[05/15/09 - 10:53 PM]
ABC Renews "True Beauty," Adds Four Newcomers
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- ABC lit a few more fires on Friday as the network has renewed its midseason reality series "True Beauty" and ordered four more pilots to series.

"Beauty," from executive producers Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher, features "six stunning females and four handsome males who will live together in a spectacular Los Angeles mansion as they undergo a series of challenges to determine who is truly the most beautiful." The twist: they're actually being judged on their "inner" beauty. Vanessa Minnillo hosted the hour with Cheryl Tiegs and Nol Marin also serving as judges.

Over on the newcomer front, comedies "Awesome Hank" and "The Middle" and dramas "Eastwick" and "The Forgotten" got the go ahead on Friday evening. Earlier today, four other pilots - "Happy Town," "Cougar Town," "The Associates" and (now officially) "V" - also got the series green light.

The group, along with "Flash Forward," "Modern Family" and import "Copper," brings the Alphabet's freshman total 11 scripted series.

Here's the official descriptions of the latest additions:

AWESOME HANK (Warner Bros. Television): "Sometimes scaling back is the best way to get ahead. Wall Street legend Hank Pryor (Kelsey Grammer) and his wife Tilly (Melinda McGraw) have been living the high life in New York City. That is until Hank is forced out of his CEO job and has to move his family back home to the small town of River Bend. A self-made man, Hank is used to running the show, but now that he's lost almost everything, can he learn how to hang with his family? The Pryors have had to seriously downsize their lives even their king-sized bed won't fit in their modest new home. Tilly's not too pleased to be back in the same zip code as her family especially her badgering brother Grady (David Koechner). Hank's offbeat son Henry (Ryan Wynott) worries about fitting in with a new crowd and his daughter Maddie (Macey Cruthird) would rather talk on her cell phone than be anywhere near her Dad. But every great businessman knows that the key to success is to turn setbacks into opportunities. Hank has big plans to get ahead in business... and to reconnect with his family. It may take a while for an industrial giant to figure out how to mingle with the little people like his family but Hank's up for the challenge. Like that smaller bed... Turns out that wasn't such a bad idea after all. Starring Kelsey Grammer (Frasier), this hilarious family comedy mixes genuine, heart-warming moments with Grammer's trademark blustery humor. The series is written by Everybody Loves Raymond's three-time Emmy Award-winner Tucker Cawley, and co-executive produced by Grammer along with The Life & Times of Tim's Mike Clements and Tom Werner. After many years of living the so-called good life, the Pryor Family is about to discover that downsizing just might be the key to living it up!" James Burrows directed the multi-camera project from a script by Tucker Cawley.

EASTWICK (Warner Bros. Television): "Single-handedly, housewives accomplish astonishing things... and together, watch out. In the seaside village of Eastwick, this might just be evidence of their inner-witch rising to the surface. Until today, Roxanne (Rebecca Romijn), Kat (Jaime Ray Newman) and Joanna (Lindsay Price) didn't get along because of their preconceived notions of each other. Roxanne was the flaky artist, Kat was a doormat wife and mom, and Joanna the uptight local reporter. But after a weird encounter in the park coupled with a few margaritas, these three have suddenly become fast friends. Now, a mysterious stranger's arrival in town will bring them even closer and test them in ways they'd never imagined. Daryl Van Horne (Paul Gross) is an irresistible package of wealth, charisma and bad boy sex appeal. If he's not buying up a local business, he's attempting to seduce one (or all) of these ladies, physically and professionally. What's even more dangerous, he's unleashing their supernatural powers. But by igniting their heart's desires, he might just be opening Pandora's box. This small New England town will be turned upside down by these witches coming into their own. Though bad for a few locals, it's still the best thing to happen in Eastwick in centuries. The X-Files director/producer David Nutter and writer Maggie Friedman (Once and Again) conjure up a devilish blend of Desperate Housewives and Charmed that explores the hidden depths of women. Based on John Updike's celebrated best-seller and the hit movie, Eastwick is brimming with romance, mystery and wicked charm, offering a tempting vision of the ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy." Ashley Benson, Johann Urb, Jon Bernthal, Sara Rue and Veronica Cartwright round out the drama's ensemble cast.

THE FORGOTTEN (Warner Bros. Television): "Gone but not forgotten. That's what they say. But what if a killer took your life and your name? Every city has its share of unidentified murder victims. When standard police procedure fails to give them a name, that's when the Identity Network steps in. A group of dedicated, amateur detectives, the members of the Identity Network attempt to reconstruct the pieces of these John and Jane Doe's lives from what little evidence is left behind. Each episode is narrated by a "body" who watches the team as they pursue the tantalizingly difficult challenge of figuring out who this victim once was. Why would anyone volunteer for such a grim task? As new recruit Tyler Davies (Anthony Carrigan) quickly discovers, each of the members of the team has his or her own reasons for volunteering for the Network. Alex Donovan (Rupert Penry-Jones) is a former cop, whose 11-year-old daughter was kidnapped and has never been found. Linda Manning (Reiko Aylesworth), the woman who runs the network from her home, is a virtual recluse whose husband is a convicted murderer. Walter Bailey (Bob Stephenson) does stake outs when he's not blowing his cover. Candace Butler (Michelle Borth) hates her day job. She also happens to have a special gift for putting people at ease even the prickly Tyler, a talented sculptor with a background in forensics. Follow these committed amateur investigators as they race against time to piece together the stories of these dead people's lives and ultimately, hopefully, their murders. The Forgotten is an evocative and powerful new procedural combining the victims' flashbacks with the team's emotional drive to bring them justice. Together with writer Mark Friedman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Danny Cannon (CSI) deliver the most mesmerizing crime drama of the season." Rochelle Aytes also co-stars.

THE MIDDLE (Warner Bros. Television): "Forget about athletes, movie stars and politicians. Parents are the real heroes but Frankie Heck (Patricia Heaton), well she's some kind of superhero. A loving wife and mother of three, she's middle class in the middle of the country and is rapidly approaching middle age. Frankie and her husband, Mike (Neil Flynn), have lived in Jasper, Indiana their whole lives. A man of few words (every one a zinger), Mike is a manager at the town quarry and Frankie is the third-best used car salesman (out of the three) at the local dealership. She may not be a high-powered career woman, but when it comes to her family, she'll go to just about any length. And with kids like these, she had better. There's Axel (Charlie McDermott), her semi-nudist teenage son conceived with Guns N' Roses playing a significant role; Sue (Eden Sher), the awkward teenage daughter who fails at everything with great gusto; and their seven-year-old son Brick (Atticus Shaffer), whose best friend is his back-pack. From executive producers/writers Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline (How I Met Your Mother, Committed, Murphy Brown) comes a single-camera comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations." Julie Anne Robinson directed the single-camera comedy from a script by DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler.

  [may 2009]  

· V (ABC)

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