Handicapping the shows



By Melita Kuburas

The Dr. Oz Show


Mondays to Fridays 5-6 p.m.

Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, Oprah’s right-hand doc, is replacing Dr. Phil in the 5 p.m. weekday timeslot. Plenty of ‘harness the power of’ nutrition advice is to be expected, however balanced with stories of hardships and inspiration. This spring, Oz caused a stir when he told Oprah and guest Michael J. Fox that the ‘stem cell debate is dead.’ A mix of frivolous diet advice and contentious medical statements? Sounds like The Dr. Oz Show will pick up where Dr. Phil should have left off four years ago.

The Vampire Diaries


Thursday 7-8 p.m.

A hot, new, mature-looking male student at Mystic Falls High School takes interest in a beautiful orphan played by Nina Dobrev (Degrassi). The stranger is, of course, a vampire who can control his urges but not those of his bad boy brother, who also wants our young heroine as she resembles a woman from their past – circa 1864. Although predictable and lacking the witticisms of previous favourite Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Diaries is generating buzz because it bumped Smallville for a CW Wednesday night spot.




Wednesday 8-8:30 p.m.

Hank (Kelsey Grammer) and his family have to leave behind their fabulous life in New York City after he loses his fortune. Grammer fans might have high hopes for his latest return to television, but Hank‘s jokes at the expense of middle-class life in Virginia get stale quickly (he and his wife have to sleep in a fire truck bed after the mattress won’t fit up the cramped stairway). Funniest moments are in watching the awkward attempts to become closer with his kids.

The Middle


Wednesday 8:30-9 p.m.

Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) is hilarious as the matriarch of a dysfunctional family. Sarcasm abounds, mostly from Heaton, who microwaves her kids’ breakfasts and picks them up during customer test-drives at the car dealership where she works. Her insensitive husband, clumsy teenagers, and cute elementary schooler are also excellent in this half-hour sitcom about a normal family who eats dinner together – out of takeout bags while watching Dancing with the Stars.

The Beautiful Life


Wednesday 9-10 p.m.

This drama about the life and times of supermodels is not generating as much buzz as is expected from the star power of Mischa Barton (whose role is reminiscent of the one she played in The O.C.) and executive producer Ashton Kutcher. Skeptics compare the scripted model show to past failures (Aaron Spelling’s Models Inc.), but as long as it keeps up the self-aware humour of the ridiculous high-fashion world – ‘Take this necklace off and make it into a belt,’ says one designer – it could prove to be another Gossip Girl-style success story.



Wednesdays 10-11 p.m.

This dramedy about three women whose bewitching powers awaken when a mysterious stranger (Paul Gross) comes to town is best described as Charmed meets Desperate Housewives. The cast includes Rebecca Romijn (Ugly Betty) and Lindsay Price (Lipstick Jungle), and should attract female viewers who want to hear Gross, who is portrayed as somewhat of a sex symbol, describe himself as ‘a humble patron of the arts,’ but ‘a demon between the sheets.’

Flash Forward


Thursday 8-9 p.m.

A scientific experiment results in a group of people catching a glimpse 20 years into the future and their lives are never the same again, especially because everyone is always asking, ‘What did you see?’ Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) leads the ensemble cast of this new thriller. Cool action scenes, convoluted mysterious plots and heavy questions about whether the future can be changed make this an ideal Thursday night drama, but it remains to be seen whether a placement on A is enough to for it to beat out Global’s lighter alternative, Survivor: Samoa. MK


By Carey toane

NCIS: Los Angeles


Tuesdays 9-10 p.m.

The West Coast cast of this spin-off police procedural includes Chris O’Donnell (Scent of a Woman) and LL Cool J (Charlie’s Angels) as part of the Office of Special Projects, a wing of NCIS that works undercover to crack cases that pose threats to national security. Same banter, different time zone – leading out of NCIS and into The Good Wife, Tuesdays could be Global’s night this fall.

The Good Wife


Tuesdays 10-11 p.m.

When a state attorney (Chris Noth, Sex and the City) resigns under accusations of misused funds and dalliances with prostitutes, his wife (Julianna Margulies, ER) suddenly finds herself wearing the family pants and goes back to work as a criminal defence lawyer. The pressure’s on to compete against Law and Order: SVU on CTV, and if anybody is up to the task it’s the stunning, talented former Nurse Hathaway. And with a cast rounded out by Christine Baranski (Ugly Betty), this could be a winner, with women especially.



Wednesdays 9-10 p.m.

‘There is nothing ironic about show choir!’ says perfectionist Rachel, a member of a plucky choir up against a sadistic cheer troupe called the Cheerios and the trials of high school. Luckily there’s a bit of sarcasm to balance out the earnestness in this fast-paced, well-shot dramedy from Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy, starring Canadians Jessalyn Gilsig (Heroes) and Cory Monteith. But with high-gloss competition from Ashton Kutcher project The Beautiful Life, Glee could be facing a popularity contest.

Melrose Place


Wednesdays 10-11 p.m.

After 90210 came back last year, who couldn’t have predicted this? The much-talked about, much-denied return of the cattiest crew is back, thanks to CW. Laura Leighton is back as Sydney, and like in the old days, that’s where the trouble starts – there’s sex, money, blackmail and murder in the first 10 minutes. And with the only threats coming from Eastwick and Leno, who could resist?

The Cleveland Show


Sundays 8:30-9 p.m.

Cleveland and his son leave Quahog for his home town of Stoolbend, VA. in this animated Family Guy spin-off from creator Seth MacFarlane. It’s not laugh-out-loud funny, but the Family Guy flavour still lingers, from the trash-talking baby to the non-sequitur projectile vomiting to the talking bears. Nestled between fellow ani-families the Griffins and the Simpsons, it could do well or quickly prove to be the weakest link in a Sunday-night chain of animated humour – just in time for viewers to surf over to catch the second half of Amazing Race on CTV.

Sons of Tucson



From Malcolm in the Middle director Todd Holland, Ron Snuffkin is a sardonic, Jack Black-type character (Canadian Tyler Labine, Reaper) living out of his car and in danger of losing his kneecaps over a debt, who strikes up an unusual business arrangement with three boys in need of a father figure. Hilarity ensues – although we’ll see how long the gags carry it through.


By Emily Wexler

Accidentally on Purpose


Mondays 8:30-9 p.m.

Jenna Elfman (Dharma and Greg) makes her sitcom return playing a newspaper film critic who becomes pregnant with the child of her much younger one night stand and decides to keep the baby and live with him platonically. It bears a strong resemblance to a certain movie starring a chubby Canadian and a Grey’s Anatomy star, which will either appeal to audiences or annoy them. Leading out of How I Met Your Mother, comedy fans may tune in, but it will have a hard time beating the second halves of Gossip Girl, Dancing with the Stars and House.



Mondays 9-10 p.m.

The streets can be pretty mean, especially for a group of first responder paramedics who face extreme conditions and dangerous situations to save the lives of accident victims. From the producers of Friday Night Lights, it stars a few notable up-and-comers like Derek Luke (Notorious) and Cliff Curtis (10,000 B.C.). Audiences craving explosions, blood, intense emotion and occasional over-acting will likely flock to this potential ER replacement. Expect it to do well against competing drama Lie to Me.

The Jay Leno Show


Mondays to Fridays 10-11 p.m.

Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno takes his act to prime time, bringing along many of the segments and features that made him famous. The show, which is a bit more comedy and a bit less talk show, features a longer monologue at up to 14 minutes. Leno was the ratings leader for most of his tenure on Tonight, beating out his main competition David Letterman most nights. Now that he’s in a new time slot, the show is being touted as an alternative to the violent shows at 10 p.m., such as the CSIs and Law & Order: SVU. Running the same show at prime time five nights a week is a big risk, but it may just be the dose of comedy that audiences are craving.



Wednesdays 8-9 p.m.

Oscar-winning exec producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) back this drama, which finds a cash-strapped single mom returning home to her parents and siblings, all of whom are dealing with their own familial issues. The cast includes plenty of TV and movie vets, including Maura Tierney (ER), Craig T. Nelson (Coach), Erika Christensen (Traffic) and Dax Shepard (Baby Mama). With a powerhouse cast and producing team behind it, this drama has a good chance of beating out old favourite Bones and new comedy Hank.

Modern Family


Wednesdays 9-9:30 p.m.

A mockumentary about the ups and downs of a family that includes an older father (Ed O’Neill of Married with Children) and his much younger new wife, a daughter whose husband thinks he’s hip and a son who adopts a baby from Vietnam with his gay partner. Backed by former Frasier exec producers Steven Levitan and Chistopher Lloyd, this sometimes-edgy comedy may rely a little too heavily on stereotypes, but with clever dialogue and a few laugh-out-loud moments, it could do well sandwiched between two anticipated new series – Parenthood and Cougar Town. With no other comedies competing in the slot (unless you count dramedy Glee), it has a fighting chance.

Cougar Town


Wednesdays 9:30-10 p.m.

Former Friend Courteney Cox produces and stars in this comedy about a divorcee who finds herself back in the dating pool. With a Desperate Housewives vibe, Cougar Town is definitely targeting that coveted adult women demo. Following Modern Family, it stands a good chance against the later portions of new drama The Beautiful Life and new dramedy Glee.



Thursdays 8-8:30 p.m.

Produced and directed by the Russo brothers, who brought us Arrested Development, this quirky comedy stars The Soup‘s Joel McHale as a lawyer whose degree is revoked, forcing him to go to community college where he forms a study group with a band of misfits, including comedy legend Chevy Chase. Fans of Arrested Development and 30 Rock will no doubt take to this off-beat offering. Kicking off City’s Thursday night comedy block, the show will likely do well without any other laughers competing.

Ford Models Supermodel of the World Canada

Saturdays 8-9 p.m. (Sept. 5 to 26)

Dina Pugliese (Breakfast Television) and Laura Lanktree (editor of Teenflare.com) host this hunt for a Canadian model to represent our country at the Ford Models Supermodel of the World competition. Building off the success of other top-model-searching reality shows, this four-part series may see some success without a lot of competition for female audiences in this time slot.

Glenn Martin, DDS

Saturdays 8-8:30 p.m. (starting Oct. 3)

To bring his family closer together, a dentist brings them on a cross-country road trip adventure in his mobile dental RV. Voices for this family-friendly stop-motion animated comedy include Saturday Night Live alums Catherine O’Hara and Kevin Nealon. It’s the first television series produced by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s Tornante Animation, created in Toronto. Animated shows about colourful families have fared well in the past (The Simpsons, anyone?), and with no other comedies to compete with, it could stand a good chance with those not tuning in to Saturday night hockey.

My Rona Home

Sundays 9-10 p.m.

In this Canadian reality series, two families compete to build new homes (tools and supplies provided by Rona, of course) in just ten weeks, completing one room per episode. Viewers vote on who did the best job each week and the final winners get to keep their new home with everything inside. With no other reality fare competing on the major networks, it may see success leading out of another popular abode-based show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Conviction Kitchen

Sundays 10-11 p.m.

In this Toronto-based reality series, executive chef Marc Thuet and his wife Biana Zorich open a restaurant with an unusual staff – former criminals. With three months to turn a profit, the stakes are high for the ex-cons who are at risk of losing this critical second chance. Leading out of My Rona Home, audiences craving something different may tune in over dramas Cold Case and Heroes.

100 Questions



Poor Charlotte, she’s young and beautiful and has been proposed to by several men, but rejects them all because she can’t find Mr. Right (do you feel sorry for her yet?). When she goes to an online dating service for help, she’s forced to answer 100 questions about love, leading her to explore why she seems so darn unlucky (cue incessant laugh track). While British actress Sophie Winkleman (Peep Show) is charming, she’ll need more than charm to survive with this one.




Despite what Grey’s Anatomy has taught us, it’s not just doctors who have all the fun. Nurses also like to cavort in on-call rooms, flirt at the local bar and talk about their intimacy problems. Luckily Mercy is here to set us straight. People may dismiss this one as a blatant copycat, but considering its decent cast including Taylor Schilling (Dark Matter), Jamie Lee Kirchner (Rescue Me) and Michelle Trachtenberg (Gossip Girl) and Emmy-winning director Adam Bernstein (30 Rock, Rescue Me), it could follow in Grey‘s footsteps and be a midseason replacement with legs.


Canada’s Super Speller

Monday to Friday 8-9 p.m.

Sunday 7-8 p.m. (Sept. 14 to 21)

Spelling bees have experienced a strange surge in popularity lately, both in films and on TV, and CBC is jumping on the bandwagon. Airing for a week before the regular fall schedule, Super Speller pits 12 kids from across Canada against each other in a vocabulary battle of dictionary-sized proportions. The finals will take place at Acadia University’s Spell Dome, and the winner will get a $20,000 RESP and, of course, the coveted title.

The Ron James Show

Fridays 8-8:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia-born comic Ron James is bringing his stand-up act to the network this fall, interspersed with comedy sketches, video segments and animation. James has been a force on the stand-up circuit for over a decade. Fans of other Canadian comedy fare like This Hour has 22 Minutes and The Rick Mercer Report (which follows Ron James) will likely take a shine to the show. It may hold its own against dramas Law & Order, The Guard and Ghost Whisperer.

Battle of the Blades

Sundays 8-9 p.m.

Mondays 8:30-9 p.m. (results show)

Hosted by Ron MacLean and Kurt Browning, Battle of the Blades teams up eight hockey players with figure skaters who will compete for $100,000 towards their favourite charity in a pairs figure skating showdown. Seeing Tie Domi doing double axles and wearing frilly outfits (we hope) may not appeal to hockey fans who would rather watch the retired star, well, play hockey and fight, but it may make him a household name with an entirely different kind of fan. The show will likely have trouble pulling audiences away from The Amazing Race on Sundays and the later half of Dancing with the Stars on Mondays.

18 to Life


What happens when a couple gets married at the tender age of 18? CBC is hoping that hilarity ensues. In this single-camera comedy, Degrassi: The Next Generation alum Stacey Farber stars as a young woman who weds her teenage sweetheart (Michael Seater, Life with Derek), much to the dismay of both sets of parents and even their peers. The show may ride strong on Degrassi popularity, finding an audience with both teens and adults.

The Republic of Doyle


Set in St. John’s, Nfld., this dramedy follows a father-son team of private investigators who solve mysteries and navigate their dysfunctional relationship. CBC brought in a famous foreigner, Irish actor Sean McGinley (Bleak House, Braveheart), to satisfy international distributors. Crime fighting, coastal scenery – what more do they need? EW

Jump to:


The Fall TV fixer-upper

Canadian upfronts

New York upfronts

Cross-country checkup

Specialty hot list

The grid