If Rick Perry drops out of the presidential race, will he loadin' up the truck and then move to Bever-Lee? Hills, that is?
Hollywood is suddenly buzzing with rumors that Perry, having proven his TV chops during recent appearances with Jay Leno and David Letterman, is seriously considering a multi-million dollar contract to co-produce and star in a new, updated version of The Beverly Hillbillies.
"Nothing's on paper yet," according one Hollywood agent who asked to remain anonymous, "but I can tell you the cameras are ready to roll the moment he shuts down his campaign, and it'll be a huge step forward in Rick Perry's career. Don't get me wrong -- he could still win the Republican nomination. But I really think taking on the role of Jed Clampett in a 21st century context would be best for him, and the country."
A story editor working on the pilot episode claims the new Hillbillies will be smart, edgy, and capitalize on current social trends. "Jed is no longer a total bumpkin," he says. "We're calling this new version 'a hick with some kick.' He's still got the cheerful exterior of Buddy Ebsen, but inside there's a ticking time bomb. Wait'll you see a few of the escapades we have planned for him and that banker."
The editor explained that current widespread hostility toward Wall Street presented a golden opportunity for humor. "Anyone who's ever had trouble with the financial sector will get vicarious revenge on this show," he said. "I'm writing one scene where Jed nails Mr. Drysdale into a barrel filled with itching powder and rolls him down a flight of stairs. And at some point he'll dangle him by the ankles from a 7th floor window. That kind of physical comedy really connects with voters. I mean viewers."
Other tantalizing gossip floating through Tinsel town suggests that Michele Bachmann may be tapped for the role Elly May Clampett. One network executive close to the negotiations called it, "Your basic dream scenario. Picture the fun with Jed, his daughter, and her 23 foster children all running loose in the neighborhood. We might not even need Granny or Jethro in the mix at all."
Insiders also say story lines and character development will be flexible so that Perry has plenty of opportunities to be spontaneous and improvise on the set. "It makes perfect sense," said one campaign aide. "The governor gets off some of his best lines when he's working without a script. Why mess with a good thing?"
Follow Jeffrey Shaffer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ShafferJeffrey