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[05/27/05 - 12:00 AM]
2005 Summer Programming Preview: Comedy Series
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- With nearly 70 new series launching this summer (and another 40 or so returning), the months of June, July and August are no longer the programming wastelands they used to be. What follows then is a complete breakdown of what to expect in the coming months, with separate sections for comedy series, drama series, reality competition series, unscripted series and original movies.

COMEDY SERIES
(listed by premiere date)

ALREADY PREMIERED

THE BAD GIRL'S GUIDE
(Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on UPN; season finale airs July 5)

How UPN describes it: "In UPN�s new comedy THE BAD GIRL�S GUIDE, inspired by the national best-selling book series The Bad Girl�s Guide by Cameron Tuttle, a �bad girl� is defined as a woman who is sassy, provocative, questions authority and knows what she wants from life and how to get it with style, confidence and humor. These are the exact words and attitude that JJ, Holly and Sarah, three sexy, self-assured, singles living in Chicago, embody as modern bad girls. Although these young women are at different stages in their lives, they pursue their dreams according to their own rules and make no excuses for them. The series stars Jenny McCarthy ("Scary Movie 3") as JJ, Marcelle Larice as Holly, Christina Moore ("Hyperion Bay") as Sarah, Stephanie Childers as Irene and Johnathan McClain as Patric."

COMPLETE SAVAGES
(Fridays at 8:30/7:30c on ABC; series finale airs June 17)

How ABC describes it: "From Emmy-winning writers/executive producers Julie Thacker-Scully (�The Simpsons�), Mike Scully (�The Simpsons,� �Everybody Loves Raymond�) and Academy Award-winning director and producer Mel Gibson, �Complete Savages� chronicles the amusing and chaotic trials and tribulations of a father single-handedly raising five teenage boys. Think Clint Eastwood raising the Baldwin Brothers. �Complete Savages� is the rare family sitcom that doesn�t have a wife to point out every week what dopes men are. These guys can do it on their own."

FATHERHOOD
(Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on Nick at Nite; new season premiered May 17)

How Nick at Nite describes it: "Fatherhood delivers a comedic, yet insightful journey in each half hour episode focusing on the challenges, life lessons and comical confusions of family life. Underwood stars as the voice of �Dr. Bindlebeep,� a high school teacher, loving husband and father of three. Sabrina LeBeauf (The Cosby Show) stars as his wife, Norma."

THE LANCE KRALL SHOW
(Mondays at 11:05/10:05c on Spike TV; season finale airs June 6)

How Spike TV describes it: "What happens when Spike TV gets a bunch of talented comedians, who also happen to be good friends together, gives them a camera and free license to create whatever they want for a new television series? You get the original non-scripted sketch comedy series "The Lance Krall Show." Lance Krall is not only the star of this new series that bears his name, but he is also the series creator, writer, director and executive producer."

PREMIERING IN JUNE

ENTOURAGE
(Sundays at 9:00/8:00c on HBO; new season premieres June 5)

How HBO describes it: "Vince Chase is a sexy young actor whose career is on the rise. To share the fun of the ride and keep him grounded, Vince looks to Eric, Drama and Turtle, his childhood buddies from Queens. Together, they'll navigate the highs and lows of Hollywood's fast lane, where the stakes are higher, and the money and temptations greater, than ever before."

FAMILY GUY
(Sundays at 9:00/8:00c on FOX; new episodes begin June 5)

How FOX describes it: "FOX Sunday can be summed up in two words: Animation Domination. The lineup of hits continues through the summer, starting with encores of KING OF THE HILL (7:00-7:30 PM ET/PT); MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (7:30-8:00 PM ET/PT), the most animated comedy on television; and THE SIMPSONS (8:00-8:30 and 8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT through June 26), the longest-running sitcom currently on television and the longest-running animated series in television history; followed by all-new episodes of Seth MacFarlane's subversive animated comedies, FAMILY GUY (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) and the new AMERICAN DAD (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT)."

AMERICAN DAD
(Sundays at 9:30/8:30c on FOX; new episodes begin June 5)

How FOX describes it: "FOX Sunday can be summed up in two words: Animation Domination. The lineup of hits continues through the summer, starting with encores of KING OF THE HILL (7:00-7:30 PM ET/PT); MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (7:30-8:00 PM ET/PT), the most animated comedy on television; and THE SIMPSONS (8:00-8:30 and 8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT through June 26), the longest-running sitcom currently on television and the longest-running animated series in television history; followed by all-new episodes of Seth MacFarlane's subversive animated comedies, FAMILY GUY (9:00-9:30 PM ET/PT) and the new AMERICAN DAD (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT)."

THE COMEBACK
(Sundays at 9:30/8:30c on HBO; premieres June 5)

How HBO describes it: "Lisa Kudrow stars as Valerie Cherish, a former "B-list" sitcom star so desperate for the spotlight that she agrees to star in a reality television show called "The Comeback," with cameras following her every move as she lands a part on a new network sitcom. Totally scripted, THE COMEBACK explores the madness of television, a Beverly Hills lifestyle, and the bravery of a comic-tragic 40-year-old woman who is slowly sinking."

P. DIDDY PRESENTS: THE BAD BOYS OF COMEDY
(Fridays at 11:00/10:00c on HBO; premieres June 10)

How HBO describes it: "They're the newest, baddest talents on the stand-up comedy block with host Doug E. Fresh - Friday, June 10 at 11 pm."

RENO 911
(Tuesdays at 10:00/9:00c on Comedy Central; new season premieres June 14)

How Comedy Central describes it: "The brave men and women of the Washoe County Sheriff's Department give you the 411 on the thin khaki line that keeps Reno, Nevada on the straight and narrow. Led by Lt. Jim Dangle, the officers of Reno 911! will teach you all about law enforcement and the nitty-gritty lives of a group of cops who won't hesitate to beat you with your own shoe."

STELLA
(Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central; premieres June 28)

How Comedy Central describes it: "Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain (from cult hits "The State" and "Wet Hot American Summer") write and star in "Stella," a live-action adaptation of their popular stage show. Every episode features a new set of absurdist obstacles for our perpetually suit-clad trio as these modern-day Marx brothers embark on various misadventures, from the everyday (gaining co-op approval via a "Flashdance"-inspired dance routine) to the outrageous (performing open-heart surgery on their ex-Nazi landlord). Black, Showalter and Wain also serve as executive producers."

PREMIERING IN JULY

THE MIND OF MENCIA
(Wednesdays at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central; premieres July 6)

How Comedy Central describes it: "Shot in studio and on location, Carlos Mencia's new series will be based on his unique point of view on the world as he comments on current events, does man-in-the-street films, commercial parodies and interacts with the audience. Described as an "observational comedian," Mencia's ability to connect with a diverse audience by pointing out society's hypocrisy has made him one of the most successful touring comedians in the country. Mencia's critically-lauded debut album, "Take A Joke America," was released in 2000, while his latest CD, "America Rules," was recorded live and features an hour of material that deals with the events of September 11."

TRIPPING THE RIFT
(Wednesdays at 10:00/9:00c on Sci Fi; new season premieres July 27)

How Sci Fi describes it: "The scandalously hilarious animated series 'Tripping the Rift' (10-10:30pm) makes its second season debut with the addition of Carmen Electra in the role of the sexy, brilliant love slave "Six." Reprising their roles in the second season are Stephen Root ('News Radio,' 'King of the Hill'), Maurice LaMarche (voice of "Brain" from 'Pinky & The Brain'), Gayle Garfinkle, Rick Jones and 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno's' John Melendez."

NICK CANNON PRESENTS: WILD 'N OUT
(Thursdays at 10:00/9:00c on MTV; premieres July 28)

How MTV describes it: "Nick Cannon and MTV are about to bring the street to the stage with Wild 'N Out--a half-hour of unpredictable snaps and outrageous situations. Every episode, it's Nick vs. a new A-list celebrity, as each leads their own team of improv comedians in an attempt to come out on top in a variety of ridiculous comic throwdowns. Traditional improv games get a hip-hop twist as Nick and our troupe of regulars rip through the headlines--and each others' reputations. It all culminates in a freestyle comedy battle to decide who wins fame and who goes home in shame. Don't miss the illest improv show on television: Nick Cannon Presents Wild 'N Out."

WEEKENDS AT THE D.L.
(Fridays-Sundays at 11:00/10:00c on Comedy Central; premieres July 29)

How Comedy Central describes it: "Take a trip into the world of D.L. Hughley on any given night of the weekend and here's what you're likely to find: cool and interesting guests, funny and entertaining conversation, and a hip vibe. This is exactly what Hughley hopes to bring viewers every night in his new, late night talk show. Shot in front of a studio audience, "Weekends at the D.L." will air Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT) and premiere on July 29."

PREMIERING IN AUGUST

STARVED
(Thursdays at 10:00/9:00c on FX; premieres August 4)

How FX describes it: "Follows the misadventures of four 30-something friends - a bulimic cop, an obese writer, a commodities broker and an anorexic bisexual songwriter - as seen through the country's obsession with food and the loneliness of single life. Eric Schaeffer (My Life is in Turnaround) wrote, directed and co-starred in the pilot, and serves as executive producer with Basic Elements' Dan Pasternack."

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
(Thursdays at 10:30/9:30c on FX; premieres August 4)

How FX describes it: "Rob McElhenney created, directed and co-stars in the pilot that follows a diverse group of friends who own a bar in Philadelphia. Nick Frenkel, Michael Rotenberg, Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day and McElhenney are exec producing."

WEEDS
(Mondays at 10:00/9:00c on Showtime; premieres Sunday, August 7 at 11:00/10:00c)

How Showtime describes it: "WEEDS, a single-camera comedy starring Mary-Louise Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Kevin Nealon and Justin Kirk exposes the dirty little secrets that lie behind the pristine lawns and shiny closed doors of homes in the fictional town of Agrestic, California. Parker stars as a suburban mom who resorts to selling weed to support her family after her husband unexpectedly dies. Perkins stars as the uptight head of the PTA and Nealon plays a city councilman and one of Parker's regular customers. Parker's character finds unusual support and solace from an African American family as she begins to pursue her burgeoning business."

TOO LATE WITH ADAM CAROLLA
(Mondays-Thursdays at 11:30/10:30c on Comedy Central; premieres August 8)

How Comedy Central describes it: "Continuing the network's foray into late night, Carolla will provide his unique comedic take on the events of the day, with a focus on pop culture. The format will include opening comments, an interview with a single celebrity guest, live phone calls from viewers and pre-taped interviews with Carolla and real people on the street."

BARBERSHOP
(Sundays at 10:00/9:00c on Showtime; premieres August 14)

How Showtime describes it: "The series begins where the MGM movie franchise left off, with most of the same endearing characters and a few new memorable ones added to the shop, set in a gradually gentrifying Chicago neighborhood. The cast of characters is headed by Calvin (Omar Gooding), the soul of this close-knit community who runs the barbershop he inherited from his father which serves as the local hangout. There, with every snip of the scissors, hilarious conversations and heated discussions about the trials and tribulations of everyday life on Chicago's South Side take place. But unlike the original films, the series goes further as it delves humorously into issues of all kinds relating to these characters -- no subject is off-limits in the shop. The lively banter and funny wisecracks don't stop in the shop either. The series will further explore the personal lives of this multi-ethnic group of haircutters."

HIDDEN HOWIE: THE PRIVATE LIFE OF A PUBLIC NUISANCE
(Mondays at 11:00/10:00c on Bravo; premieres Thursday, August 18 at 11:00/10:00c)

How Bravo describes it: "Bravo is pioneering a new genre, as "Hidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance" is the first series juxtaposing "hidden-camera" reality with scripted comedy. It has been described as "Candid Camera" meets "Curb Your Enthusiasm." The six episodes of this unique hybrid half-hour are based on the actual life of comedian Howie Mandel. "Hidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance" takes a look inside the comic mind as we see Howie in his "daily life" and how his interactions inspire and inform the process of creating his hidden camera segments for "The Tonight Show." "Hidden Howie: The Private Life of a Public Nuisance" has a terrific cast of characters including Julie Warner as Howie's wife, Estelle Harris as Nana and special guest stars Jay Leno, Marlee Matlin, Jillian Barberie, John Mendoza and many more."

REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER
(Fridays at 11:00/10:00c on HBO; new season resumes August 19)

How HBO describes it: "Bill Maher is one of the most politically astute humorists in America today. His unflinching honesty and commitment to never pulling a punch have garnered him the respect and admiration of millions of fans. In 2003, Maher launched a new show, "Real Time with Bill Maher," on HBO, a network that's a perfect fit for his irreverent style. The hour-long show airs live at 11:00PM on Friday nights."

HOPELESS PICTURES
(Fridays at 10:00/9:00c on IFC; premieres August 19)

How IFC describes it: "HOPELESs PICTURES is an animated half-hour series about a failing Hollywood indie studio. Studio head Mel Wax (Michael McKean) struggles to reign in out-of-control pill-popping Swedish directors and assorted egomaniacal stars and starlets, while coping with a vengeful soon-to-be ex-wife, his idiot nephew/head of production, and a hostile takeover, with the help of his inept psychiatrist (Jonathan Katz)."

GREG THE BUNNY
(Fridays at 10:20/9:20c on IFC; new season premieres August 19; "Fur on the Asphalt: The Greg the Bunny Reunion Special" airs Friday, June 10 at 10:30/9:30c)

How IFC describes it: "For Greg the Bunny and Warren the Ape, the cancellation of their Fox sitcom is now just a painful memory. More current concerns are overdue rent and funding Warren's drinking habit. So they've returned to where it all began: making film parodies for IFC."

THE FESTIVAL
(Fridays at 10:30/9:30c on IFC; premieres August 19)

How IFC describes it: "A verit�-satire, The Festival is an ensemble comedy, told from the perspective of fictional IFC documentarian, Cookie. Cookie's subject is Rufus Marquez, a quixotic young director embarking on his virgin voyage to the prestigious Mountain United Film Festival (MUFF) with the goal of landing a distribution deal for his film, The Unreasonable Truth of Butterflies. The problem is, no one has seen his film - and the more no one sees it, the hotter the buzz becomes. As her bosses close in, Cookie loses her objectivity and Rufus loses his film - literally - as his masterpiece goes missing."

Additional premieres may be announced at a later date. And let us know if we forgot anything!

Revision History: (May 31) IFC sets "The Festival," "Greg the Bunny" and "Hopeless Pictures's" premieres as August 19 and MTV sets "Wild 'N Out's" premiere as July 13. (June 1) Comedy Central moves "Mind of Mencia's" premiere from July 7 to July 6 and sets Adam Carolla Late Night Series (title TBD)'s premiere as August 15. (June 13) MTV moves "Wild 'N Out's" premiere from July 13 to July 21. (June 20) Showtime moves "Weeds's" premiere from August 10 to August 7 and "Barbershop's" premiere from August 10 to August 14. (June 22) FX sets "Starved" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's" premieres as August 4. (July 6) Comedy Central moves (the now titled) "Too Late With Adam Carolla's" premiere from August 15 to August 8 and MTV moves "Wild 'N Out's" premiere from July 21 to July 28. (July 28) Bravo shifts "Hidden Howie's" regular time slot to Mondays at 11:00/10:00c.





  [may 2005]  
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· AMERICAN DAD (TBS)
· BAD GIRL'S GUIDE, THE (UPN)
· BARBERSHOP (SHOWTIME)
· CANDID CAMERA (PAX)
· COMEBACK, THE (HBO)
· COMPLETE SAVAGES (ABC)
· CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (HBO)
· ENTOURAGE (HBO)
· EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND (CBS)
· FAMILY GUY (FOX)
· FATHERHOOD (NICKELODEON)
· HIDDEN HOWIE: THE PRIVATE LIFE OF A PUBLIC NUISANCE (BRAVO)
· IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA (FXX)
· KING OF THE HILL (FOX)
· LANCE KRALL SHOW, THE (SPIKE TV)
· MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE (FOX)
· MIND OF MENCIA (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· P. DIDDY PRESENTS THE BAD BOYS OF COMEDY (HBO)
· REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER (HBO)
· RENO 911 (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· SIMPSONS, THE (FOX)
· STARVED (FX)
· STELLA (COMEDY CENTRAL)
· TRIPPING THE RIFT (SYFY)
· WEEDS (SHOWTIME)
· WEEKENDS AT THE DL (COMEDY CENTRAL)











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