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Grab a remote — summer TV has plenty to offer

Cable made summer the time where all the cool kids get noticed on TV, and broadcast networks are jumping on the ratings train. While summer is still the time when cable shines, there are also a few network series popping up. Yes, reality shows always provide good, cheap summer entertainment, but there are still loads of scripted shows coming up in the next few months. But what are the chances they
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Cable made summer the time where all the cool kids get noticed on TV, and broadcast networks are jumping on the ratings train. While summer is still the time when cable shines, there are also a few network series popping up.

Yes, reality shows always provide good, cheap summer entertainment, but there are still loads of scripted shows coming up in the next few months. But what are the chances they'll make it for the long run?

‘Good Guys’

Series premiere June 7, 8 p.m. on Fox

Fox is about to get burned — and that’s not a bad thing. USA’s “Burn Notice” creator Matt Nix turns his sights on the broadcast network with his odd creation that owes a significant nod to Quentin Tarantino. “Good Guys” comes complete with ponytailed assassins, crazy criminal honor codes and over-the-top shootouts.

Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”) delivers as washed-up cop Dan, who’s dragging down his partner, Jack (Colin Hanks). Jack’s ability to irritate everyone in his radius has had a career-limiting effect. But the two prove their worth in a case involving wacky characters and a lot of explosives.

Will it make it?

The series offers standout performances by Whitford and Hanks, but requires a certain kind of viewer who doesn’t mind massive quantities of processed cheese smothering their cop shows and quirk with a capital Q.

‘Are We There Yet?’

Series premiere June 2, 9 p.m on TBS

If you liked the film by the same title, then this might be just the right comedy for some summertime chuckles. Ice Cube produces and co-stars in this sitcom about newlyweds Nick (Terry Crews) and Suzanne (Essence Atkins), who are living with her 14- and 10-year-old children. Crews is always a kick, and he’s teamed with his former “Everybody Loves Chris” producer Ali LeRoi. The comedy is broad, and the laugh track firmly in place.

Will it make it?

TBS ordered 10 episodes with the option for an additional 90. So this could be a short trip, or this could be a long journey.

‘Persons Unknown’

Series premiere June 7, 10 p.m. on NBC

The one-hour mystery show might just be the short-term fix for those “Lost” addicts who need to get weaned off the perpetual supernatural mystery machine: A bunch of strangers get tossed together in a remote area to puzzle out what’s going on.

The series comes from Oscar-winning writer Christopher McQuarrie (“The Usual Suspects”) and stars few name actors with the exception of Alan Ruck (“Spin City,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”). Originally set to air on NBC’s sibling cable channel Syfy, the series has the feel of “The Prisoner.”

( is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Will it make it?

The show should make it for the entire run of the 13-episode miniseries, but might need more brain power than most viewers are willing to exert during the time of the year when we like our series as light and breezy as a Hawaiian vacation.

‘Hot in Cleveland’

Series premiere June 16, 10 p.m. on TV Land

Cleveland hasn’t rocked like this since “The Drew Carey Show” signed off. Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”) produces and “Frasier” scribe Suzanne Martin writes TV Land’s first scripted sitcom. They team up with blast-from-the-past stars Valerie Bertinelli (“One Day at a Time”), Jane Leeves (“Frasier”) and Wendie Malick (“Just Shoot Me”) for a comic peek at women who discover that men who don’t live in the L.A. bubble see them as hot.

The show has even cast Betty White as the new roommate. Despite a shaky premise — three Hollywood pals find themselves in Cleveland after a plane mishap on the way to Paris — the comedy has some spark.

Will it make it?

Two words: Betty White. She’s hotter than Tabasco right now, and her comedy timing has never been better.


Series premiere June 20, 9 p.m. on ABC

Even criminals have families. This series, based on a New Zealand show, stars sultry Virginia Madsen as the matriarch who decides to go straight after her husband, Wolf (David James Elliott), is sent to prison.

The series is billed as a comedy/drama, with a light touch that might appeal to the audience now watching “Desperate Housewives.” Things do get pretty desperate for this housewife trying to keep her scofflaw offspring on the road to a more righteous life.

Will it make it?

When you have a high-powered star like Madsen headlining a series, you don’t generally burn it off in the summer.

‘The Gates’

Series premiere June 20, 10 p.m. on ABC

ABC hopes to get a bite of those werewolf/vampire lovin’ teens and moms this summer with a soaped-up tale of wicked tendencies in a gated community of beastly goings on.

Could you say with any more clarity that ABC hopes to jump on the “Twilight” fan craze? Summer’s a good time to test those waters with this show about a cop and his family relocated to a creepy upscale community with plenty of secrets.

Will it make it?

While the first impulse is to slam this yet-unscreened series, producer Richard Hatem has some supernatural chops after working on shows such as “Dead Zone,” “Supernatural,” “The Lost Room” and the amazing “Miracles” — which was canceled too quickly by ABC. Can we say foreshadow?

‘Memphis Beat’

Premieres June 22, 10 p.m. on TNT

George Clooney doesn’t pop up on the screen, but his cool factor permeates this new drama produced by his company. Smokin’ Jason Lee sizzles as Memphis cop Dwight Hendricks, who moonlights as an Elvis impersonator. Dwight’s charming, offbeat style doesn’t win over his new boss, Tanya Rice (Alfre Woodard), right away, but that shouldn’t be the case with viewers. Dwight’s an unabashed mama’s boy, blues lover and office hero. The Memphis music sets the tone of this cop show, with unique characters driving the action.

Will it make it?

This is one of the best pilots — summer or fall — that hits all the right beats. Just reserve a room for me at Heartbreak Hotel if viewers don’t discover this gem.

‘Rookie Blue’

Premieres June 24, 9 p.m. on ABC

Fetching Missy Peregrym plays the awkward and beautiful Andy, a rookie cop continuing in the family business. Yet she seems fairly naïve, considering she grew up surrounded by cops. She and her fellow newbies attempt to police the mean streets — and avoid accidentally shooting one of their own. One character, Chris, is so needy you almost want to hand him a blankie and a binky.

Will it make it?

This is definitely a holding-place show that doesn’t inspire much hope of lasting even through the summer.


Premieres July 9, 10 p.m. on Syfy

Syfy has tapped Stephen King’s novella “The Colorado Kid” for this series following FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) who shows up in the small town of Haven, Maine, to solve the murder of a local ex-con. If she had been watching “Eureka,” she’d know this was no ordinary town. It’s filled with folks boasting supernatural abilities.

Will it make it?

Syfy has “Eureka” as the lead-in, so all we wonder is just how much small-town supernatural action viewers can take on one night. It’s either a brilliant scheduling move or overkill.

‘Rizzoli & Isles’

Premieres July 12, 10 p.m. on TNT

Murder-mystery fans can cuddle up with this by-the-book series starring Angie Harmon as Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as medical examiner Maura Isles. The two are best pals and sometimes partners in solving crimes.

Will it make it?

TNT has plenty of patience when it comes to its programs. This one will probably stick around for a while.

‘Covert Affairs’

Premieres July 13, 10 p.m. on USA

This breezy series centers on superspy Annie (Piper Perabol), plucked out of training to become an operative in a top-secret government agency. She’s brilliant, beautiful, capable and slightly awkward so that you don’t think she’s too, too perfect. Oh, and she had a tragic love affair that becomes part of the whole career skyrocket ploy.

You won’t need to overtax your brain to follow the series, which is always a good thing when it comes to summer programming.

Will it make it?

USA’s up-and-comer sophomore series “White Collar” is a compatible lead-in and the series falls in line with the network branding. Did we mention hot lady spy?

Susan C. Young is a writer in Northern California.