2001 Fall Television Premieres
Previews of Your 'Designing Women' Favorites on TV's Biggest Week
The following airdates and times are those currently scheduled by the networks.
Continuing coverage of our nation's recent tragedy and its results may affect actual airings.
Everybody Loves Raymond
Monday, September 24 at 9pm ET/PT - CBS
CBS Monday premiere night kicks off with an all-new episode of the acclaimed Everybody Loves Raymond. Emmy Award-winning Patricia Heaton (Natty, Women of the House) stars with Ray Romano in the hit sitcom about a Long Island sportswriter and his intrusive parents -- who happen to live across the street.
As the sixth season opens, don't expect much to be new. The foundation of the show's success is its simplicity and ability to find humor in small, everyday events. The premiere has the Barones clashing even more than usual when they get a child's-eye view of all the bickering that goes on in the family. The fireworks begin when the whole family attends an open house at first-grader Michael's school, during which the kids all read stories that they've written themselves. Most of the students tell tall tales that are obviously fictional, but then Michael (Sullivan Sweeten) gets up and reads the title to his story, "The Angry Family." The shocked Barones fear the worst -- and for good reason -- as Michael begins the saga of a clan that is constantly arguing. Concerned over the effect their constant bickering is having on Michael and the other children, Ray and Debra bring the entire family to meet with the school's counselor and a local clergyman (recurring guest star Charles Durning) to uncover what -- or who -- is to blame.
Other major events this season? Marie (Doris Roberts) takes a sculpture class, Frank (Peter Boyle) hurts himself -- very slightly -- and Ray (Romano) loses his wedding ring.
Monday, September 24 at 10pm ET/PT - CBS
CBS premiere Monday continues as Family Law, co-starring Dixie Carter, returns for its third season with change in the air.
Julie Warner (Danni) will be leaving the series -- her character only appearing in the first two episodes to set the stage for her departure. Also, don't expect to see Dixie Carter's onscreen love interest, Christian de la Fuente (Andres) this season. Hunky Christian has left the show to pursue his film career. New faces increasing the show's estrogen levels will include Orla Brady and Meredith Eaton (in a recurring role). Also departing is co-Creator and Executive Producer Paul Haggis who is moving on to other projects; executive producers Fred Gerber, Stephen Nathan and David Shore will take over Haggis' duties for this coming season.
In this season's premiere episode, "Irreparable Harm," Lynn (Kathleen Quinlan) argues for Annie Forlano, a 9-year-old suffering from cancer, to receive an experimental medication. A full cycle of the medication is her last hope for survival so Lynn must prove that not having it will cause Annie irreparable harm and uses the 14th Amendment to support her case.
Meanwhile, the firm forces Joe (Tony Danza) to drop a pro bono case in lieu of a paying client. This decision presents tragic results for the pro bono case, which may change Joe's priorities forever. Further, Danni (Warner) continues to help a troubled foster child she previously tried to adopt but was turned down due to her busy work schedule.
During all of this, Holt & Associates moves from its plush Century City digs to a more modest Venice Beach setting when they take over the space vacated by an out-of-business "dot.com". Although the firm is trying to cut expenses, the partners hire a new associate: Naoise O'Neill (Brady). However, after Naoise is on-board, they're bullied into hiring a second one: Emily Resnick (Eaton). She's a smart, aggressive and extremely short woman who threatens a discrimination suit if she's not given a job.
But what about Dixie Carter's Randi King? Oh, don't you worry. Fans may see Randi regain some of that spunk and humor that made her the series' breakout character. Just stay tuned.
Tuesday, September 25 at 8pm ET/PT - NBC
Tuesday night starts with a BAM! with the premiere of Emeril from Designing Women creators Linda Bloodworth and Harry Thomason (previewed last issue).
The series begins with an episode entitled -- appropriately enough -- "Fat." Despite high ratings on Chef Emeril Lagasse's cooking show, network exec Trish O'Connell is troubled by the fact that women aren't fantacizing over the chef in his boxers and wants Emeril to 'trim the fat.' The network decides to launch a new campaign -- pitting all of their Food Channel shows against each other with a cash prize for the most weight lost. While the Emeril crew isn't thrilled by the prospect of dieting, the prize of a sweet $100,000 to be shared by the winning show is enough to prompt Cass (Lisa Ann Walter), Melva (Sherri Shepherd), and B.D. (Carrie Preston) to put down the pork loin and jump on the treadmill. Even Jerry (Robert Urich) decides to join the fitness craze and shed some excess tonnage, announcing he'll use the prize money to make the final payments on his sports car.
"That's a charity I wanna sweat for," Emeril remarks with sarcasm.
All seems to be going well until Emeril, reluctantly heeding the network's wishes, switches to preparing low-cal cuisine on his show -- and finds himself staring down an angry, hungry mob.
Making a big splash in a later episode will be guest star Vincent Pastore -- known for his role as portly gangster Sal "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero from HBO's Emmy-winning The Sopranos. Pastore plays himself in the episode, which has 'wiseguys' smuggling in some meat for Emeril's cooking show, ultimately leading to Pastore's appearance as a studio guest pressured by the wiseguys for a 'special favor.'
Tuesday, September 25 at 9pm ET/PT - NBC
Frasier returns for its ninth season with a hourlong opener in which Jean Smart reprises the character for which she's won two consecutive Emmys Awards.
As last season ended, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) had set out on a tropical trip with his 'perfect' match, the doting and devoted Claire (Patricia Clarkson), but was tormented by romantic dreams of the more frustrating and challenging Lana (Smart).
In the one-hour season premiere, the couple returns to Seattle, and the torn and agitaged Frasier ponders whether or not to dump Claire. He is then beset by the great loves of his life, including ex-wife Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) and former fiancée Diane (Shelley Long) -- both confronting Frasier in dreamlike sequences to dispell their own opinions and advice. As Frasier maneuvers to scout out the terrain surrounding Lana for future romance, he finds himself competing with an unexpected and handsome stranger (guest star Brian Kerwin). Meanwhile, Roz (Peri Gilpin) is dogged by Lana's frisky teenaged son Kirby (guest star Brian Klugman). Other guest stars include Dina Waters (Six Feet Under) and a return appearance by Rita Wilson (Sleepless in Seattle).
Frasier begins its season on a somber note following the loss of series co-creater David Angell. The series shut down production last week after Angell and his wife, Lynn, were confirmed as being on board American Airlines 11 from Boston, one of the two hijacked passenger aircraft that smashed into the World Trade Center towers. Paramount, which produces Frasier, said the company was "devastated", adding that Mr Angell would be missed for his "grace, humour and talent". Angell was also co-creator of the hit series Cheers and Wings.
Wednesday, September 26 at 8pm ET/PT - UPN
Paramount launches its latest Star Trek incarnation on Wednesday with a 2-hour movie, and Scott Bakula (Ted Shively, DW) debuts as the newest -- and first -- Federation Starship Captain in Enterprise.
The Star Trek legacy began over thirty years ago and has boasted four successful series and several feature films. But rather than being the latest series in consecutive Federation history, Enterprise actually finds itself taking place over 100 years before Kirk and Spock and the original series and only 150 years from today in 2151. The series introduces us to the pioneering days of space exploration, when interstellar travel is in its infancy, and a universe -- and the unknown -- portends both danger and awe. Appropriately, the crew of Enterprise exhibits a sense of wonder as well as a little trepidation about the strange things and beings they will encounter. Being among the first to explore deep space, they will have to prove they are ready for life among the stars. The show explores the intergalactic upheaval that eventually leads to the forming of the Federation. Bakula takes the healm as Captain Jonathan Archer, who is said to be a bit of a renegade who’s not afraid to question orders or even disobey them if he feels in his gut that he’s right.
The 2-hour premiere, "Broken Bow," concerns the crew's first encounter with Klingons. A Klingon ship crash lands on Earth, and when the humans try to get the Klingon home, things don't go as planned. This leads to the beginning of strained relations between the Humans and the Klingons. The story also introduces the Suliban, the recurring villians of the series, a deadly nomadic race obsessed with genetic enhancment that have chameleon-like properties able to change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. And expect some exploration of the early, tense relationship between Vulcans and Humans.
So set your VCR's for 8pm on Wednesday, because with the combination of Scott Bakula and Star Trek's addicting style of science fiction storytelling, what lies ahead is pure adventure.
Saturday, September 29 at 10pm ET/PT - CBS
Jean Smart reprises her Emmy-Nominated role on the season premiere of The District, the drama inspired by the real-life experiences of former New York Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Maple -- who passed away last month after a long illness. Jean plays the recurring role of Sherry Regan, ex-wife and current love-interest of Chief of Police Jack Mannion (Craig T. Nelson).
The series begins its sophomore season with the episode "Lost and Found," in which Mannion and his team work on a high-profile missing persons case involving the disappearance of a young Caucasian woman who worked for a United States congressman. At the same time, a poor African-American woman with a drug habit is also missing, and the black community is in an uproar when it is widely believed that the police are spending more time trying to find the rich, white woman. Mannion, however, refusing to bow to political pressure, takes a stand and is determined to find both women before it's too late.
Though loosely inspired by events surrounding the Chandra Levy case, the story was planned and written prior to the story gaining such national attention.
Jonathan LaPaglia (Seven Days) joins the cast as Kevin Debreno, the newest member of Mannion's team, which is suffering from the death of Detective McGregor in last season's finale. Joanna Cassidy (Six Feet Under) also begins a recurring role as restauranteur Teddy Reed, who becomes Mannion's latest confidant as he deals with his guilt over McGregor's death. The series is known for its compelling writing, so expect some interesting twists -- and future appearances by Jean.
And a Special Mention Goes to . . . .
Thursday, November 1 at 8:30pm ET/PT - FOX
Ok, yes, we know this series isn't premiering until November, but the critics are cheering for it, and TV Guide has chosen it as one of its Fall Favorites. And most importantly, The Tick stars Patrick Warburton, most recognizable to DW fans as Mary Jo's brainless boyfriend in Season Seven. Of course, Warburton's list of credits goes far beyond that, including a role in the upcoming and much-anticipated Men in Black 2. But it's his lead role as the comic book character-turned live-action superhero in The Tick that has the industry abuzz.
The official description from FOX is as follows:
"In the city known as The City, crime fights back. And where the forces of good are hip-deep in evil, there is The Tick! Armed only with his invulnerability, this big blue defender of all that is right patrols The City's rooftops - not for fame, not for money, but for the love of his demanding mistress, a notion called Justice. At the Tick's side is Arthur (David Burke), an accountant who scorned the fuzzy security blanket of Corporate America to pursue his destiny as a heroic moth. Despite their odd-couple like tendencies, they both share a common dream - to fight evil. Accompanying them on their heroic exploits is Captain Liberty (Liz Vassey) a patriotic superperson whose light from her torch of righteousness sends the roaches of wrong scurrying back to their dank, filthy crevices. Also joining the crusade is the suave Bat Manuel (Nestor Carbonnell), whose Latin charm is as big as his wingspan."
Of course it sounds silly as hell, and although this sort of series is always going to get mixed reactions from critics, most who've seen the pilot have labeled it a total scream and huge fun. Warburton pulls off this kind of camp like no one else can, and this offbeat superhero satire, though no doubt absurd, is quoted by a reviewer at 4-Color Review as being "leagues funnier than any of the white, 20 something dorks in the big city, mismatched roommates and wacky neighbor retread sitcoms sure to waltz across our screens."
The series is based on the smash cult comic The Tick by Ben Edlund, who also serves as the series writer and executive producer with Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black), Barry Josephson, David Sacks, and Larry Charles. The pilot was shot last year with plans for it to be a mid-season replacement, but FOX kept in on the shelf as insurance during threats of industry strikes. Watch for The Tick to finally make its debut this November.
**Fall Preview Sources:
CBS Publicity, NBC Publicity, FOX Publicity
The Cabaret: The Official Dixie Carter Website
Smart Stuff: Officially Jean Smart
The Tick Official Site, Scifispace.com
(73) What man do Suzanne Sugarbaker and Family Law's Lynn Holt have in common?
(74) Which Frasier star made a guest appearance on Designing Women?
(75) What other famous sci-fi series featured Scott Bakula in the lead role?
(76) We remember him from DW, but Patrick Warburton is better known to TV audiences for playing the dim-witted mechanic boyfriend of another character on which hit sitcom?
* Answers will appear in the next issue.
Trivia Answers from Issue #18
From 'The Emperor's New Nose'
(69) What new business 'toy' do Charlene and Anthony try out in this episode?
Sugarbaker's new car phone
(70) The doctor tells Bernice she has the same bone structure as which celebrity?
(71) It upsets Suzanne to look at Bernice's new face because it reminds her of whom?
Her runaway pig, Noel
(72) The computerized reconstruction sample the doctor did for Anthony looked like which celebrity?