Citytv/Oct. 4/7 p.m. (premieres Oct. 2 on ABC) MALIBU COUNTRY Starring: Reba McEntire, Sara Rue, Lily Tomlin, Justin Prentice and Jai Rodriguez Premise: A former country singer, who put her career on hold to raise a family, discovers her Nashville-star husband has been cheating on her; quickly divorced and looking to re-start her life, she packs up and moves to sunny L.A. in hopes of finding peace and perhaps landing a record deal. Lowdown: ABC has two country music-themed shows in its rookie crop — Nashville, a smart and stylish drama starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, and this clumsy effort, which surely ranks as one of the new season’s worst. The premise is flimsy, the jokes are pure scriptwriting hackery, and it’s particularly saddening to see a comedy legend such as Tomlin wasted in such pointless prime-time piffle. Quotable: “All my fans are totally excited about this show. They’re very glad we’re back on television.” — series star/producer Reba McEntire, expecting a big ratings boost from her music-industry fan base. Bottom line: This one should drop off the charts quickly ... but then again, Reba’s fans have rallied before to keep a middling sitcom effort of hers on for a long run. CBC/Sept. 16/8 p.m. OVER THE RAINBOW Featuring: Daryn Jones hosts, with judges Thom Allison, Arlene Phillips and Louise Pitre Premise: A reality-competition search for the star of the Toronto production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage-musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. Lowdown: No previews available, but based on the success/appeal of CBC’s similarly themed 2008 offering How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, there’s reason to hope this will be an engaging and entertaining contest. Winnipegger Colleen Furlan is among the 20 finalists vying for ruby-slippers stardom. Bottom line: There’s no reality TV like home(grown), Toto. ABC/Citytv/Sept. 30/9 p.m. 666 PARK AVENUE Starring: Terry O’Quinn, Vanessa Williams, Dave Annable, Rachael Taylor, Robert Buckley, Mercedes Masöhn and Helena Mattson Premise: A young couple makes the perhaps-unwise decision to sign on as managers of an historic Manhattan hotel called The Drake, where the mysterious owners are able to meet all their guests’ needs, but every favour comes with a very steep payback price. Lowdown: A creepy concept, drawn from a liketitled series of novels by Gabriella Pierce, that is extremely well executed as a TV drama. Lost alumnus O’Quinn is delightfully sinister as The Drake’s Faustian deal-making owner, and Taylor and Annable are quite appealing as the new managers who quickly realize they’ve got quite a job on their hands. Quotable: “If you haven’t shot on a street in New York ... that’s an experience that every actor should have, because it certainly is an exercise in focus and concentration. There are those people who don’t want to stop their day and will cross the street and don’t care what you’re doing or if you’re making a movie or how you are or who you think you are. And then there’s the tour buses going by, snapping pictures and going ‘Hey, Locke!’ when you’re in the middle of a piece of dialogue. So, you know, it’s a trip.” — series star Terry O’Quinn, revealing that doing a show in the Big Apple is a lot different than shooting in the pineapple jungles of Hawaii. Bottom line: If viewers are ready to be spooked, 666 could have one hell of a run. RETURNING SHOWS: Heartland (Sept. 16, CBC) The Mob Doctor (Sept. 16 at 10 p.m., CBC; Sept. 17 on Fox) Once Upon a Time (Sept. 30, ABC/ CTV) The Amazing Race (Sept. 30, CBS/ CTV) The Simpsons (Sept. 30, Fox/Global) Bob’s Burgers (Sept. 30, Fox/Global) Family Guy (Sept. 30, Fox/Global) American Dad (Sept. 30, Fox/Global) Revenge (Sept. 30, ABC/Citytv) The Good Wife (Sept. 30, CBS/Global) The Mentalist (Sept. 30, CBS/CTV) Happy Endings (Oct 21, CTV; Oct. 23 on ABC)
666 Park Avenue cast, from left, Terry O’Quinn, Vanessa Williams, Helena Mattsson, Mercedes Masohn, Robert Buckley, Samantha Logan, Dave Annable and Rachael Taylor.