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Fox unveils the first new show of the fall season

Rick Kushman
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

The first new show of the fall season makes a quiet entrance Friday night, which is about right for a harmless, featherweight series.

That would be Fox's "Nashville" (at 9 EDT), a docu-reality show following a handful of young, good-looking singers trying to make it in the world of country music.

That music is ever present and lends a nice touch. The music, clearly, is the highlight. The story part, on the other hand, is predictable and cliche to the point of syrupy.

"This is the story of dreamers," a narrator says. "Some will succeed but most will fail."

And there's so much more:

"Nashville is a town that will make you or break you."

"Is there room for another star in the Nashville sky?"

"He's starting over in a town that doesn't give second chances."

Too bad Nashville is a town with room for sappy narration.

The series is from the producing team behind "Laguna Beach," so it is zippy and slick, and there is, of course, the usual romantic drama. In the premiere, that's about the only hint of drama, because the rest is hopelessly been there.

There are the obligatory scenes of women hanging by the pool, talking about guys; of guys sitting on the porch, playing guitars and talking about women; and of a party where a guy ignores the woman he's been fussing over. There's a star-crossed couple walking horses through a field of flowers, and doesn't anyone actually ride their horses on these things?

It's all so obviously puffed up for TV, as always - two people walk onto the Grand Ole Opry stage without a hitch and they find, say it with me, a microphone that's turned on. And it's so obviously massaged - a guy meets a woman he likes and says, "I can't wait to hear her sing," because that's what all guys first think when they meet women.

But all this whining misses the point of "Nashville." It aims young, and is willfully lightweight. The target is a breezy Friday-night show, and it gets there, mostly. The surprise is that most of these people really can sing, which must be worth something.

___

Because of scheduling conflicts - long story - we have a special Friday edition of "What'd They Do to My Show?"

First up, CBS renewed its new summer game show with Drew Carey, "Power of Ten," for another run sometime midseason. It ordered six new episodes, and I'm thinking what you're thinking, why not 10?

TBS announced it is renewing a pair of comedies, "The Bill Engvall Show" and "My Boys."

Engvall's half-hour family sitcom had its first run this summer, and "My Boys," starring P.J. Franklin and a host of guys, including the always terrific Jim Gaffigan, aired last fall and again this summer.

TNT said it is canceling the Treat Williams doctor drama, "Heartland," that's been running Mondays before cable's biggest hit "The Closer." The cable net has already announced it's picking up another season of "The Closer" – which drew 9.2 million viewers Monday, a record for a basic cable series - and of the Holly Hunter drama "Saving Grace."

Showtime announced it's renewing the bawdy David Duchovny comedy, "Californication," which has only been airing for a month.

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