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HOUSE (Tuesdays, 9:-10:00 PM, ET/PT) British actor Hugh Laurie, who you might know from “Sense & Sensibility” or “Blackadder” among his many other credits, stars as cranky, irreverent Dr. House, who trusts no one, least of all his patients. The only reason the dean of medicine, played by Lisa Edelstein, hasn’t fired him is because – of course -- he happens to be the best at what he does, which is solving medical mysteries. (This may sound like aforementioned “Medical Investigation”, but the shows are nothing alike) You can’t take your eyes off Laurie (he does one of the best unstrained American accents I’ve heard a British actor do), as he crabs and glowers his way through the pilot’s disease puzzle. Omar Epps is a neurologist with a troubled past that House intends to exploit, and Robert Sean Leonard is the one person who is close to House. The pilot’s a little full of itself, and House as misanthrope may be a little over-the-top, but I am hoping all this will shake out as the writers start to trust their story. WORTH IT

JONNY ZERO (Fridays, 9:00-10:00 pm, ET/PT) Okay, I admit it, I have a bias toward celebrities who think they are too cool to have a first and last name. Franky G, who did a nice job with a small part in “The Italian Job,”0 should go with the surname, you know what I’m saying? He plays ex-con with a heart Johnny Calvo in this astonishingly unimaginative, predictable drama from some of the folks who brought you ER. I was going to say everything’s in here but the kitchen sink, except there is a kitchen sink. Johnny gets beat up a lot – and he spends every waking minute doing everything a guy on parole isn’t supposed to do – hanging around with known felons, going into bars where alcohol is served, living in a condemned building with Random, a co-worker (played by GQ --- yeah, that’s his name) who wants to be just like Johnny when he grows up, which from the looks of things, will be never. And then there’s the runaway who, inexplicably, goes from stripper bitch to entrepreneurial angel – she thinks they should all live together, solve crimes and help people. I wish I was making this up, but I’m not. Franky G is watchable, and I hate to rag on a guy from my hometown of Queens, NY, but this is a misfire – stylish, yes, but as eye-rollingly silly as they come. MAYBE NOT

THE NEXT GREAT CHAMP (Fridays, 9:00-10:00 pm, ET/PT) is the other reality show about aspiring boxers. Oscar de la Hoya is the mentor and executive producer on this one, and yes, there has been an ugly, competitive controversy roiling between this entry and NBC’s The Contender. Gee, I am so shocked that networks would try to beat each other to the punch, aren’t you? NOT AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW

Fox has become the all year round network, premiering shows early and late, around the post-season baseball schedule. At press time, “House” is scheduled for November and “Jonny Zero” is set for January, dates TBD. In addition, Fox has a slate of reality shows, none of which were available for preview. They include “The Complex: Malibu”, which premieres this week; and “The Billionaire”, in which Sir Richard Branson of Virgin leads a group of entrepreneurs on an epic journey around the world. Also on tap, “The Kelsey Grammer Sketch Show”, which looked very promising to me in the 6 minute snippet I viewed, “American Dad”, a weirdly funny animated show about a CIA dad, and “Related by Family”, about teens who work and hang in the food court of a local mall. / Issue 41 - September 9533
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