A Look at the Fall TV Lineup

Jerry Bruckheimer, who created CSI, offers Cold Case, a drama for Sunday night's. It's action and intrigue. It's also been done, but it's Jerry Bruckheimer.

My favorite of the CBS lineup has to be Joan of Arcadia, about a girl who converses with God. Her parents are played by Joe Mantegna and Mary Steenburgen. I wonder if she talks to the Big Man Upstairs about her parents or about the pressure of trying to fill the time slot vacated by Touched by an Angel?

Coming Soon on Fox

Snagging another idea from the Brits, Fox presents The Ortegas. Based on The Kumars at No. 42, the award-winning comedy from England, the Americanized version features a Hispanic family (the Kumars were Asian). Also, this show was developed for U.S. TV by NBC, but they passed and Fox took the banana … or should we say plantain.

Here's another formula for prime time: Take seven siblings, let them turn 16 and see what happens. Septuplets is based on the Wilde children, four boys and three girls who live in a Southern California hotel run by their folks. The interesting thing will be to see how they found seven kids who look enough alike to convince people they're related.

My love from the Fox lot is 30 Seconds of Fame. It's "Star Search Meets the Egg Timer," as contestants must show off their skills in a half-minute before a group of judges and a studio audience. The winner picks up $25 grand. Not bad for less than a-thousandth of a day's work! Coming Soon on NBC

This network seems to have juice with several big-name celebs taking the helm of their own shows, including Rob Lowe, Alicia Silverstone, Whoopi Goldberg and John Larroquette.

Silverstone co-stars with Ryan O'Neal in Miss Match, a Friday night comedy. She plays a legal eagle by day and busybody by night, trying to hook up her friends and family. For the unfortunate few who are washing their hair on Friday nights, this might be a godsend.

Although the Peacock Network is losing Friends after next season, this fall they're gaining Coupling, a show they snagged from the BBC. It's like Friends, but they're in their 30s, and it'll have biting English humor. Hard to say if this will be a winner since we know Sweet'N Low can never take the place of sugar.

There's another big name to add to the mix — Donald Trump. In The Apprentice, a reality show, 16 people vie for the job of Trump's personal assistant. As there are sure to be women in the mix, I'm guessing looks count. Notes on UPN and WB

Worth mentioning on UPN: Might Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith be TV's next Rob and Laura Petrie? They're the force behind All of Us., but they're executive producers, not stars. What you do get is a guy, his ex-wife, his soon-to-be wife and his little boy. That sounds a bit like what you got when Will and Jada first came together. So what's the hook? Frankly, I don't get it.

Worth mentioning on the WB: Put a guy in a loincloth in downtown Manhattan and whaddya have? Just another Saturday night in Greenwich Village? Actually, you have Tarzan and Jane. This time, the ape-man ends up fighting crime in NYC. Every Tarzan has his Jane, and this one is a cop who's torn between her intended and the new swinging single in town.

So, there you have it, a sampling of the television buffet that awaits you. Break out your nut crackers and dig in. Just remember, the shell may look good on the outside, but only one in a million oysters yields a pearl.

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.

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