The shows – Global + CH

The Apprentice: Martha Stewart

The Apprentice: Martha Stewart

Global/NBC, Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m.

The story: The domestic diva will be following Donald Trump’s winning formula of pitting contestants against each other in tasks relating to home renovation, entertaining, design, etc.

The cast: Martha Stewart and guests.

The backing: Executive producer is reality king Mark Burnett.

The verdict: Sure, it’s tempting to quip about what Ms. Martha may bring to the new show from her prison experience, but let’s not. Let’s just say that her devoted fan base, plus the curiosity factor from other viewers, should make this a ratings winner, if only briefly.

Bones

Global/Fox, Tuesdays, 8-9 p.m.

The story: Inspired by the professional career of novelist Kathy Reichs, a female forensic anthropologist, who’s almost as quirky as Dr. House [Global's surprise hit last year], solves murders thanks to her uncanny ability to read clues left in victims’ bones.

The cast: Emily Deschanel (Boogeyman), David Boreanaz (Angel), Michaela Conlin (The DA), TJ Thyne (How the Grinch Stole Christmas).

The backing: Twentieth Century Fox Television.

The verdict: Good buzz on this one at the upfronts including chatter that the doc and her sidekick may become the next Mulder and Scully.

The Closer

CH/TNT, Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m.

The story: Movie star Kyra Sedgwick is a CIA-trained police detective whose male colleagues resent her authority when she heads up an L.A. special unit handling sensitive, high-profile murder cases.

The cast: Kyra Sedgwick (Phenomenon), J.K. Simmons (Homicide), Corey Reynolds (The Terminal), Jon Tenney (Equal Justice).

The backing: From the producers of Nip/Tuck.

The verdict: If this comes close to the smart and titillating story lines that made Nip/Tuck a critical success, this could go far.

Emily’s Reasons Why Not

Global/ABC, in Monday Night Football

time-slot

30 min., midseason debut

The story: An ensemble comedy based on the best-selling novel about a 30-year-old publicist trying to follow a set of self-imposed ‘reasons’ as guidelines to navigate her way through life.

The cast: Heather Graham (Austin Powers), Nadia Dajani (My Life with Men), Khary Payton (Teen Titans).

The backing: From the producers of The Late Show with David Letterman.

The verdict: Went over fairly well at the upfronts, but you’ve got to be dubious about whether agonizing about press releases will really turn viewers on.

E-Ring

Global/CBS, Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m.

The story: Political drama set inside the Pentagon looks at life-and-death decisions that can relate to a single soldier or to the fate of the entire world.

The cast: Benjamin Bratt (Law & Order), Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider), Aunjanue Ellis (Ray), Leonor Varela (Stargate Atlantis), Joe Morton (Equal Justice).

The backing: Jerry Bruckheimer Television with Warner Bros.

The verdict: With a stellar cast and the Bruckheimer golden touch, this should strike a chord in post-9/11 times.

Falcon Beach

Global

60 min., midseason debut

The story: Canadian drama centres on a group of young adults summering in the fictional lakeside resort town of Falcon Beach and the townies with whom they sometimes clash.

The cast: Steve Byers (Slapshot II), Jennifer Kydd (Joey Busiek: Wildcard), Ephraim

Ellis (Degrassi: TNG), Melissa Elias (Christmas Rush).

The backing: Toronto’s Insight Productions and Manitoba-based Original Pictures.

The verdict: If the writing and character development are as skillful as those that made the WB’s similarly themed Summerland a modest success, this one should do alright.

Fathom

CH/NBC, Mondays 8-9 p.m.

The story: Unpredictable, action-packed drama is set in motion when a new form of sea life begins popping up all over the world. The creatures may not be a threat, but scientists and fishermen have their doubts.

The cast: Lake Bell (Boston Legal), Jay R. Ferguson (Glory Days).

The backing: NBC/Universal.

The verdict: Another Lost? There’s likely room for just one.

Four Kings

Global/NBC

30 min., midseason debut

The story: Comedy in which four long-time friends share a New York apartment while trying to juggle the responsibilities of adulthood.

The cast: Todd Grinnell (Bad News Bears), Seth Green (Buffy), Kiele Sanchez (Stuck on You), Josh Cooke (Without a Trace).

The backing: Warner Bros. Television, KoMut Entertainment.

The verdict: Hey, somebody’s got to pick up where Friends left off. But whether a core cast of just guys can pull it off seems iffy.

The Gate

Global/Fox, Fridays 9-10 p.m. midseason debut

The story: Drama focuses on a troubled San Francisco detective and his rookie partner as they investigate bizarre crimes as part of the city’s Deviant Crime Unit.

The cast: Johnny Messner and Marguerite Moreau (The O.C.).

The backing: Created by Josh Berman (CSI).

The verdict: An obvious Law & Order: SVU clone, this one may well suffer by comparison.

Head Cases

CH/Fox, Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m.

The story: Another movie star trying his hand at TV, Chris O’Donnell plays a legal superstar whose breakdown cost him everything. Now he’s trying for a comeback with an outpatient sidekick who’s also walking a fine line emotionally.

The cast: Chris O’Donnell (Batman), Adam Goldberg (Saving Private Ryan), Jason Lee (Almost Famous).

The backing: Twentieth Century Fox Television.

The verdict: Buddies fighting for underdogs and for their own sanity? Could work, especially with cuddly O’Donnell as the lead.

How I Met Your Mother

CH/CBS, Mondays, 8:30 p.m.

The story: Romantic ensemble comedy in which a man looks back on his single life and tells his teenage kids about it in flashbacks.

The cast: Jason Segel (Freaks and Geeks), Alyson Hannigan (Buffy), Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D.), Cobie Smulders (Veritas: The Quest) with flashback narration by Bob Saget (Full House).

The backing: Twentieth Century Fox Television, executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas (The Late Show with David Letterman).

The verdict: Evidently inspired by The Wonder Years, so it should go over nicely.

The Inside

Global/Fox, Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m.

June 8 debut

The story: Drama centres on the FBI’s L.A.-based violent crimes unit, where a rookie female agent, who was abducted as a child, provides unique insight into the mind-sets of villains and victims.

The cast: Rachel Nichols (Amityville Horror), Peter Coyote (A Walk To Remember), Jay Harrington (Coupling), Adam Baldwin (Firefly).

The backing: From the producers of 24.

The verdict: A mite contrived, but elements reminiscent of the hit Medium series might pique viewers’ interest.

Kitchen Confidential

Global/Fox, Mondays, 8:30-9 p.m.

The story: Comedy based on renowned chef Anthony Bourdain’s best-selling autobiography, in which a once-brilliant chef hits rock bottom but then gets a chance to head up a top New York restaurant with a crew of hastily assembled former colleagues.

The cast: Bradley Cooper (Alias), Owain Yeoman (Troy), Bonnie Somerville (NYPD Blue).

The backing: Executive producers Darren Star (Sex and the City) and David Hemingson (Just Shoot Me!)

The verdict: Good premise, and with Darren Star’s proven track record, could be tasty.

The Loop

Global/Fox

60 min., mid-season debut

The story: Drama set in Chicago with a young exec at the corporate headquarters of a major airline trying to find a balance between working hard and playing hard.

The cast: Bret Harrison (Grounded for Life), Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling), Becki Newton (American Dreams), Philip Baker Hall (The Amityville Horror).

The backing: Twentieth Century Fox Television.

The verdict: Sadly, the most interesting thing about this one is its producers’ vow to salt it with as much product placement as possible. Could be a turnoff for viewers.

Old Christine

Global/CBS

30 min., midseason debut

The story: Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as a

35-year-old divorcée who has to contend with patronizing parents at her son’s school and the antics of her newly dating ex-husband.

The cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld), Clark Gregg (The West Wing), Hamish Linklater (American Dreams).

The backing: Executive produced by Kari Lizer (Will & Grace) and Andy Ackerman.

The verdict: The Seinfeld curse will live on.

Out of Practice

CH/CBS, Sundays 10:30-11 p.m.

The story: Comedy about the clashes between a young couples counselor and his overachieving doctor-parents, who tend to second-guess him at every turn.

The cast: Christopher Gorham (Felicity), Stockard Channing (The West Wing), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), Ty Burrell, (In Good Company), Paula Marshall (Spin City).

The backing: CBS/Paramount Network Television, executive producers Joe Keenan and Christopher Lloyd (both Frasier).

The verdict: Good set-up, good producing credentials and what’s not to like about getting Henry ‘The Fonz’ Winkler back onscreen?

Princes of Malibu

Global/Fox

60 min., TBA debut

The story: This unscripted series goes inside the life of Canadian-born Grammy winner David Foster. When his two charming but feckless adult stepsons move back home and start spending wildly, Foster tries to make them shape up.

The cast: David, Brandon and Brody Foster.

The verdict: Does David Foster have enough pull to be the next The Donald?

Nuff said.

Prison Break

Global/Fox, Mondays 9-10 p.m.

midseason debut

The story: One of the main characters gets himself convicted of a crime so that he can try to rescue his brother, who sits in a prison wrongly accused of attempting to murder the U.S. vice president.

The cast: Wentworth Miller (The Human Stain), Dominic Purcell (John Doe), Peter Stormare (Constantine), Robin Tunney (The Craft).

The backing: Fox Television.

The verdict: Fans of conspiracy mysteries are sure to give this highly anticipated drama a chance.

ReGenesis

Global, Mondays 10-11:00 p.m.

The story: Canadian drama, which previously aired on pay-TV, concerns a team of scientific researchers seeking the ethical, legal and moral consequences of biotech advances.

The cast: Peter Outerbridge (Men With Brooms), Maxim Roy (Snakes & Ladders), Conrad Pla (The Terminal), Ellen Page (Mouth to Mouth), Greg Bryk (Body & Soul).

The backing: Shaftesbury Films (Dark Oracle).

The verdict: Perhaps a tad too cerebral for a mass audience.

Reunion

CH/Fox, Thursdays, 9-10 p.m.

The story: Borrowing from 24′s chronological format, this drama examines the bond between six friends over a 20-year span. Begins with the funeral of a murdered friend and proceeds year by year until the killer’s identity is revealed in the finale.

The cast: Will Estes (American Dreams), Sean Faris (Life as We Know It), Alexa Davalos (Chronicles of Riddick), Amanda Righetti (The O.C.), Dan Annable (Little Black Book), Chyler Leigh (That ’80s Show).

The backing: Warner Bros. Television, Class IV Productions.

The verdict: Keep your eye on this one. Solid upfront buzz.

Sex, Lies and Secrets

Global/UPN

60 min., fall debut

The story: Ensemble drama centres on a group of twentysomethings living in a hip Los Angeles neighbourhood.

The cast: Denise Richards (Wild Thing), Eric Balfour (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Lauren German (A Walk to Remember), Omar Miller (Shall We Dance), Tamara Taylor (City of Angels), James Stevenson (Hope & Faith).

The backing: Paramount Network Television, Axelrod/Edwards Company.

The verdict: Has a slim but entirely possible chance of becoming the next Friends.

Threshold

Global/CBS, Fridays 9-10 p.m.

The story: Fast-paced drama in which a band of eccentrics are the world’s best defence against alien invasion after an extraterrestrial craft lands in the Atlantic Ocean.

The cast: Carla Gugino (Sin City), Charles S. Dutton (Something the Lord Made), Brian Van Holt (House of Wax), Robert Patrick Benedict (Felicity), Brent Spiner (The Aviator).

The backing: Paramount Network Television, executive producers Brannon Braga (Enterprise), David Heyman (Harry Potter

and the Prisoner of Azkaban), David Goyer (Blade: Trinity).

The verdict: Good spooky, spinetingling fun.

The Unit

Global/CBS

60 min., midseason debut

The story: Drama follows a team of special forces operatives who travel the world on undercover missions essential to national security while their families try to cope with their absence and their secrets.

The cast: Dennis Haysbert (24), Scott Foley (Felicity), Robert Patrick (The X-Files), Regina Taylor (I’ll Fly Away).

The backing: Twentieth Century Fox Television, executive producers/writers David Mamet (Glengarry Glen Ross) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield).

The verdict: Another post-9/11 paranoia trip but in the brilliant hands of Mamet, it could become a classic.

War at Home

Global/Fox, Sundays, 8:30-9 p.m.

The story: Comedy series gets into the

heads of a family with three teenaged kids through the use of a confessional space where they each divulge what they can’t reveal to each other.

The cast: Michael Rapaport (Boston Public), Anita Barone (Daddio), Kyle Sullivan (Malcolm in the Middle), Kaylee Defer (Quintuplets), Dean Collins (Jack & Bobby).

The backing: Warner Bros.

The verdict: If the quality that produced gleeful laughter at the upfront holds