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Tuesday schedule

A look at Tuesday night TV.

Published September 10, 2006

We'd like to know more about what you watch. Join the discussion; share your viewing habits with us: It's Your Times
  The small screen never looked so big
In today's increasingly wired world, the threats to network television just keep growing.
Their reality is ours
When it comes to reality TV, fall was once the scarcest time of all.
Daytime: a star, a chef and a shrink
It sounds like the start to a bad joke, but really those are the highlights from this year's syndicated season, such as it is.
When schedules collide: how to keep up
We've all been there.
Cable: more than the big four
Cable TV used to cede the fall season to the networks, but look for some quality programs in the next few weeks.
Debuts of new and returning shows
Programs marked with an (n) are new series.
Network affiliates
Here are the Tampa Bay area affiliate stations for the national networks:
Sunday schedule
A look at Sunday night TV.
Monday schedule
A look at Monday night TV.
Tuesday schedule
A look at Tuesday night TV.
Wednesday schedule
A look at Wednesday night TV.
Thursday schedule
A look at Thursday night TV.
Friday and Saturday schedules
A look at Friday and Saturday night TV.

Gotta try

* Friday Night Lights

8 p.m., NBC, debuts Oct. 3.

Showbiz shorthand: Friday Night Lights the movie on TV.

My take: All the football cliches are here - the egotistical black running back, the stalwart white guy quarterback, the tough-but-humanized coach. But as we slip into the story of a small Texas town's high school team searching for gridiron glory, we don't care that we've seen it all before - and that's the mark of truly transcendent TV storytelling, brought by the same creative team that made the movie such a triumph.

Will it survive? With Monday Night Football on cable, this is surely the next best thing.

* The Knights of Prosperity

9 p.m., ABC, debuts Oct. 17.

Showbiz shorthand: Reservoir Dogs meets Dumb and Dumber.

My take: I know, it sounds like an incredibly stupid premise. But this absurdist comedy about a hapless janitor and his dimwitted buddies trying to rob Mick Jagger is one of the funniest pilot episodes of the year. Mostly because Donal Logue is amazing as a night shift custodian who decides his dream of owning a bar can only happen if he rips off the Rolling Stones' lead singer.

Will it survive? If they had stuck with the original title, Let's Rob Mick Jagger, without a doubt.

* Smith

10 p.m., CBS, debuts Sept. 19.

Showbiz shorthand: Robert De Niro's character from Heat with a wife and kids.

My take: Ray Liotta brings his Goodfellas cool to Bobby Stevens, a mastermind criminal with a suburban wife and kids who assures his spouse (Sideways' Virginia Madsen) he has got a straight job while financing their retirement with a final few giant-sized jobs. Film stars such as Liotta and Madsen lend a bit of class, and a suspenseful, time-shifting storyline keeps things from getting too predictable. Pure catnip for fans of super-slick heist dramas.

Will it survive? It's got two problems: sustaining interest in a cops-pursue-master criminal premise week after week, and NBC's popular Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

What else?

* Standoff

9 p.m., Fox, debuted Sept. 5.

Showbiz shorthand: The Negotiator in a relationship. With his partner.

My take: Office Space alum Ron Livingston is a hostage negotiator who just happens to be sleeping with his partner. So I'm assuming they resolve most standoffs by bickering until the guy gives up just to get away from the two of them.

Will it survive? Hard to imagine how a hostage-of-the-week drama, with a little Moonlighting-style romantic comedy thrown in, will tear eyeballs away from Dancing With the Stars.

* Help Me Help You

9:30 p.m., ABC, debuts Sept. 26.

Showbiz shorthand: A post-modern Bob Newhart Show.

My take: Ted Danson is showing off his naturally gray hair - sans bald spot, of course - for a series that updates Newhart's formula showcasing a quietly dysfunctional therapist with even crazier patients and family. With hip jokes, no laugh track and an expensive, film-style approach, it's an update that slaps a veneer of cool on a veteran performer and long-standing comedy formula.

Will it survive? It's never wise to bet against Danson, whose Cheers charm kept CBS's mediocre Becker alive far beyond its time.

[Last modified September 7, 2006, 13:20:22]

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