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It’s that special time of year once again-summer’s heat is fading as a breath of cooler air reminds us that things are about to change. Fall is also special for another reason, an exciting reason, a thrilling reason- the networks roll out all their new shows. Some will be mega hits and some will fail, but at this moment we don’t yet know which will be which. They are all so full of promise right now.


Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the most exciting new offerings, and we’ve put them in order of premiere date. We hope you print it out and keep it handy, so you don’t miss a show you’ve maybe never heard of which is great, or didn’t realize was even on. This is going to be a fabulous year of new television, and that doesn’t even include the many wonderful returning shows that we all know and already love.


One more thing-television is notorious for switching dates and times, even at the last minute. So be sure and check your local listings to be sure the show you are dying to see will actually be on when we say it will be on. You have been warned!


So pick up that remote, and your handy Dish list, and get watching!!


Sid The Science Kid

Premieres Monday, September 1 on PBS Kids. Check local listings for the time

Sid The Science Kid is an engaging and entertaining new animated preschool series promoting exploration and science readiness in a kid-friendly way. However, I found the Jim Henson Company’s Sid to be so adorable, and the science so fascinating, I’d highly recommend it for adults as well. Airing from Monday-Friday, this is the company’s first curriculum-based series. Because the 40 episodes are created using the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a proprietary and groundbreaking technology that allows performers to puppeteer and voice digital characters in real time, creating a truly amazing level of spontaneity, quality and interactivity is possible. Want to know why a kid’s shoes shrink? Or why bananas get mushy? Sid’s day is full of discovery and wonder. Shouldn’t yours be too?


Raising the Bar

Premieres Monday, September 1 at 10pm et/pt on TNT

Stephen Bochco attacks the legal system from a different perspective. Based on former public defender David Feige's book “Indefensible”, the series expands to include judges and opposing counsel for a complete look at the shocking dealings that go on behind the scenes. In the age of untraditional drama, TNT promises an edgier legal show than you've ever seen before.


Sons of Anarchy

Premieres Wednesday, September 3 at 10pm et/pt on FX

FX is about to do for bikers what they've done for cops, firefighters, plastic surgeons, tabloid journalists and con artists. Their latest show is set in the world of outlaw biker gangs and promises to push the boundaries as it shows the controversial intricacies of their daily lives. One young biker (Charlie Hunnam) begins to question the illegal activities of his father (Ron Perlman), with his mother (Katy Sagal) negotiating the drama. As graphic as its other shows have been, expect Sons of Anarchy to go where even Easy Rider couldn't.


Samurai Girl

Three night event begins Friday, September 5 at 8pm et/pt on ABC FAMILY

Gossip Girl meets Alias! Based on a series of popular adult novels by Carrie Asai, Samurai Girl follows the journey of 19 year old Heaven (Jamie Chung in her first scripted role), the sheltered adopted daughter of one of Japan’s wealthiest and most powerful families. Protected and watched over at all times by her loving but enigmatic father, Heaven is raised in opulent but confined surroundings. But when Heaven finds herself in San Francisco for an arranged marriage, she has no idea that her protected life is about to be shattered. This is a 6 hour miniseries which airs on 3 consecutive nights.


Dogtown: Saving the Michael Vick Dogs

Special two-hour season premiere is Friday, Sept. 5 at 9pm et/pt. New episodes of Dogtown will then air every Friday at 10pm et/pt beginning Friday, September 12

In April 2007, the nation was shocked when dozens of traumatized pit bulls were discovered during a police raid on a property owned by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The dogs were housed at Bad Newz Kennels (most appropriately named), an illegal dog fighting ring owned by Vick and three others. Poor performing dogs were executed, and many of those that survived showed the scars of past injuries, and psychological trauma. Just the thought of confronting these vicious fighting dogs would make most people shudder. But at Dogtown, part of the no-kill Best Friends Sanctuary, the devoted staff attempts to rehabilitate 22 of the toughest cases, so they can be trained to be safe around people and dogs, and therefore adoptable. The premiere episode focuses on four very special dogs- Meryl, Denzel, Georgia and timid little Cherry, and believe me, it won’t be long before you fall for them like I did.


The Locator starring Troy Dunn

Premieres on Saturday, September 6 at 9pm et/pt and continues at 9:30pm on WE TV

The Locator follows Troy Dunn, who has been on a personal mission for 18 years to reunite “half the world with the other half.” In other words, he helps people find each other. Working with his mother Katie, herself an adoptee, Troy puts his expertise and extensive search networks to use as he follows emotional journeys, from an adopted daughter seeking her birth mother and sisters to a leukemia-diagnosed mother wanting to see her daughter again. Each 30-minute episode of this 10-part series profiles a new “angel” case selected from thousands, asking for help finding missing pieces of their life’s story.


Sandhogs

Premieres on Sunday, September 7 at 10pm et/pt on The History Channel

For more than 150 years, a legendary band of mostly unknown urban miners has toiled in obscurity far beneath the streets of NYC, building water and sewage tunnels, subway systems and bridge footings, all the most crucial and underappreciated elements of the city’s infrastructure. What is it like to be a Sandhog and maintain their legacy and pride? What does it take to survive intact, down in holes as deep as Manhattan skyscrapers go high. Find out in the American Originals series Sandhogs!


True Blood

Premieres on Sunday, September 7 at 9pm et/pt on HBO

HBO takes the artistic freedom enjoyed by pay cable networks to do a vampire show. Based on Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels, Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball creates a world where vampires emerge from hiding to face the metaphorical equivalent of racism. A synthetic blood drink allows them to survive without killing, but humans aren't so welcome of this new breed. When Sookie (Anna Paquin) starts dating one, the series opens up relationship drama and scary thrills as she battles bad vampires and dirty looks from disapproving critics.


Fringe

2-Hour Special premieres on Tuesday, September 9 at 8pm et/pt on FOX

Love J.J. Abrams and his beloved Alias?! Fox has high hopes for his latest crime-fighting series, Fringe, which has a real X-Files feel. The show's premise: a female FBI agent has to work with an institutionalized scientist in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena. Viewers will not be able to get away from at least sampling this creepy show, considering it's airing right after the equally oft-creepy (but wonderful!) House! Fringe stars John Noble, Anna Torv, and good old Pacey from Dawson's Creek, Joshua Jackson, who plays the mad scientist's son.


Do Not Disturb

Premieres on Wednesday, September 10 at 9:30pm et/pt on FOX

Also new is the comedy series, Do Not Disturb (Sept. 10 but may be moving), a comedy about a popular New York hotel starring Jerry O'Connell as a metrosexual manager and sassy Clean House star, Niecy Nash, who is the trendy hotel's human resources director. This might work, if the series plays up the sexual chemistry between these two talented actors. Juno's Jason Bateman directed the pilot episode, and if he sticks with this show, it could be really fun. Watch for a brief cameo from The Hills star Audrina Patridge.


102 Minutes That Changed America

Premieres on Thursday, September 11 at 9pm et/pt on The History Channel

As the events of September 11, 2001 unfolded in NYC, some witnesses were frozen with shock, some helped others, and many ran as fast as they could away from the disaster. But some grabbed their video cameras. Despite the chaos and danger, many people kept their cameras rolling throughout the catastrophe. This special features footage from more than 100 different sources, some professional and some amateur, and is carefully pieced together in chronological order. The footage is presented without narration or commentary, to provide the viewer with an immersive and emotional experience.

Following this presentation will be I-Witness to 9/11, an 18-minute documentary short featuring interviews with some of the videogrophers who contributed 9/11 footage to this project.


Coco Chanel

This 3 hour special premieres Saturday, September 13 at 8pm et/pt on Lifetime

Coco Chanel is the eponymous story of the celebrated, stong-willed haute couture giant who faced life with an unparalleled sense of style and panache. Shirley Maclaine stars in the title role of the rags to riches tale of the woman now considered one of the most influential people of the 20th century. For example, the Chanel Suit has become an enduring status symbol, and the fragrant Chanel No. 5 still sells as briskly as ever, proving that Coco and Chanel will never go out of style. “Fashion fades,” said Chanel, “only style remains the same”.


Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy

Premiering Sunday, September 14 at 9pm et/pt on Discovery

‘Leonardo’ was found in Malta, Montana almost fully intact. Ninety percent of his body is covered in skin. What makes this so impressive? Leonardo is a 77 million year old dinosaur! Discovered in 2000 by a team of amateur paleontologists, Leonardo – named for graffiti found near his burial site – is the first dinosaur mummy with intact digestive tract contents ever found. With this once-in-a-lifetime finding, scientists now have more than just bones to fully reconstruct how dinosaurs looked and lived. Discovery Channel has obtained exclusive access to what promises to be an extraordinary development in the history of paleontology – a high-tech exploration deep into the body of a dinosaur that lived so long ago. FYI: Leonardo will be on display at The Houston Museum of Natural Science in a specially created exhibit – Dinosaur Mummy CSI: Cretaceous Science Investigation – beginning Friday, September 19, 2008.


Ralph Rucci: A Designer and His House plus more

A special Fashion Week Programming Block premieres Sept 22-28 at 7pm et/pt on the Sundance Channel

Sundance channel shows its sartorial side this September with a Fashion Week block of programming as the Spring/Summer 2009 collections hit the runways in NYC. Narrated by tastemaker Martha Stewart, a different 45-minute fashion themed film will air each night beginning on Sept. 22 with Ralph Rucci: A Designer and his House. Other films in the Fashion Week line-up include the television premier of Yves St. Laurent: 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris, Seamless, which focuses on the struggles encountered by those trying to make it in this glamorous industry, and Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, among others. Sounds Fahhhbulous, Darling!


Opportunity Knocks

Premieres Tuesday, September 23 at 8pm et/pt on ABC

On a lighter note, Ashton Kutcher continues to churn out fun reality series. The genius behind MTV's Punk'd and The CW's Beauty and the Geek is now at ABC with the family friendly contest show, Opportunity Knocks. This game show quizzes families on how well they know one another, the mail carrier, or the folks next door. Since game shows continue to be ever more popular, I expect this series to also do well. (Though of course, it would be even better if eye candy Ashton makes an appearance or two!)


American Masters, You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story

This 3-part program airs Tuesday-Wednesday, September 23-24, 9-11pm et/pt, and Thursday, September 25, 9-10pm et/pt

This exceptional program celebrates 85 years of the legacy and evolution of Warner Bros. with clips from hundreds of films, archival interviews and on-camera discussions with Hollywood luminaries. Clint Eastwood narrates.

 

Knight Rider
Premieres Wednesday, September 24 at 8pm et/pt on NBC

The iconic 1980’s television classic Knight Rider has come roaring back to life as a re-invented, updated, and super-charged action series featuring the new KITT (Knight Industries Three Thousand). For those of you who thought the original KITT was the coolest car ever, you’ll be knocked over by the latest version, featuring an AI (artificial intelligence) system that is capable of hacking almost any system. Its weapon’s systems match that of a jet fighter, its body is capable of actually transforming into other vehicles, and it uses sophisticated holographic imagery to elude villains. Justin Bruening stars in NBC’s updated drama series as Mike Traceur, estranged son of Michael Knight. More fun than ever and not to be missed!


The Life and Times of Tim
Premieres Sunday, September 28 on HBO

HBO joins the ranks of South Park with a crudely animated comedy series for grown-ups. Tim tries to get through daily life and do the right thing, but always ends up in awkward situations. Whether he's debating his donation to a homeless guy or helping an overweight woman with her fashion choice, nothing quite comes out right for Tim.

Little Britain, USA
Premieres Sunday, September 28 on HBO
Little Britain, USA will unleash Little Britain writer-performers David Walliams and Matt Lucas and their array of characters on America. It's set for a six-episode run.

World’s Toughest Fixes
Premieres Sunday, September 28 at 9pm et/pt on National Geographic Channel; airs regularly beginning Wednesday, October 1
Big Machines, Big Problems! Imagine a rupture in a jetliner’s pressure dome, a nuclear power plant turbine that needs to be replaced, a cruise ship that needs another engine or repairing live 500,000-volt lines from a platform mounted outside a helicopter. These really are the world’s toughest fixes, and you can be there along with host and engineering enthusiast Sean Riley, as the most oversized repair jobs on the planet are tackled. Thrilling!

Living Proof
Premieres October on Lifetime
Living Proof is a Lifetime Television original movie concerning the incredible true story of Dr. Dennis Slamon, the UCLA doctor who worked tirelessly to develop Herceptin, a breast cancer drug that he believed would save the lives of women all around the world. Though Dr. Slamon losses the support and funding from a drug company for his research, he seeks the help of private philanthropists who also believe in the power of the new pharmaceutical. Harry Connick, Jr. plays the Dr. Slamon and Renee Zellweger offers her own expertise as one of the film’s producers.

The Ex List
Premieres Friday, October 3 at 9pm et/pt on CBS
Like other successful comedies that began in other countries (think The Office, which began in England), The Ex List actually originated in Israel and was picked up by executive producer Diane Ruggiero. When Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser of Grey’s Anatomy fame) speaks with a psychic at her sister’s bachelorette party, she is surprised to learn that she has already dated the man who will be her future husband. If this weren’t enough, the psychic also informs her that if she fails to find her ex and marry him within a year, she will be doomed to be alone forever. So, what’s a girl to do? Bella is determined to find him, of course! She receives help from her equally hapless friends as she searches through a list of past lovers for her soul mate.

Sanctuary
Premieres Friday, October 3 on Sci Fi
Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) runs a sanctuary for nice monsters to protect them from fearful humans. Of course, there are some genuinely mean monsters out there that need stopping. Shot mostly against green screen like the movie 300, Sanctuary can create fantastic sets unheard of in the realm of television budgets, since all they need is a green room and the imaginations of clever digital artists.

Hulk Hogan Celebrity Wrestling
Premieres Friday, October 3 on CMT
World Champion wrestler Hulk Hogan hosts this new reality series on CMT featuring ten stars who will learn the ropes of professional wrestling from the best in the business. The stars include Dennis Rodman, Danny Bonaduce, Dustin Diamond, Tiffany, and more. Each week will include a challenge and, of course, an elimination in order to find out who has what it takes to be the best in the ring. The challenges include lessons in trash-talk and how to intimidate one’s opponent. Will these stars be transformed into wrestlers, or will they fall flat in the ring? Watch and find out!

Murder in Black and White
Premieres Sunday, October 5 at 10pm et/pt on TV ONE
In this new series, TV ONE has teamed with the FBI to take a closer look at civil rights murder cases from the 1940’s and 1950’s, in hopes that new evidence can be found to punish the perpetrators who may still be alive. Each of the four hour-long documentary style episodes will be hosted by Reverend Al Sharpton and produced by Keith Beauchamp, who is familiar with re-opening cold cases for further investigation. In 2005, Beauchamp helped to re-open the case of Emmett Till, who was murdered in 1955. Hopefully, the work of Beauchamp and the FBI will bring justice to the families of those who were senselessly murdered more than fifty years ago.

Kath & Kim
Premieres Thursday, October 9 at 9:30pm et/pt on NBC
Who says you can’t go home again? Kim (Selma Blair) is the newly married (and now newly divorced) daughter of Kath (Molly Shannon) who comes back to live with her mother after she ends her short-lived marriage. Kath was on the road to getting her life together with her fiancé Phil Knight (John Michael Higgins) when she is sucked back into the drama filled life of her daughter. You will be sure to laugh out loud at the hilarious antics of this hapless mother-daughter duo.

Life on Mars
Premieres Thursday, October 9 at 10pm et/pt on ABC
ABC has only one new dramatic series this fall: a highly slick remake of the BBC series, "Life on Mars," starring Sopranos' star Michael Imperioli and the sexy Irish actor Jason O'Mara (did ya see him as the sexy bad guy on "The Closer"?). It's an interesting premise: a modern day cop gets hit by a car and wakes up in the 1970's. Happens all the time right?! This gritty series--taping in New York-- is going to catch your eye no matter what if you like 70s vintage clothes and the incredibly outrageous actor Harvey Keitel. Gretchen Mol also stars.

The Starter Wife
Premieres on Thursday, October 9 on USA
Last year's hit miniseries becomes a weekly dramedy. Debra Messing returns as Molly Kagan, putting her life back together after her Hollywood executive husband divorces her. Now she's trying to start her own writing career and fighting her own feelings for an attractive suitor since she's sworn off men. It's all original comedy as the series takes off where the miniseries and Gigi Levangie's book left off.

My Own Worst Enemy
Premieres Monday, October 13 at 10pm et/pt on NBC
Who can you trust when you can’t even trust yourself? This is the question that Christian Slater’s characters (yes, he plays two characters that share one body) face in this new drama. Slater’s two personas are polar opposites. Henry Spivey is the suburban husband with the boring life and minivan while Edward Albright is a dangerous operative who is trained to kill. What happens when these two alter egos discover they are sharing the same body? You will have to watch to find out.

Crash
Premieres Friday, October 17 at 10pm et/pt on Starz
The Oscar winning ensemble drama about race relations in Los Angeles becomes a weekly ensemble series. With all new stories from the movie, it will take more than two hours to resolve these dramas. Ongoing storylines include an unstable music producer, a Brentwood couple, cops, gang members, illegal immigrants, and paramedics. They haven't ruled out cameos from characters in the film, but the Crash TV series promises new drama in the spirit of the Oscar-winning film.

Independent Lens—Chicago 10
Premieres Wednesday, October 22 at 9pm et/pt on PBS
Chicago in 1968 is the backdrop for this documentary piece which focuses on the anti-war protesters who stormed the Democratic National Convention which was held there that year. With the 2008 Democratic National Convention being held a little over a month before this documentary will air, it is very poignant that Independent Lens chose to show the experiences of those who were there in 1968. This episode shows the consequences for the protestors as the police became violent against their cause. With the help of archival footage and new animation techniques, PBS shows the viewers what it was like to be in Chicago that summer.

My Fair Wedding
Premieres Sunday, October 26 at 10pm et/pt on WE

If you felt like your “I do” moment almost became an “I don’t,” then you won’t want to miss this new wedding makeover show on WE. In this series, celebrity wedding and party planner David Tutera comes to the aid of brides whose weddings are imminently close to disaster. Tutera offers his services only three weeks before the wedding is to take place, but he shows there’s a lot he can do in a short amount of time to make each wedding a one-of-a-kind. Tutera has no qualms about changing the gowns of the bridesmaids or even changing the venue of the event. How will these brides react to Tutera’s tough love and will their weddings be successes? Watch and find out!
Independent Lens—Dinner with the President: A Nation’s Journey
Premieres Tuesday, October 29 on PBS

Filmmaker Sabiha Sumar was given unprecedented access to President Musharraf of Pakistan, and PBS produced a film out of the dinner interview Sumar conducted. According to Sumar, she was not even asked to submit her questions to the Pakistani government beforehand as is customary with interviews of world leaders. As opposed to making this merely an interview, Sumar wanted to have an open discussion with the leader of her country about his surprising views on democracy and what that means in Pakistan. Sumar openly says that her opinion of the leader was changed through her interview, and viewers will be intrigued by the openness of the President, who believes that he can change his country for the better by giving more opportunities for education and by supporting the women in his country
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www.Dishmag.com / Issue 88 - September 5698
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