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Spring TV debuts worth watching

The cast of ABC's

The cast of ABC's "GCB." Credit: ABC / Bob D'Amico)

The never-ending procession of new television series continues to roll along with a slew of brand-new shows that'll keep your DVR packed and your butt on the coach. While the spring typically doesn't get the truly spectacular debuts, there are some notable new series here that'll take you to the White House, 1950s Miami and all around New York City. amNewYork takes a look at a few of the shows everyone will be talking about this season.

'GCB'
ABC, March 4, 10 p.m.

Originally titled "Good Christian Bitches," the abbreviated "GCB" has an all-star cast that includes Leslie Bibb, center, and Kristin Chenoweth, third from right. Bibb plays a former high-school mean girl who heads back to her hometown of Dallas after 18 years, to the dismay of the once-tortured unpopular kids (now all grown up and no longer unpopular), including Chenoweth's Carlene Cockburn.

'Awake'
NBC, March 1, 10 p.m.

Jason Issacs, left, who starred as Lucius Malfoy in the "Harry Potter" films, stars as Detective Michael Britten in this police procedural with a huge twist. After a devastating car crash, Britten experiences two separate and distinct realities: one where his teen son died in the car crash, and one where his wife died in an accident. He jumps between each world when he goes to sleep. But the big question, of course, is which is the true reality, and which is his dream state. Meanwhile, clues from the cases he's working on overlap between realities. It's complicated, but it actually works well once you see it.

'Million Dollar Listing New York'
Bravo, March 7, 10 p.m.

The "Million Dollar Listing" reality franchise heads east to the Big Apple, where realtors Fredrik Eklund, Michael Lorber and Ryan Serhant, above, show off the city's super-expensive luxury homes (to the 1% - or is it still too soon?).

'Fashion Star'
NBC, March 13, 9:30 p.m.

NBC gets into the fashion competition business with this new reality series about designers facing off to bring their collections to three big-time retailers: Macy's, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue. Elle Macpherson, second from right, hosts the show, while Nicole Richie, left, John Varvatos, center, and Jessica Simpson are celebrity mentors.

'Monster Man'
Syfy, March 14, 11 p.m.

Cleve Hall, left, and his crew at SOTA FX create all sorts of crazy creatures and special effects for the movies, including a set of conjoined twins to be slashed apart for an upcoming movie from Sean Cunningham, director of the original "Friday the 13th."

'Missing'
ABC, March 15, 8 p.m.

Ashley Judd, above, stars as Becca Winstone, a widowed mother who learns that her 18-year-old son has disappeared while studying abroad. So she heads off to Rome to look for her son, and the kidnappers better watch out: Becca was a CIA agent and will stop at nothing until she finds him.

'Bent'
NBC, March 21

Amanda Peet, left, heads up this pretty standard-sounding comedy, starring as Alex, a recently divorced mother who hires ladies' man Pete (David Walton, far left) to renovate her kitchen. This show's saving grace is its casting of one of my favorites, Jeffrey Tambor, as Pete's father, Walt.

'Duck Dynasty'
A&E, March 21, 10 p.m.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about A&E's new reality series is that the family it follows, the Robertsons - from the bayous of Louisiana - have earned millions from making duck calls and decoys. There are lots of beards and plaid clothes here, but unlike in Williamsburg, it's not meant to be ironic.

'Scandal'
ABC, April 5, 10 p.m.

A media consultant (Kerry Washington) leaves the White House to start her own firm but finds that the same problems with her life and work keep cropping up. Tony Goldwyn (remember the other guy from "Ghost"?) plays the president. Shonda Rhimes (creator of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice"), is behind this one, so expect a ton of drama.

'Magic City'
Starz, April 6, 10 p.m.

Despite the tanking of "The Playboy Club" and "Pan Am," here's another "Mad Men"-era period piece coming to the telly. It's 1958, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, above, plays Ike Evans, the man behind the Miramar Hotel, Miami Beach's new hot spot. Even Frank Sinatra is set to play the grand ballroom. But things get difficult for Evans and his wife when gangster Ben Diamond (Danny Huston) returns to town. And as you history majors might remember, Fidel Castro is seizing power just a short boat ride away in Cuba.

'Hotel Impossible'
Travel, April 9, 10 p.m.

Similarities to the Food Network's "Restaurant: Impossible" don't end at the name. "Hotel Impossible" features Anthony Melchiorri (in the Robert Irvine role) as he heads over to failing hotels and helps them rehab their business and make it successful.

'Shannen Says'
WeTV, April 10, 10 p.m.

We'll get to see if Shannen Doherty's difficult reputation is justified as the "Beverly Hills, 90210" star, far right, lands a new reality series chronicling her relationship with photographer Kurt Iswarienko, right, as they make their journey toward their nuptials. Keep an eye out for "My Fair Wedding" host David Tutera, who will be helping plan their event.

'Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23'
ABC, April 11, 9:30 p.m.

This series is going to get most of its buzz for marking the television return of "Dawson's Creek" star James Van Der Beek, above, who will be playing himself. But the real star here is Dreama Walker, who plays June, a Midwestern woman who comes to NYC for a big job, only to lose it (and her apartment) thanks to a Bernie Madoff-type swindler. And the con doesn't stop there: June has to find a new home and moves in with Chloe (Krysten Ritter), who proceeds to steal all her cash. But the not-so-naive June finds a way to get it back, endearing her to Chloe and her crew (which includes Van Der Beek.)

'Baggage Battles'
Travel, April 11, 10 p.m.

The latest in auction series takes viewers into the world of baggage auctions - where your lost airline luggage gets sold off (along with abandoned items, seized goods and other stuff). The series follows three teams of bidders (including Manhattan antique dealer Billy Leroy, right) as they head to various baggage auctions looking to find valuable goods and make big bucks.

'NYC 22'
CBS, April 15, 10 p.m.

This drama follows a bunch of rookie NYPD cops from all walks of life on patrol in upper Manhattan. The biggest names in the cast include Leelee Sobieski ("Joan of Arc") and Adam Goldberg, above left ("Saving Private Ryan").

'Girls'
HBO, April 15, 10:30 p.m.

Lena Dunham, left, who wrote, directed and starred in the critically acclaimed indie film "Tiny Furniture," turns her attention to the small screen with this comedic HBO series about a bunch of
twentysomethings trying to eke out a living in New York City. Keep an eye out for NBC newsman Brian Williams' daughter Allison, who plays Lena's best friend.

'Veep'
HBO, April 22, 10 p.m.

Let's all welcome Julia Louis-Dreyfus, right, ("Seinfeld," "The New Adventures of Old Christine") back to television. Here she plays Sen. Selina Meyer, who soon becomes the first female vice president of the U.S. in the aptly titled HBO comedy "Veep." But it turns out the job is not all it's cracked up to be. Maybe now we'll all have a little more respect for the likes of Dan Quayle, Dick Cheney and Joe Biden (or not). It also stars Anna Chlumsky ("My Girl") and Tony Hale ("Arrested Development").


Follow Entertainment Editor Scott A. Rosenberg on Twitter: @RosenbergScottA