During the eight-year delay, there have been changes in
Miami (a lot younger), CBS (a little hipper) and the Frankel brothers.
David Frankel is now married to that college
girlfriend, and they live in Miami. ``I'm one of the few who really
goes to work in his back yard,'' he says.
Jon Frankel has had a more-varied love life. When he
was a Miami sportscaster, he acquired the nickname ``Thumper.'' These
days, Jon is a newsman (national correspondent for CBS's ``The Early
Show'') and more settled. Still, the return of ``Grapevine'' helps
recall his old ways.
The show centers on two Miami brothers, David (a
restaurateur and sensitive guy) and Thumper (a sportscaster and
relentless bachelor). ``Thumper is inspired by my brother eight years
ago, not now,'' David Frankel cautions.
Susan, a beautiful cruise line executive, and Matt,
a newly divorced hotel manager, join them. Through the gossip
grapevine, they view complex romance.
This is a show filled with beautiful settings and
Steven Eckholdt was Thumper in the original version.
Now (fresh from the canceled comedy ``It's Like, You Know . . .''),
he moves over to play David. ``I'm too old to play Thumper,'' he says.
That role now goes to George Eads, who played a
handsome heel on ``Savannah.'' When he met Jon Frankel, he says, he
was struck by the resemblance. ``It's uncanny.''
David Sutcliffe, whose ``Cold Feet'' was canceled
almost instantly, is Matt. Kristy Swanson of ``Early Edition'' is
``She just has a wonderful, sexy, girl-next-door
quality,'' Frankel says of Swanson. ``The heart of the show is
Then again, the real keys to the show might be Miami
He first met the then-sagging city 20 years ago.
Then the South Beach revival turned things younger and hipper.
That's when Frankel suggested a show be filmed
there. `` `Miami Vice' had just ended,'' he says. ``There was
some perception of what could be done here.'' But his show didn't look
or feel like anything else on the air. CBS let it die.
Frankel made a Sarah Jessica Parker movie called
``Miami Rhapsody.'' He did a pilot for a Bebe Neuwirth show, ``Dear
The movie flopped, and the pilot was rejected.
Still, that failed pilot won the 1997 Academy Award for best short
Frankel's reaction? In his acceptance speech, he
said ``Dear Diary'' proves the networks are willing to make something
fresh and different. ``They just won't air it,'' he said.
Then other shows offered similar touches. In some
ways, HBO's ``Sex in the City'' looks like a collection of Frankel
elements -- a filmed half-hour of romance and gossip in beautiful
settings, with Parker as the star.
``I'm really happy for her,'' Frankel says. ``We're
friends for life, and that show has all of the things she loves.''
Her show prospered, while Frankel worked to get
``Grapevine'' back on the air.
The original version was close to an anthology,
Frankel grants. The new one will be different, for now. ``The first
six episodes are focused on the regular characters.''
After the opener, the other five will air at 8:30
p.m. Mondays. In a night of standard sitcoms, CBS will have a brief
burst of Miami heat.