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.
REALITY COMPETITION SERIES
(listed by premiere date)
(Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c on PAX; season finale airs June 21)
How PAX describes it: "�Cold Turkey II� kicks off with ten smokers who think they have joined the cast of the latest adventure reality show called �Pushing the Limits.� After the participants are dropped in the middle of the Grand Canyon, decoy host Jordan Murphy (NBC�s �For Love or Money�) convinces them that what they are about to experience is the real thing � but the cast soon discovers the host is bogus; the challenges are fake; and the eliminations are phony. Two undercover actors playing non-smokers are embedded among them to keep suspicions at bay as the smokers compete in physical challenges that secretly test their lungs. Three days later, when host Benza arrives, everything changes, and the smokers must decide whether they want to lose their cigarettes and transform their lives forever."
PREMIERING IN MAY
(Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c on VH1; premieres Sunday, May 29 at 9:00/8:00c)
How VH1 describes it: "First up is "Kept" with Jerry Hall. Jerry is no mere "bachelorette" looking for random reality television love. This wealthy, self-confident jet-setting supermodel from Texas is searching for an ideal younger man to be the perfect accessory to her life of luxury. Ms. Hall will play "Pygmalion" as she creates the model of a "kept" man suitable to a woman of her stature. The lucky paramour who ultimately fills the mold and is chosen by Jerry will be a "kept" man for a year. He will enjoy the trappings of Jerry's good life: including a six-figure allowance."
(Thursdays at 10:00/9:00c on VH1; premieres Sunday, May 29 at 10:00/9:00c)
How VH1 describes it: "Then at 10:00 p.m., the "Strip Search" begins. 15 men from all walks of life are throwing off the shackles of the typical workday with the hopes of winning one of seven spots in a male revue dance troupe in Las Vegas. With the help of Billy Cross, creator/producer of the internationally acclaimed male dance troupe "The Thunder from Down Under," along with VH1's Rachel Perry, these men are stripped of their awkwardness and rebuilt into hunky, lovable dance machines."
(Mondays at 9:00/8:00c on FOX; premieres May 30)
How FOX describes it: "Even in summer, Mondays can be hell � especially for the terrified wannabe chefs and restaurateurs trying to impress head chef GORDON RAMSAY in the unscripted series HELL'S KITCHEN, premiering Monday, May 30 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. The volatile Ramsay, who's the biggest celebrity chef in England, has crossed the Pond to open Los Angeles' newest restaurant and discover � or create � this country's next culinary star. Each week, Ramsay will slice and dice the contestants, keeping only those who possess the right ingredients to ensure success. If they can't stand the heat, they'll have to get out of HELL'S KITCHEN."
PREMIERING IN JUNE
BEAUTY AND THE GEEK
(Wednesdays at 8:00/7:00c on The WB; premieres June 1)
How the WB describes it: "It all starts with seven women who are academically impaired. Next, add seven men who are brilliant but socially challenged. The concept is to pair up couples for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize. Each mismatched pair competes in various activities designed to test intellect, fashion savvy and even dance moves. There's a spelling bee for the girls, massage lessons for the guys, and an introduction to actual rocket science when the girls compete to see who can build a working rocket. During these competitions, the geek must try to pass his brains onto the beauty, while the beauty tries to pull the game out of the geek. They're so far apart on the social spectrum that they're practically different species, but if they make it to the end, they could both walk away gifted and gorgeous."
DANCING WITH THE STARS
(Wednesdays at 9:00/8:00c on ABC; premieres June 1)
How ABC describes it: "An international sensation under the title �Strictly Come Dancing,� this six-part, primetime series at last makes its American debut! This totally original show will feature six celebrities paired with leading professional dancers to train and then compete in a live television knockout ballroom dancing competition. Each week, America votes for the dancer they best feel has learned to master and execute these difficult dances in front of a live studio audience."
HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME
(Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c on NBC; premieres June 2)
How NBC describes it: "NBC has added a new alternative series to its summer 2005 lineup with "Hit Me Baby One More Time," a one-hour competition program featuring veteran music hit-makers who will each perform their greatest hit -- as well as cover a popular contemporary song -- with the favorite to be determined by audience voting, beginning Thursday, June 2 (9-10 p.m. ET). All three episodes of the series will be hosted by Vernon Kay, who also hosted the British version on ITV."
FIGHT FOR FAME
(Sundays at 10:00/9:00c on E!; premieres June 5)
How E! describes it: "This is real. For five young actors, the June 5 premiere of Fight for Fame is a shot at the Hollywood big time, their chance to finally land an agent! But in each episode, only one walks away with a contract. In the premiere, watch as the first five fame-grabbers are thrown into relentless acting challenges, and see how our show-biz experts spot true Hollywood talent. Who gets a shot, and who has to go back to working the lunch shift? Tune in, and find out."
(Mondays at 8:00/7:00c on ABC; premieres June 6)
How ABC describes it: "The opportunity of a lifetime is about to come true for one of America�s best and brightest high school students in a groundbreaking unscripted series that will send the winner to a top-rated university, all expenses paid. Filmed on location at the University of Southern California, �The Scholar� will be the first show ever to celebrate higher education as the ultimate American prize. For the chance of a full-ride to the college of their choice, ten qualified high school seniors -- who might not otherwise have an opportunity to pursue a college education -- will compete for a full scholarship and all college related expenses, a prize valued at $250,000. They will have to demonstrate excellence in the areas of academics, leadership, creativity and community service, while facing sudden-death oral exams and defending themselves to an Ivy League scholarship committee."
FIRE ME, PLEASE
(Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c on CBS; premieres June 7)
How CBS describes it: "FIRE ME� PLEASE, a new four-episode reality series that follows two people starting new jobs on the same day with the goal of intentionally getting fired by 3:00 PM, premieres on Tuesday, June 7 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. To most people, getting fired seems like it would be the end of the world, but, what if getting fired meant you could win $25,000? The person that gets fired closest to, but does not go past the 3:00 PM deadline, wins the cash prize. Hidden cameras capture the action as the participants drive their managers and co-workers crazy with outrageous behavior."
THE REAL GILLIGAN'S ISLAND
(Wednesdays at 9:00/8:00c on TBS; new season premieres June 8)
How TBS describes it: "THE REAL GILLIGAN�S ISLAND, which was cast from a nationwide search, features two real-life skippers, two first mates, two millionaire couples, two movie stars, two farm girls and two professors. The castaways must work together, as the original castaways did in the 1960s sitcom, to get off the island. In each episode, the two teams must face off against each other in themed competitions, some based on situations from the original series."
(Thursdays at 8:00/7:00c on CBS; premieres June 9)
How CBS describes it: "THE CUT, hosted by fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger, premieres Thursday, June 9 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) with a special 90-minute episode, the first of four Thursday broadcasts before it relocates to a new time period, which will be announced at a later date. THE CUT pits 16 style-savvy contestants against each other in a competition to find America's fashion trendsetter of tomorrow. The winner will be awarded the opportunity to design his or her own collection under the Tommy Hilfiger label with an eye on becoming the next great American designer."
I WANT TO BE A HILTON
(Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c on NBC; premieres June 21)
How NBC describes it: ""I Want to Be a Hilton" is a fresh, humorous -- and sometimes poignant ode to the glamour and style of New York as reflected by its host and mentor Kathy Hilton, matriarch of one of the most ubiquitous families in the world. The unscripted series charts the foibles and flirtations encountered by 14 eccentric young contestants as they vie for the opportunity to live the glamorous caviar-and-champagne lifestyle. Immersing them in the New York society scene, Hilton educates the contestants in the do's-and-don'ts of haute couture, etiquette and even how to handle an unforgiving press. At the conclusion of each episode, Hilton eliminates the candidates based on the results of weekly challenges. The finalist wins an extravagant prize package and the opportunity to live the high life, a la a Hilton, for a year."
(Tuesdays at 8:00/7:00c on NBC; new season premieres June 28)
How NBC describes it: "The newest and boldest installment of NBC's popular relationship series about average-looking guys with big hearts and great personalities hoping to win the love of a beautiful woman returns with more twists, turns and conflicts than ever before. This time, stunning 26-year-old red-headed beauty Anna is the alluring bachelorette. Born in Poland and raised in Las Vegas, Anna has a degree in business administration and is now a model and entrepreneur. Once again, the unsuspecting model thought she was on a traditional dating show only to be surprised by a swarm of average Joes, including a tool salesman, a pest control guy and a computer-science student pursuing his Ph.D."
PREMIERING IN JULY
THE '70S HOUSE
(Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30c on MTV; premieres July 5)
How MTV describes it: "We take 12 modern kids and force them to live as though it were the 1970s. No cell phones, no iPods, no Britney! Only rotary phones, 8 tracks and Farrah. Will they be able to survive the groovy life? Find out in The 70s House."
(Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c, Thursdays at 8:00/7:00c and Saturdays at 8:00/7:00c on CBS; new season premieres Thursday, July 7 at 8:00/7:00c)
How CBS describes it: "BIG BROTHER, the hit summer reality series, returns for its sixth edition beginning Thursday, July 7 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), with the first of BIG BROTHER's three weekly broadcasts. BIG BROTHER 6 will be broadcast on Tuesdays (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT), Thursdays (8:00-9:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) and Saturdays (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT). The Thursday broadcast, hosted by Julie Chen, will feature the live eviction of one of the houseguests. BIG BROTHER 6 follows a group of strangers living together in a house outfitted with dozens of cameras and microphones recording their every move 24 hours a day. One by one, the houseguests will vote each other out of the house. At the end of three months, the last remaining houseguest will receive the grand prize of $500,000."
CELEBRITY FIT CLUB
(Sundays at 10:00/9:00c on VH1; new season premieres July 10 at 10:30/9:30c)
How VH1 describes it: "Eight brave celebrities will step forward and acknowledge that they've been losing the battle of the bulge in the second season of this weekly hit series. After being divided into two teams, the celebrity contestants will endure the brutal VH1 Fit Camp led by the take-no-prisoners Marine Drill Sergeant, Harvey Walden IV. Team challenges range from Tae Bo with Billy Blanks to swim relays and a grueling weekly fitness assessment. At the end of each week, they will face the loneliest walk on television as they step on the scales to get weighed individually and then as a team on the biggest weighing scales in the world."
ROCK STAR: INXS
(Mondays at 9:30/8:30c, Tuesdays at 10:00/9:00c and Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c on CBS; premieres Monday, July 11 at 9:00/8:00c)
How CBS describes it: "ROCK STAR: INXS, from "Survivor" executive producer Mark Burnett, combines the world of rock music with relationship-style unscripted drama, performance competition and a weekly contestant elimination. The last singer standing will become the lead singer of the internationally renowned band INXS and embark on a worldwide concert tour with the band and be part of the group's new album. ROCK STAR: INXS will be broadcast three times weekly beginning with a special one-hour premiere on Monday, July 11 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT), followed by a one-hour broadcast on Tuesday, July 12 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) and a half-hour edition on Wednesday, July 13 (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT). Beginning the following week, ROCK STAR: INXS will be seen regularly on Mondays (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT), Tuesdays (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) and Wednesdays (9:30-10:00 PM, ET/PT)."
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE
(Wednesdays at 8:00/7:00c on FOX; premieres July 20)
How FOX describes it: "On Wednesdays, FOX teams up this summer with the creators of AMERICAN IDOL and the producers of the "American Music Awards" and "American Bandstand" on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, the ultimate search for the nation's best dancer. Beginning with the two-hour series premiere on Wednesday, July 20 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), the best undiscovered dancing talent the U.S. has to offer will be pitted against each other in a grueling 12-week competition to become America's No. 1 dancer. If you think the AMERICAN IDOL competition is tough, you haven't seen anything yet! Some contestants will collapse under the pressure, others will reveal their two left feet and one will dance his or her way into America's heart. Sure to spark a dance fever the way AMERICAN IDOL has created a competitive singing phenomenon, SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE premieres in its regular time period Wednesday, July 27 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT)."
(Fridays at 10:00/9:00c on Spike TV; premieres July 22)
How Spike TV describes it: "USC All American defensive lineman Shaun Cody is asking for an NFL team to 'show him the money.' Fortunately, he has NFL All-Pro Tony Gonzalez and Spike TV to help. Cody, a future millionaire and blue-chip NFL draft pick will decide between nine prominent sports agents angling to represent him in Super Agent, a new, original eight-episode series on Spike TV premiering Friday, July 22 (10:00 - 11:00pm ET/PT). Gonzalez, the Kansas City Chiefs' future Hall of Fame tight end, will serve as host and provide council to Cody as he puts the nine agents through a litany of challenges and tasks to ultimately represent him."
(Tuesdays at 9:00/8:00c on Bravo; premieres July 26 at 8:00/7:00c)
How Bravo describes it: "From Sean Hayes ("Will & Grace") and producing partner Todd Milliner comes "Situation: Comedy." For writers, producers, and television executives, it's a nerve-racking time where ideas are passionately pitched, made, and the next big hits must be found. Yet outside the industry, the painstaking process that goes into making a "Friends" is relatively unknown - until now. "Situation: Comedy," a ten episode series, will bring viewers into the world of television production as the search for the hottest undiscovered writing talent begins. To compete, each candidate must submit a script for a pilot/presentation reel. The pool will be narrowed to five semi-finalists who will be flown to Los Angeles to pitch their ideas to established sitcom producers. From there, two will be chosen to each create pilots based on the script, and both will be followed through casting, set design, rewrites, rehearsals, taping and post-production. As an added bonus, the completed pilots will be screened during the final episode and the viewers will make the executive decision on which, if either, merits attention from a network for a series order or "re-piloting.""
R U THE GIRL WITH T-BOZ & CHILLI
(Wednesdays at 8:00/7:00c on UPN; premieres in July 27)
How UPN describes it: "The series will follow T-Boz and Chilli, the two remaining members of TLC, one of the biggest-selling female groups of all time, as they embark on an exciting journey to discover one lucky and talented female performer who will join them in an upcoming concert and record with them in the studio. For eight weeks, UPN will be there as T-Boz and Chilli put the aspiring performers through a rigorous series of challenges where they will be testing, judging and eliminating the potential artists to find the one who might just be the perfect fit, in UPN's new dramality series R U THE GIRL WITH T-BOZ & CHILLI."
THE LAW FIRM
(Thursdays at 9:00/8:00c on NBC; premieres July 28)
How NBC describes it: ""The Law Firm" is an eight-episode alternative drama series from multiple Emmy Award-winning producer David E. Kelley that features real lawyers competing against each other while trying actual court cases with in front of real judges and juries -- resulting in outcomes that are final, legal and binding for the parties. Premier trial attorney and legal analyst Roy Black is the managing partner of "The Law Firm," which is executive-produced by Kelley ("The Practice," "Ally McBeal," "L.A. Law"), David Garfinkle ("Surreal Life," "Blind Date"), Jay Renfroe ("Surreal Life," "Blind Date"), Jonathan Pontell ("Ally McBeal," "Boston Public") and Robert Breech ("The Practice," "L.A. Law")."
PREMIERING IN AUGUST
(Sundays at 10:00/9:00c on WE: Women's Entertainment; premieres August 7)
How WE: Women's Entertainment describes it: "In this cross between "America's Top Model" and "The Princess Diaries," a group of regular American Janes are sent to England for "Blue Blood Boot Camp" as they compete for an actual royal British title. With the help of celebrity judges such as Princess Diana's butler, Paul Burrell, real-life princess (and actress) Catherine Oxenberg, billionaire impresario, Richard Branson, den mother Jean Brooke-Smith and a cast of royal experts and watchers, these women compete to become the first American princess."
BATTLE OF THE NETWORK REALITY STARS
(Wednesdays at 9:00/8:00c on Bravo; premieres August 17)
How Bravo describes it: "See stars like Omarosa and Richard Hatch in the dunk tank, try to navigate a kayak race and run a relay race! And watch as the final two network teams battle it out in the famed "tug of war"! In a homage to the great 70's battle of the biggest stars in network television, Bravo takes some of today's biggest stars - the leading men and women of reality TV - and pits them against each other in a 6-episode tournament taking place at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Simply put, we are updating the format of the much-loved 70's series complete with sweat suit and Speedo-clad reality stars that will be divided into teams based on the networks on which their shows aired. The winning team will get cash and prizes."
CELEBRITY POKER SHOWDOWN
(Thursdays at 8:00/7:00c on Bravo; new season premieres August 18)
How Bravo describes it: "Filmed before a live audience at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, each episode of "Celebrity Poker Showdown" will feature five celebrities competing against each other for a piece of the Quarter Million Dollar Prize Pool in a game of No Limit Texas Hold'em poker for the charity of their choice. Each week a new crop of stars will take to the table to challenge their peers. The winner from each week's game will go on to compete in the championship final sixth episode. Viewers will have the inside track on the hands the different players are holding via hidden cameras. They will also be able to hear from the eliminated players, who will watch the remainder of their respective matches from the 'Loser's Lounge,' via closed circuit television. This season's players include Rosie O'Donnell, Penny Marshall, Sharon Lawrence, Michael Vartan and Alex Trebek."
THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER
(Mondays at 11:05/10:05c on Spike TV; new season premieres August 22)
How Spike TV describes it: "Production for Season 2 will begin in early June and consist of eight heavyweights and eight welterweights. Celebrity coaches and a host are to be announced. The show will once again be taped in Las Vegas where the company maintains its UFC(R) Training Center."
PREMIERING IN SEPTEMBER
THE BIGGEST LOSER
(Tuesdays at 8:00/7:00c on NBC; new season premieres September 13)
How NBC describes it: "The first reality series in which everybody "loses," "The Biggest Loser" offers severely overweight participants the opportunity to undergo a radical physical makeover without any kind of surgery. Caroline Rhea ("Sabrina, the Teenage Witch") returns to host the second season of the series that challenges and encourages overweight contestants as they compete for a grand prize of $250,000 in a safe and recommended manner through comprehensive diet and exercise. The life-altering and one-hour reality series gathers contestants from across the country to face real life temptations while provided with approved weight-loss skills and resources to help them transform their bodies, health -- and ultimately, their lives."
Additional premieres may be announced at a later date. And let us know if we forgot anything!
Revision History: (June 1) Bravo moves "Situation: Comedy's" premiere from August 2 to July 26. (June 7) MTV sets "The '70s House's" premiere as July 5 and UPN sets "R U The Girl With T-Boz & Chilli's" premiere as July 27. (June 8) NBC moves "Average Joe's" premiere from June 21 to June 28. (June 20) WE: Women's Entertainment sets "American Princess's" premiere as August 14. (June 30) ABC shelves "Welcome to the Neighborhood" from its summer schedule. (June 21) Bravo moves "Battle of the Network Reality Stars's" premiere to August 17. (July 11) WE: Women's Entertainment moves "American Princess's" premiere from August 14 to August 7. (August 9) Bravo moves "Celebrity Poker Showdown's" time slot from 9:00/8:00c to 8:00/7:00c.