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THE NEW SEASON / New, Newer, Newest



Premieres tonight at 8:30

Genre: Sitcom.

Stars: Anthony Clark ("Boston Common"), Jean Louisa Kelly ("Cold Feet"),

Mike O'Malley (self-titled sitcom), Liza Snyder ("Jesse").

Produced by: Alan Kirschenbaum ("Down the Shore") and Greg Garcia ("Built

to Last").

The story: Two divergent sitcom couples tackle child-raising: uptight

first-timers Clark and Kelly, and loose and liberal vets O'Malley and Snyder.

What they say: "What's different about our show," says producer Garcia, "is

it's told by the perspective of two different fathers comparing notes." Adds

partner Kirschenbaum, "We saw our wives changing to different versions of who

our wives were before we had kids."

What we say: In what decade does this clichefest take place? Women go to

the spa, men go to the casino. We go for the remote control.



Premieres tonight at 8:30

Genre: Sitcom.

Stars: Eli Marienthal ("American Pie"), Katey Sagal ("Married ... With

Children"), Noelle Beck ("Central Park West"), Nathan Lawrence ("You Wish"),

Casey Sander ("Grace Under Fire").

Created by: Newcomers Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer ("Idle Hands").

The story: Inside the mind of a 14-year-old boy who, along with his mom,

lives with his aunt's weird family. His cousin is obsessed with wrestling and

his human hair collection, while Tucker is obsessed by the blond teen next


What they say: "It's a show about the dynamics between all of these

characters," says producer Hughes. "A lot of it is putting different

combinations of them together and exploring the results of that."

What we say: Seen "Malcolm in the Middle"? It's good, right? Clever,

original and fresh? Now imagine it's a tired retread, a shadow of itself.

That's this shameless ripoff, which ratchets up the leer quotient and down the




Premieres tonight at 9

Genre: Drama.

Stars: Oliver Platt ("Bulworth"), Bebe Neuwirth ("Cheers"), Lili Taylor ("I

Shot Andy Warhol"), Hope Davis ("Arlington Road"), Tom Conti.

Set in: New York.

Produced in: New York.

Created by: Dick Wolf ("Law & Order," "New York Undercover").

The story: Activist tabloid columnist Oliver Platt is a quirky,

bow-tie-wearing sort, living in a fab Manhattan apartment (one of his ancestors

married an Astor) but hitching rides from students in his university seminar

(he's somehow license-challenged). Neuwirth is his needling but supportive

editor, Davis is his cute blond ex-wife rival, Taylor's a tip-proferring gossip

columnist, and Conti's his colorful, conservative publisher-all aiding and

abetting our hero in crusades like saving innocent men from death row after his

stories practically convicted them.

What they say: "One of the things that has made this country what it is for

the past 225-odd years is the free press," says producer Wolf. Yet, "a

columnist is somebody who is not bound to be objective, doesn't have Miranda

warnings, can unearth whatever he can unearth, and can write about it from a

personal slant, which makes him an incredibly active protagonist."

What we say: Wolf is again filming on the lively streets of New York City

(the newsroom is actually the old Post newsroom on South Street), but reality

takes a backseat here to melodrama. But just when you've had enough-or just

when you've concluded the sluggish Platt must be drugged or

sleepwalking-"Deadline" comes to life in surprising ways, taking a left turn or

two. The show and its star take some getting used to.

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