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Sat, Feb 17, 2018 09:33 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-08-20 tracking life & times section
'Las Vegas' and 'Happy Family' are best of six new shows on NBC's fall lineup
Cletus Turner

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The fall television season doesn't kick off until the end of September. Maybe I'm wrong, but when I was a kid it seemed that event was earlier, more like late August to early September. In any event, NBC has unveiled their new Fall schedule, six new shows have been added and several shows have been moved.

Boomtown has been moved to Friday at 10 p.m. and Law and Order: SVU has been moved to Tuesday at 10 p.m. The six new shows added are Las Vegas, Whoopi, Happy Family, Coupling, Miss Match and The Lyon's Den.

An addition to Monday night, Las Vegas has venerable movie star James Caan in the lead role as ex-CIA agent Big Ed Deline. He runs what is supposed to be the best surveillance company in Vegas. Big Ed's best employee is Danny McCoy, played by Josh Duhamel. Danny is an ex-marine who loves life in the fast lane, in more ways than one. Mike Cannon, played by James Lesure, is the head valet and able to keep track of who is coming and going. Danny's best sources of information are two beautiful women. One is his childhood friend named Mary, played by Nikki Cox, who is a high class call girl. She is able to get to her client's deepest darkest secrets. The other is Jane, the new casino host played by Vanessa Marcil. She is seductive and she and Danny seem to be attracted to each other. The executive producer and writer for the show is Gary Scott Thompson who is best known for his work on The Fast and the Furious.

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On Tuesday night, Whoopi Goldberg comes to NBC with a new comedy, Whoopi. Goldberg plays Mavis Rae. Mavis is proud and opinionated who owns and runs a small hotel in downtown New York. Her older brother Courtney, played by Wren T. Brown, hangs out with his sister. Omid Djalili plays handy man Nasim and Elizabeth Regan plays Courtney's girlfriend. Obviously, this is Whoopi's show. According to the producers, the show has been written with Whoopi in mind and they will try to incorporate as much of Whoopi's style of humor into the show as possible. They liken the series to the ones built around Roseanne Barr, Brett Butler, Ray Romano and Bill Cosby. The question is whether America is ready for another show built around a comedian. The show airs at 8 p.m.

The second new show on Tuesday is Happy Family. John Laroquette comes back to NBC as Peter Brennan. This time around, he gets to star with Christine Baranski as his wife, Annie. Peter and Annie have three children who are grown, and are about to move out. Or so they thought. The couple discover that the youngest, Tim played by Tyler Francavilla, is having an affair with the next door neighbor, Maggie. Played by Susan Gibney, Maggie just happens to be Annie's best friend. Todd, who is about to get married and is played by Jeff Davis, is having an affair which could destroy his relationship with his future wife. Their daughter Sara, played by Melanie Deanne Moore, shows up on her parents' doorstep after having too much alcohol. Peter and Annie realize that their so-called "easy life" is about to get more complicated because their children need them more than ever. The show will air at 8:30 p.m.

On Thursday, after Will and Grace, the new show Coupling will air. Based on a British sitcom, Coupling stars six thirtysomethings who have either been involved, are involved or are looking to get involved. Many times, the interact is between the six characters. Starring Colin Ferguson, Jay Harrington, Christopher Moynihan, Lindsay Price, Rena Sofer and Sonya Walger, this series has limitless possibilities for interaction. However, there are also limitless ways the sitcom could fail. Critics have said the chemistry between the principal characters is likened to oil and water. They just don't mix. We'll have to wait and see whether this show will go the way so many other shows have done in this time spot. It's not called the slot of death for nothing.

On Friday, after Dateline and before Boomtown, Miss Match will air. Alicia Silverstone gets her own show as a matchmaker/lawyer. Ryan O'Neal will star as her father, James Roday as her law partner and David Conrad as her love interest. In many ways, it is surprising that Alicia isn't part of a comedy, however, this is a drama and it should be interesting to see if the actress can leave behind her Clueless days and get us on her side. O'Neal was a smart move as her father. He lends the show some star appeal apart from Silverstone. The question remaining for the show is whether it can break out on the one night of the week that NBC has dominated over the past couple of years.

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Just when you thought you had gotten rid of Rob Lowe, he reappears. Lowe will star in The Lyon's Den which will air at 10 p.m. on Sunday. Lowe plays Jack Turner, a man chosen to manage the law office of Lyon, LaCrosse and Levine. Turner has been operating a small office which has been taking cases the main firm would never take. He knows the only way to keep his "clinic" open is to accept the job at the main office and does. The thing that makes Jack nervous is the man who had the job previously fell to his death by rather suspicious means. Now that he is at the main office, Jack finds himself having to watch his back while doing the best job possible for the sake of his "clinic" which will be closed down if he leaves. Talk about your rock and a hard place. This series is another in a long line of lawyer dramas harking back to the days of L.A. Law, and will have to try to give a fresh angle on an otherwise overused plot.

Of the six new shows, the most promising are Las Vegas and Happy Family. They could easily be the two shows that will be "the hit" of the new season. John Laroquette made Night Court and will be able to hold up the show. Christine Baranski is a veteran actress that can fill whatever role is necessary in the new series whether that be the straightman or the funny person. James Caan is a phenomenal actor and could make the series Las Vegas hum. The transition from silver screen to television could be the only factor (besides writing) that could give the vet a pause.

For the entire lineup: 3 suns

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