The Shows – CBS

Bram and Alice

Bram and Alice

CBS/CH

Wednesdays 10:30-11 pm

the story: Alice is an aspiring writer living in the Big Apple. Much to everyone’s surprise, it turns out her biological father is the renowned author of a great American novel. Trouble is, he’s a burnout. They resolve to live together and make a go of it.

the cast: Traylor Howard, Alfred Molina

the verdict: Not too shabby as ideas go. I’m not crazy about Molina, who is like a bad rash on TV’s underbelly. That having been said, the premise is fairly strong and should appeal in the big markets.

the backing: This one is created by Emmy-winning writers from Frasier, produced by Paramount (with Christopher Lloyd on board), and directed by James Burrows. These facts in and of themselves should guarantee strong backing.

Still Standing

CBS/Global

Mondays 9:30-10 pm

the story: About a blue-collar Chicago couple who came of age in the ’70s and are trying to still keep their cool while raising their children.

the cast: Mark Addy, Jami Gertz

the verdict: Not for long. It is hard to believe that this half-baked idea made it through development let alone into the prime-time schedule. Why do all these shows have to sound exactly the same? Read on to find out.

the backing: CBS has placed this one right between ultra-successful Raymond and soon to be cool CSI: Miami. CBS honcho Lesley Moonves and company must feel that it has some merit.

CSI: Miami

CBS/CTV

Mondays 10-11 pm

the story: Spin-off of the popular first series. This one takes forensic science to the streets of Miami where Cuba North meets Georgia South. Investigators probe the seamy underside of the Florida city using special blue lights to figure out clues.

the cast: David Caruso (NYPD Blue)

the verdict: Nothing and no one can hold a torch to Crocket and Tubbs in Miami Vice. There’s no way they can come up with a theme song as cool as that one either. Yet whatever else you think of him, David Caruso was popular in NYPD Blue, and this one will do well, thong bikinis notwithstanding.

the backing: Alliance Atlantis is in on this one, as is producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Though the latter will probably never be sainted for his great contributions to mankind, he produces shows that people watch. This is a no-brainer for CBS and gives them points in their serious run at ratings king NBC.

Presidio Med

CBS/Global

Wednesdays 10-11 pm

the story: Yet another medical drama about doctors with the necessary in-your-face attitude toward the medical establishment. Like Meds, this one is set in San Francisco.

the cast: Dana Delany (China Beach), Broadway stars Blythe Danner and Anna Deavere Smith.

the verdict: ABC’s Meds and this show will go head-to-head in this time slot, and you can bet your bottom dollar that only one will be left standing. Smart money says that this John Wells (ER) production will be up to the task, especially given the strong cast.

the backing: Anything Wells and Lydia Woodward (ER) do is bound to get solid support, given their past success.

Without a Trace

CBS/Global

Thursdays 10-11 pm

the story: Suspense series that focuses on an FBI task force that tracks down missing persons. The series reconstructs the last 24 hours of a missing person’s life and tries to put together pieces of the puzzle.

the cast: Anthony LaPaglia

the verdict: There are so many shows that are exactly the same, it is getting quite difficult to tell the difference between them. Is this a Dick Wolf show, or is this some sort of play on FOX’s success with 24? Low points for originality, but that’s really not what network TV is about anyway.

the backing: Another Bruckheimer production in conjunction with Warner Bros. and CBS.

Hack

CBS/Global

Fridays 9-10 pm

the story: For a second I thought they made a show about me. Well, it is about sin and redemption, crime and punishment – so close enough. Cop turned taxi driver fights for people who can’t stand up for themselves.

the cast: David Morse (St. Elsewhere, Proof of Life), André Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street)

the verdict: Decent cast and good spin off the old Robin Hood tale. Should do well amongst the taxi-driving set. Those guys could use a hero to look up to these days.

the backing: Poor time slot, depressing subject matter. Perfect for Friday nights when no one is watching.

RHD/LA

CBS/The New VR/

The New VI

Fridays 10-11 pm

the story: Sam Coleman is chief detective with the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division. A hard look at the present-day Los Angeles police community and the mean streets they battle on.

the cast: Tom Sizemore (Is that his real name? Saving Private Ryan)

the verdict: Despite its generic nature, the fact that Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider, Miami Vice) is on it should make it a hit. This one should/could indeed tackle the city and its problems.

the backing: Great backing, highly promotable but strange position in the lineup. Will try to steal heat from Law & Order: SVU on Friday night, and could well do so.