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Don't Touch That Dial 

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Orange County experienced an alarming rise in sexually transmitted diseases in 2005. Chlamydia rose 22.3 percent and gonorrhea 23 percent, for a total of 6,160 cases, that even surpassed the figure registered by Miami-Dade County.

Health Department epidemiologist Bill Toth told the Sentinel that Orange County "need`s` to redouble our efforts" in finding potentially infectious people.

Good morning, network affiliates! And welcome to this preview presentation of the prime-time series that's about to grab America like a staph infection:


Think you already know what the initials "CSI" can mean to a ratings sweeps period? Think again. Starting this fall, the most prestigious letters in television have a whole new connotation: "Clap Squad Investigation." (And "STD" — well, you wouldn't have gotten this far in the communications business without learning what that stands for.) We've found a fresh, exciting slant on the concept of the medical mystery, and we've drawn our inspiration directly from real life.

You station managers may not have heard this — because it sort of qualifies as legitimate news — but Florida's Orange County is currently wrestling with an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are on the march, along with a few related ailments that might not also be the names of children on Everybody Hates Chris. Yes, the land that gave us Space Mountain has now given us penile drip. And with it, the ideal setup for a weekly dramatic series.

Every episode, Clap Squad Investigators Leakey and Gland will go on the hunt for another Easy Annie or Ernie who's unknowingly infecting Central Florida with crotch rot. A nubile, sun-tanned body will turn up either dead or runny or both, putting our stars on a race against the clock to trace the outbreak all the way back to Patient Zero. Will they find the culprit before lunchtime at Hooters is ruined for everybody?

Naturally, tracking down that Typhoid Mary or Mark is never easy. Promising leads reach dead ends. Red herrings crop up like genital warts. And time and again, Leakey and Gland become frustrated when the witnesses they interview refuse to name names — because, for example, this is Rollins College we're talking about, and nobody in the Environmental Studies department needs that kind of publicity. And since all the action takes place in Florida, even members of the sufferer's immediate family can't be ruled out!

The story possibilities are endless. Here are just a few of the plots our hardworking bullpen of non-union writers has hashed out:

  • A delegate to the Home Builders Convention is found dead in his hotel room, and Leakey and Gland have to locate the diseased spokesmodel who gummed up his pipes.
  • The agents go undercover to find out who's spreading the syph at a folk-art museum, only to give up when they realize that one suspect is as good as the next.
  • The Clap Squad has its first run-in with Canker Man, a mysterious insider who knows way more about the O.C.'s widespread urine discoloration than he's letting on.
  • A train full of infected arena-football players is hurtling toward an Amtrak station overrun by Red Hat Ladies. Can our heroes avert a rendezvous with disaster?
  • Leakey meets his evil twin.

But thrilling narratives are only part of the Nielsen-winning package the Clap Squad is about to deliver to your door. Reflecting the dramatic vision of series creator Bucky DePalma — yes, the genius who turned our industry inside-out with the groundbreaking reality program I'm a Church Street Tub Girl, Get Me Out of Here — CSI: STD will swiftly become known for the subtle scripted interplay between its richly drawn lead characters. Fans will love the erotic tension between the archetypically analytical male, Leakey, and the fiercely feminine Gland. Will they consummate their standing flirtation, or will everything they've seen move them to take up scrapbooking instead?

And for comic relief, there'll be Leakey's side-splitting running battle with Kitt, his talking left testicle. The idea here is that Kitt has been implanted with a high-tech computer chip as part of a top-secret government experiment; now able to sniff out STDs wherever they hide, he's nonetheless unschooled in the social graces, leading to plenty of humorous friction between the beleaguered Leakey and his wisecracking cojone. (We're anticipating that the sassy Kitt will be the show's breakout character, leading to all sorts of lucrative merchandising tie-ins, particularly in the area of Nerf.)

Timely crime drama, tantalizing sexual flirtation, lovable nards … we're sure you'll agree this show has it all. Now if you'll just step into the other room, the network has prepared a lovely crab dip for us all to dig into while we discuss the minor matter of a lead-in. How does The Groin Whisperer grab you? Anybody?

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