July 20, 2008

New Shows Dot Network Lineups As Fall 2008 Premieres Near

By Cheril Vernon, Palestine Herald-Press, Texas

Jul. 20--Want to know what new shows are headed to television this fall? Fans of former television series "Knight Rider" and "Beverly Hills, 90210" will be happy to know that new spin-offs are in the works on NBC and The CW, respectively.

FOX also has a new thriller "Fringe" which is expected to be a hit from acclaimed writer/producer J.J. Abrams ("Lost).

Here's a look at the new television shows slated for the fall on the major networks.


--"90210" -- The highly-anticipated "90210" spin-off will feature a cast of familiar faces and up-and-coming stars including Jennie Garth, who will reprise her role as Kelly Taylor from the original series. The latest to sign on as guest stars are Shannon Doherty, who will reprise her role as Brenda Walsh, and Tori Spelling as Donna Martin.

Others cast in "90210" include Lori Loughlin (Summerland, Full House) and Jessica Walter (Arrested Development).

The new "90210" will look at life through the eyes of Annie Mills (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and her brother Dixon (The Wire) when they move to the new zip code. The Mills family, including dad Harry (casting to be determined) and mom Debbie (Laughlin) have relocated to Beverly Hills to keep an eye on Harry's mother Tabitha (Walters), a former television star and regular Betty Ford Clinic member.

--"Privileged" -- The new drama "Privileged" starring JoAnna Garcia (Reba) as a live-in tutor to wild and wealthy teen twin girls in Palm Beach, will be put in the 10 p.m. Tuesday timeslot behind 90210.

In this series, 23-year-old Megan Smith (Garcia) has a Yale education and plans to conquer the world of journalism, though she is currently working at a tabloid. Her plan is thrown off course when in one day she is fired, meets cosmetics mogul Laurel Limoges (casting TBD) and becomes the live-in tutor for Laurel's twin teen granddaughters in the Palm Beach world of wealth and power. Enjoying the scenery, she catches the eye of Will (casting TBD), a wealthy next-door neighbor who happens to be dating her estranged sister Lily (casting TBD), while her best friend Charlie (Michael Cassidy, Smallville, The O.C.) is secretly in love with her.

The show is based on the Alloy Entertainment book "How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls" by best-selling author Zoe Dean ("The A-List.").

--"Stylista" -- "Stylista" is a new "The Devil Wears Prada"-type reality series scheduled in the 9 to 10 p.m. Wednesday time slot. Eleven fashion enthusiasts will vie for a coveted editorial job through tough weekly challenges for the chance to become the assistant to Elle's Fashion News Director Anne Slowey, a demanding but respected fashion icon. The grand prize includes a paid editorial position at Elle, a paid lease on a Manhattan apartment and a clothing allowance.


--"Life on Mars" -- After being knocked unconscious when his girlfriend is kidnapped by a serial killer, a 21st century detective wakes up in 1973 and looks for clues to solve the crime and get back home. Lenny Clarke, Rachel Lefevre, Colm Meaney and Jason O'Mara star. David E. Kelley (Boston Legal) is the executive producer.

--"Opportunity Knocks" -- Consider this the reality show that comes to you. Contestants compete to win a gamut of prizes literally from their own home when a mobile team arrives at "Anywhere, America" in a semi-truck full of flat screen TVs, new furniture and cash prizes that the family can win right there. J.D. Roth hosts; Ashton Kutcher is one of the executive producers.

--"The Goode Family" (mid-season) -- A new animated series from Mike Judge, creator of "King of the Hill." The Goode Family is obsessed with doing the "right" thing, whether it's environmentally, politically or socially. Unfortunately their efforts often have unintended comic consequences.

"The Goode Family" is voiced by Mike Judge as Gerald, Nancy Carell as Helen, Dave Herman as Ubuntu and Abby Elliot as Bliss.


--"Knight Rider" -- On the heels of NBC's hit movie, the iconic 1980s television classic comes roaring back to life as a reinvented, updated and super-charged action series showcasing the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand).

"Knight Rider" stars Justin Bruening ("Cold Case"), Deanna Russo ("NCIS"), Sydney Tamiia Poitier ("Veronica Mars") and Bruce Davison ("Breach"). David Bartis ("Heist,""The O.C."), Doug Liman ("Mr. and Mrs. Smith,""The Bourne Identity") and Gary Scott Thompson ("Las Vegas,""The Fast and The Furious") are executive producers.

--"Kath & Kim" -- The American adaptation of the Australian hit comedy series "Kath & Kim" stars Molly Shannon (NBC's "Saturday Night Live") and Selma Blair ("Hellboy 2") as the hilarious and iconoclastic mother-daughter duo.

"Kath & Kim" focuses on Kath (Shannon), a cheerful, foxy, forty-something, and her self-absorbed daughter, Kim (Blair), who have the love/hate, push/pull dysfunctional relationship that only a mother and daughter could share.

Kath has finally found love in the form of a sandwich shop owner named Phil Knight, played by John Michael Higgins ("Best in Show"). Kim is a self-absorbed princess newly separated from her husband of six weeks, Craig (Mikey Day, MTV's "Short Circuitz"). Kim decides to move back home, putting a damper on Kath's new romance.

Michelle Nader ("King of Queens") is executive producer and writer of the series. Original series creators and stars Gina Riley and Jane Turner serve as executive producers of the new series along with Nader, original series executive producer Rick McKenna and Paul Feig (who directed the first episode). The series is a production from Reveille for Universal Media Studios.


--Fringe -- Fringe is from acclaimed writer/producer J.J. Abrams (Lost), Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III, Alias). Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek), John Noble (Lord of the Rings) and newcomer Anna Torv star as an unlikely trio who uncover a deadly mystery involving a series of unbelievable events and realize they may be part of a larger, more disturbing pattern that blurs the line between science fiction and technology.

When an international flight lands at an airport and the passengers and crew have all died grisly deaths, FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham (newcomer Anna Torv) is called in to investigate. After her partner, Special Agent John Scott (Boston Legal), is nearly killed during the investigation, a desperate Olivia searches frantically for someone to help, leading her to Dr. Walter Bishop ( Lord of the Rings), our generation's Einstein. There's only one catch: he's been institutionalized for the last 20 years, and the only way to question him requires pulling his estranged son Peter ( Dawson's Creek) in to help. When Olivia's investigation leads her to manipulative corporate executive Nina Sharp (Altered States), our unlikely trio along with fellow FBI Agents Phillip Broyles (The Wire), Charlie Francis (Oz) and Astrid Farnsworth (Law & Order: Criminal Intent) will discover that what happened on Flight 627 is only a small piece of a larger, more shocking truth.

--Do Not Disturb -- The new comedy Do Not Disturb (working title) is an upstairs/downstairs workplace comedy starring Jerry O'Connell (Crossing Jordan) and Niecy Nash (Reno 911) as the management team behind one of the hottest and hippest hotels in New York City.

The hotel's top-notch reputation and sophisticated look is due in large part to Neal (O'Connell) -- at least in his opinion. Although The Inn's charismatic owner R.J. (guest star Robert Wagner) takes all the credit, Neal is the egotistical, hyper-stylish, detail-oriented general manager who will do whatever it takes to keep the hotel and its employees up to his standards. Rhonda (Nash) is the head of Human Resources who also keeps Neal's demands in check. She's brash, fabulous and brutally honest and runs the HR department with a set of rules that are all her own. Rhonda does her best to keep the back of the house in line and the front of the house out of trouble.

--Doll House (mid-season) -- From Joss Whedon, creator of cult favorites Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, comes Dollhouse, a high-action drama starring Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling) as Echo, a member of an underground group of "Actives" who have their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas to carry out a variety of missions. The Actives don't just pretend to be new people -- they become new people, yet they are never aware they are actually pawns in someone else's game.

Confined to a secret facility known as the Dollhouse, Echo and the other Actives including Sierra (Neighbours) and Victor ( The Unit) carry out engagements assigned by Adelle ( X-Men: The Last Stand, Rushmore), one of the Dollhouse leaders. The engagements cater to the wealthy, powerful and connected, and require the Actives to immerse themselves in all manner of scenarios -- romantic, criminal, uplifting, dangerous, comical and the occasional "pro bono" good deed. After each scenario, Echo, always under the watchful eye of her handler Boyd (Commander in Chief, 24), returns to the mysterious Dollhouse where her thoughts, feelings and experiences are erased by Topher (Welcome to the Captain), the Dollhouse's genius programmer. Echo enters the next scenario with no memory of before. Or does she? As the series progresses, FBI Agent Paul Smith (Battlestar Galactica) pieces together clues that lead him closer to the Dollhouse, while Echo stops forgetting, her memories begin to return and she slowly pieces together her mysterious past. Dollhouse revolves around Echo's blossoming self-awareness and her desire to discover her true identity. But with each new engagement, comes a new memory and increased danger inside and outside the Dollhouse.

--Secret Millionaire (mid-season) -- Secret Millionaire is a heart-warming new unscripted series that focuses on a different millionaire each week, who goes undercover to some of America's most disadvantaged areas in search of everyday heroes to possibly change their lives forever.

Shot under the guise of a documentary, the series reveals the dramatic personal return that millionaires will get when they leave their fortunes to invest in those less fortunate. Challenged with living on minimum wage, the millionaires will immerse themselves in situations beyond their comprehension. They will work side-by-side with community members and befriend those in need to decide who should ultimately receive their gifts of a lifetime. On the final day, the Secret Millionaires meet with the chosen recipients and reveal their true identity and intention: to give them at least $100,000 -- sometimes more -- of their own money and to change their lives forever.

--The Cleveland Show and Sit Down, Shut Up -- Two new animated comedies also will join the schedule in the spring. From the creators of "Family Guy" and "American Dad," comes "The Cleveland Show" (working title), the story of what happens when Family Guy's Cleveland Brown moves to Stoolbend, VA, to make good on a promise to his high school sweetheart. "Sit Down, Shut Up" (working title), created by Emmy Award winner Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development), follows a group of 11 unconventional teachers and staff members working at a high school in a small northeastern fishing town who never lose sight of the fact that the students must always come second.


--Gary Unmarried (formerly called "Project Gary") -- Gary Unmarried stars comedian Jay Mohr ("Jerry Maguire,""Are We There Yet?") with Paula Marshall (Nip/Tuck) as his controlling ex-wife Allison. They face post-divorce mayhem after 15 years of marriage while dealing with new relationships and their two children, Louise (Laura Marano, Without a Trace) as a environmentally-conscious 11-year-old, and Tom (Ryan Malgarini, "How to Eat Fried Worms") as their socially awkward 14-year-old son.

--Worst Week -- Based on the British limited run series, in Worst Week, Sam Briggs is an entertainment magazine editor who will do anything to please his girlfriend's Melanie Clayton (Errin Hayes, Kitchen Confidential) parents, but instead disaster seems to follow him every time he's around them. Preparing to start their life together, they face one more hurdle: telling her conservative parents Dick, a stern judge, (Kurtwood Smith, That '70s Show) and Angela (Nancy Lenehan, My Name is Earl) they have a wedding and a baby on the way. This sounds a little like "Meet the Parents" to me.

--The Ex List -- Touted as a comedy, drama and romance, The Ex List is about a 30-something successful business owner Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser of Grey's Anatomy) who is told by a fortune teller that she must marry within a year or be single forever. The catch is that she's already dated her future husband and now must find him. The Ex List will be squeezed between the Ghost Whisperer and NUMB3RS on Friday nights.

--Eleventh Hour -- This suspenseful thriller by acclaimed producer Jerry Bruckheimer follows brilliant biophysicist Dr. Jacob Hood (Rufus Sewell, The Illusionist) who helps the government investigate scientific crises. Eleventh Hour will follow Survivor and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on Thursdays.

--The Mentalist -- Golden Globe Award nominee Simon Baker ("The Devil Wears Prada) stars as Patrick Jane, a detective and independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation, who has a great track record for solving crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. Within the bureau, Jane is known for his lack of protocol and his semi-celebrity past as a psychic medium, whose paranormal abilities he now admits he made up. The Mentalist will follow NCIS and Without a Trace on Tuesday nights. Doesn't this sound like a blend of the USA Network's series Monk and Psych -- with less comedy and more drama?

--Harper's Island (mid-season) -- In this drama, a murder mystery unfolds as friends and family attend week-long festivities at a destination wedding on a secluded and picturesque island off the coast of Seattle, infamous for a homicidal maniac's rampage seven years before.

Editor's Note: A list of premiere dates for shows slated for this fall can be found on Page B-1.


On the Net:

For more information about new television shows, visit www.newtotv.com


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