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New year rings in new crop of shows

Among television shows to premier this week , ABC turns out a delight and a dud.

By ERIC DEGGANS
Published January 2, 2007


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Today's debut of FX's drama about a scheming tabloid magazine editor starts the season's deluge of new and returning shows, including a Los Angeles-based Apprentice (starting Sunday), 24 (returning with a four-hour premiere Jan. 14 and 15) and American Idol (also a four-hour return, Jan. 16 and 17). Here are some notable arrivals this week:

THE KNIGHTS OF PROSPERITY

Debuts: 9 p.m. Wednesday on ABC, WFTS-Ch. 28

Centered on a team of misfit losers who decide their path to happiness lies in burglarizing Mick Jagger's opulent New York apartment, this oddball series would be dead on arrival in the hands of anyone other than executive producer Rob Burnett (Ed, Late Show with David Letterman). Toss in an inspired performance by character guy extraordinaire Donal Logue (The Tao of Steve, Blade) and a wicked cameo by the head Stone himself, and you've got the best new comedy this season. Really.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

Debuts: 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on ABC, WFTS-Ch. 28

Everything Knights is - charming, funny, unpredictable - its network sibling is not. Jonathan Silverman, David Arquette, Greg Germann and Kelly Hu are former classmates who meet up later in life, cloning a premise CBS's The Class already has had trouble sustaining. These are characters you've seen before: In particular, Silverman's neurotic shtick is so shopworn he should send royalities to Neil Simon, Woody Allen and Matthew Broderick. By the first episode's end, you will wonder how names this big got stuck in a show this bad.

BEAUTY AND THE GEEK

Debuts: 8 p.m. Wednesday on the CW, WTOG-Ch. 44

It is a televised train wreck you can't stop watching. Pairing eight male geeks - including several virgins and two Star Trek fanatics - with eight beautiful female airheads, this reality TV competition offers stereotypes so ironclad, it's tough to imagine this isn't a setup. (Is there any guy in history who thinks reciting the value of pi to eight decimal points will impress women?) Still, when the Nintendo geek pulls off a mildly amusing standup routine based on his video game obsession, you can't help but feel a little, well, proud.

THE APPRENTICE

Debuts: 9:30 p.m. Sunday on NBC, WFLA-Ch. 8

What could be more obnoxious than watching Donald Trump harass 16 wanna-be tycoons? Watching Trump's kids follow in daddy's footsteps. Yes, the big change this year to Trump's reality TV competition - besides moving to Los Angeles and making the team that loses competitions live outside - is the addition of Trump's son and daughter as judges, ensuring no non-Trump eclipses the Great Comb-Over King.

Eric Deggans, Times TV/media critic

[Last modified January 1, 2007, 17:17:24]


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