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'The Philanthropist' is awful, and that's being charitable

There's a good reason why competently run television networks want to look at a pilot episode before Philanthropist they buy a series. Regrettably, you can see it for yourself Wednesday night if you watch NBC's ineffably stupid The Philanthropist. NBC's programming boss Ben Silverman reportedly purchased it sight unseen at dinner one night, and the only thing I can figure is the oysters had gone bad.

Pointless, charmless and bound to be viewerless after the first half-hour or so, The Philanthropist recalls such epochal television bombs as Manimal (a scientist who could turn into a crime-fighting dolphin) or It's About Time (astronauts break the time barrier and frolick happily with cavemen) in its conceptual imbecility: ''The heroic adventures of a billionaire playboy-turned-vigilante/philanthropist.'' Honest; that's right out of the NBC press release. Read my full review of this abysmal tripe in Wednesday's Miami Herald.

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