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Stop the presses! A fun summer awaits

Wednesday, June 21, 2000

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Most summers the broadcast networks are not just asleep, they're in deep R.E.M. sleep. Not this year. CBS has "Survivor" (8 p.m. Wednesday), NBC offers "M.Y.O.B." (9:30 p.m. Tuesday) and ABC continues "Making the Band" (9:30 p.m. Friday).

Even so, summer remains cable's biggest season for original programming.

Already MTV's latest "Real World" - this time set in New Orleans - premiered last week (airing 10 p.m. Tuesdays) and "Road Rules" sets out for further adventures tomorrow at 10 p.m.

Yesterday, Disney Channel premiered the new live-action series "Even Stevens" (5:30 p.m. Saturdays) about a boy who lives in the shadow of his successful family. "Totally Circus," a reality series about kids who work for a circus, airs Friday through Sunday at 4 p.m. A new season of "Z Games" begins today at 3:30 p.m.

 
    TV PREVIEW

Summer Viewing 2000

 
 

This summer, TNT offers several original movies with big-name stars, including tonight's courtroom drama "Deadlocked" (8 p.m.), starring David Caruso and Charles S. Dutton. Caruso plays the prosecutor; Dutton is the father of the accused.

This week, Comedy Central rolls out its summer programming, including new episodes of "South Park" (10 p.m. Wednesday).

Comedian Julie Brown ("Earth Girls Are Easy") stars as a former child star who works in a "Strip Mall" (10:30 tonight). The series focuses on the misadventures of several merchants, including the lesbians who run a Chinese restaurant, the slob who owns a dry cleaners and the pornographer who hires an ashamed film school graduate to direct low-budget porn films. Clever concept, but lame, predictable writing hampers the efforts of Brown and co-star Victoria Jackson ("Saturday Night Live").

First season episodes of "League of Gentlemen" (10:30 p.m. Monday), originally seen on BBC America, feature three guys playing more than 60 bizarre characters in a small British town.

Mark Curry ("Hangin' with Mr. Cooper") hosts the game show "Don't Forget Your Toothbrush" (10 p.m. Tuesday), which invites its studio audience to bring a packed bag to the studio and be prepared to go on an instant vacation. A hit in England, "Toothbrush" is followed by new episodes of the British version of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" hosted by Clive Anderson.

Showtime has a week of premieres beginning June 26. After scattershot programming of original series in recent years, the network finally wised up and created a logical, consistent schedule that puts original series at 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.

New to the schedule are the Hispanic family drama "Resurrection Blvd." (Mondays) and "Soul Food" (Wednesdays), based on the 1997 hit film about three African-American sisters living in Chicago.

Returning Showtime series include the comedy-drama "Beggars and Choosers" (Tuesdays), set behind-the-scenes at a struggling, fictional TV network; "Rude Awakening" (Thursdays), about a woman (Sherilyn Fenn) coping with various addictions and her crazy family; and the sci-fi drama "Stargate SG-1" (Fridays).

Other premieres this month include:

Fox's short-lived Hollywood comedy "Action" gets a new life on FX, which will air all 13 episodes (including five never seen on Fox) beginning Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. FX moves Howard Stern's "Son of the Beach" to Tuesday at 10 p.m. New episodes begin Aug. 1.

ABC's second "Walt Disney World Summer Jam Concert" airs Friday at 8 p.m. and features Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, SmashMouth, Destiny's Child and BBMak. Disney Channel will feature Jessica Simpson and Jason Raize "In Concert" Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

VH1's latest original movie, "Daydream Believers: The Monkees Story," airs June 28 at 9 p.m. The biographical film tells the story of the four unknowns cast in the 1960s television series.

JULY

CBS already hit ratings gold with the late May premiere of "Survivor." Now the network hopes to lure those same fans with the reality show "Big Brother," which puts 10 strangers in a California home for almost 100 days. Episodes will air several times a week beginning July 6.

Nickelodeon's latest series, "Brothers Garcia" (7:30 p.m. July 16), looks at family life from the perspective of youngest brother Larry.

A&E's four-hour adaptation of "Longitude" (8 p.m. July 9) tells the story of 18th-century carpenter John Harrison (Michael Gambon), who figured out how to determine longitude at sea, and the 20th-century man (Jeremy Irons) obsessed with restoring Harrison's legacy.

The WB's latest teen drama, "Young Americans," about townies and rich prep school kids, airs after "Dawson's Creek" reruns beginning July 12 at 9 p.m.

TNT premieres the four-hour mini-series "Nuremberg" (8 p.m. July 16 and 17), starring Alec Baldwin as the lead prosecutor in a trial of top Nazi commanders following World War II.

Tom Fontana's dark, violent prison drama "Oz" returns with new episodes July 12 at 11 p.m. on HBO.

Lifetime, home to the acclaimed drama "Any Day Now," premieres a new series starring Janine Turner ("Northern Exposure") and Rosa Blasi ("Noriega") as two doctors who prescribe "Strong Medicine" (9 p.m. July 23).

USA Network gets into the comedy business with two new half-hour series, airing Sundays at 9 and 9:30 p.m. beginning July 23 ("Cover Me" moves to Wednesday on July 26). Linden Ashby ("Melrose Place") stars in "Kill! Kill! Kill!" as a former secret agent who retires from the CIA only to be drawn back in when his lifelong nemesis won't leave him alone. At the end of each episode, one of the two dies only to return the next week. "Manhattan AZ" sends a big city cop to patrol a strange desert town.

NBC burns off another midseason series when it premieres "Sammy" (8:30 p.m. July 25), an animated comedy starring the voice of David Spade and based loosely on his relationship with his real-life father.

AUGUST

The Independent Film Channel premieres "My Best Friend" (8 p.m. Aug. 4), a documentary by director Werner Herzog about his love/hate relationship with the late Klaus Kinski.

WQED's latest musical production, "Doo Wop 51" (8 p.m. Aug. 8), features more acts from the early years of rock, taped last month at the Benedum Center.

Tom Selleck, Faye Dunaway and Teri Hatcher star in the TNT political comedy film "Running Mates" (8 p.m. Aug. 13). TNT also hatches the drama series, "Bull" (Aug. 15), about a team of investment bankers and traders.



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