8:30 p.m. Friday, Channel 4
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.”