With the heady buzz generated by creating the hybrid sitcomfomercial art form out of the best parts of half-hour TV comedy and thirty-second auto-insurance advertising finally dissipating, pioneering network ABC is starting to second-guess the programming instincts that led them to make the Geico-inspired Cavemen one of the linchpins of their Fall schedule. According to THR, they've initiated the dreaded "retooling" process, using the primitive series-salvaging implements of "recasting" and "pilot reshoots" to rescue their Neanderthal-powered racism allegory from looming Nielsen disaster:
[Sam] Huntington will play a new caveman character, Andy, who is the younger brother of Joel (Bill English). Andy, who lives in their small hometown, comes to Atlanta to visit his brother after breaking up with his girlfriend.
Andy will replace Jamie, Joel's easygoing little bother character played in the pilot by Dash Mihok. [...]
The ABC Studios-produced "Cavemen" will not launch with the pilot but with another yet-to-be-filmed first episode, which is said to be delving more into the cavemen's backstories.
The original pilot (with Jamie's scenes reshot) is expected to air later in the season.
If these panicked changes don't improve Cavemen's focus-group scores, ABC is ready to make still more radical changes that could save their bold primetime experiment. Shooting will begin shortly on an alternate pilot introducing a recurring series element in which the Cro-Magnons depilate themselves at the beginning of each episode to reduce audience discomfort with their unconventional, unevolved appearance, but should that effort not appease fickle viewers, they're also considering merging the series with planned Tuesday night lead-out Carpoolers, incorporating a new character who bores his fellow ride-sharers with stories about how Geico's ultra-low premiums have significantly reduced the stress of his daily commute.