‘Mal­ibu Coun­try’:

8:30 p.m. Fri­day, Chan­nel 4

TV Week - - FRONT PAGE -

Reba’s back, and ABC’s got her. It’s hard, if not down­right im­pos­si­ble, to chal­lenge coun­try mu­sic icon McEn­tire’s sense of what her loyal and large fan base wants: She had a six-sea­son run with her WB/CW com­edy “Reba” (still seen in re­peats on both ABC Fam­ily and Coun­try Mu­sic Tele­vi­sion), and as she re­turns to weekly tele­vi­sion, she’s adopt­ing a fa­mil­iar-feel­ing char­ac­ter and premise.

“Mal­ibu Coun­try” casts her as a on­ce­ma­jor singing star who de­cides to re­lo­cate from Nashville to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia and sal­vage her ca­reer af­ter her mar­riage falls apart. As on “Reba,” the cen­tral fig­ure has teen chil­dren (Justin Pren­tice, Juli­ette An­gelo) ... with added con­cerns posed by her own sassy mother, ap­pro­pri­ately played by peren­ni­ally saucy com­edy leg­end Lily Tom­lin.

Melissa Peter­man was an ever-up­beat pres­ence McEn­tire played off on “Reba”; now that slot is filled by Sara Rue (“Less Than Per­fect”) as an en­thu­si­as­tic neigh­bor who con­stantly shares too much in­for­ma­tion. And the un­faith­ful ex-hus­band of the fic­tional Reba again stays in the pic­ture, played now by Jef­frey Nordling (“Once and Again”).

McEn­tire be­lieves “Mal­ibu Coun­try” makes a good com­pan­ion to ABC’s (and Tim Allen’s) re­lo­cated-from-Tuesdays “Last Man Stand­ing.” She’s also a “Mal­ibu Coun­try” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, as is her hus­band and long­time man­ager, Narvel Black­stock.

“I didn’t want to leave tele­vi­sion when (‘Reba’) got can­celed,” she main­tains. “I was hav­ing so much fun, and we still had so many sto­ries to tell.”

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