, Dan, the token celebrities in the bunch, and five other lesser lights -- including me. (I deserved to be voted off immediately.) A TV crew aimed two cameras at the table for all of the ninety-minute, six-course meal. The chatter wasn't exactly enlightening, but it had its comic moments, thanks mostly to the antics of Barnett, a former stand-up comedian.
"It was a little more tame than I had hoped," says Cashill, who concedes that eating in front of TV cameras might have a chilling effect on truly bawdy conversation. He hopes that the actual show, if it's sold, will have guests talking about more topical and political themes, because they're "as likely to be voted off the successive dinner parties for what they say as how they say it."
With two guests getting dumped each show, it seems unlikely that a dinner party of eight could actually sustain a TV series, but Cashill plans to introduce new people in each episode. "If the two new guests keep getting voted off, it could go on for a while."