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PASADENA, CA–Press tour is so jammed-packed and intense it’s easy to forget there’s a whole world of television going on. This January seems particularly crowded with series premieres.
Showtime here in the States is running ads in high rotation for three shows starting tonight. They`re calling it their “Biggest Sunday ever.” All three can be seen tonight as well in Canada on The Movie Network and Movie Central.
Well that was uncalled for. Next up is Episodes, a new comedy starring former Friends lad Matt LeBlanc. Here he plays a guy named Matt LeBlanc, hired to star in a remake of a British hit. He also has grey hair, which he now claims he had all the time he was shooting Friends. He wears it well, but what’s up with that?
The British producers aren’t too keen on having this Yank dumb down their show. LeBlanc bravely takes the mickey out of himself. It`s better than Joey, but then what isn`t. Friends producer David Crane is behind this series. You can read more about Episodes and other actual Brit TV makeovers here at this feature I wrote for the january edition of Movie Entertainment magazine.
Showtime Sunday (or TMN Sunday or MC Sunday…damn this half country specialty split in Canada) ends with the premiere of Shameless, which stars William H. Macy as the drunken head of the Gallagher clan. Great, just what Showtime needs, another dysfunctional family. This one takes it to a ridiculous extreme sort of The United States of Jack Daniels. Macy is a great actor and almost pulls it off, whether he`s passed out on the kitchen floor or hanging with his hobo peeps. The six kids are the real stars, running around, changing diapers, paying bills, picking up the slack from drunk old dad. It`s like Party of Five only dad is dead drunk most of the time, not just dead.
This one really is based on a British show, but I`m guessing the original producers were pretty happy to land Macy. Shameless premieres tonight at 11/10c.
Monday is just as busy, especially in Canada. Talk show host Marilyn Denis (right) returns to her old City studio and 10 a.m. time slot with The Marilyn Denis Show (CTV). Denis was raring to go when I spoke with her two weeks ago, excited to be back after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus from television (she continues to co-host CHUM-FM’s morning show with Roger Ashby). She has a loyal army of followers; every time I type her name here traffic jumps four-fold (Marilyn Denis, Marilyn Denis, Marilyn Denis). Her first guest is that dude from Desperate Housewives, James Denton, with Josh Groban later in the week. Read more in this feature I wrote in today’s Toronto Star.
I have another Star story today on the Canadian launch of Covert Affairs (Sunday night at 10 p.m. on Showcase). This series shoots in Toronto (sharing studio space with Dan for Mayor) and has been running for several months on the USA Network. A second season has already been ordered.
It stars Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly) as a young woman suddenly promoted to a full CIA agent. There’s something fishy about that, because she’s really not ready, and that’s where the fun starts. Peter Gallagher and Keri Matchett are also in on this spirited spy caper, with Toronto doubling for Washington, D.C. Some episodes are directed by executive producer Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), who brings a rock and roll energy to the deal. I spoke with Perabo last summer in LA at that TCA press tour and she is easy to root for, very cheery and good natured. Check her out.
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