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Will 'That 70s Show' Go Out With a Bang?

by Rachel Cericola

Fans of "That 70s Show," set your TiVos. There are very few episodes left with two of the show's crucial cast members: Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher.

After this season, both are moving on to promising movie careers. There's rumors that you will see Kutcher's Kelso as a very special guest star in the recently greenlit eighth season. Kutcher has a few big-screen projects in production, and is currently on the big screen with Bernie Mac in "Guess Who." No word on whether Grace will return. The actor is leaving a huge role in the show as the main character, but is following up well-received projects such 2000's "Traffic" and most recently "In Good Company."

The problem is whether fans will still tune in to see history's longest decade live on. In reality, by now, shouldn't it be like 1994? But seriously, few shows have recovered after losing lead characters.

"Happy Days" tried to replace Ron Howard and Donny Most (now just Don, thanks) with patron saint of "Jump the Shark" Ted McGinley and a larger Jenny Piccolo presence. Suddenly, "happy" just wasn't part of the vocabulary for people watching the show.

As annoying as she was, when Cindy Williams left "Laverne and Shirley," she took Boo Boo Kitty and apparently all of their remaining good story lines with her. While no one could be happier than I was about a larger role for Lenny and Squiggy, keeping both names in the title of the show with only one still appearing seemed to be just too much for audiences to follow. And who told them to move to California? Hope someone was fired over that one.

Sure we kept going without Farrah and Suzanne Somers, but as much as those babes would like to admit it, neither was really the star of their applicable show. In some instances, even the rest of the cast can't go on, which was the case of "NewsRadio." Brilliant writing and a cast that clicked seemed to get flushed down the toilet once Phil Hartman died. Most recently, "8 Simple Rules" clings to life without funnyman John Ritter. However, audiences seem to be losing interest. I would like to blame James Garner because frankly, no one wants to see Rockford as an old codger! Instead I will place all of that blame on David Spade. The rest of the cast was never the big draw to the show, and this guy should have been able to pick up the pieces. But as funny as he's been over the years (and I know to some, that statement is debatable), those Capital One credit card commercials are more Spade than any human can handle.

So will "That 70s Show" keep on truckin'? With dulling story lines, Ted McGinley tied up on "Hope and Faith" and "That 80s Show" already fried, the show might sail through the next season on fumes.

Posted by Mac Slocum on March 28, 2005 5:20 PM
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