Originally created 01/09/01

Shows can cure your TV blues

Sick of TV reruns? Cheer up. Fresh programming hits the airwaves today when two new series debut and the ABC police drama NYPD Blue returns to its traditional 10 p.m. Tuesday time slot. Three more new programs arrive later this week.

NYPD BLUE (ABC): The character-driven drama launches its eighth season with an invigorating episode in which the 15th Precinct detectives investigate a triple homicide. But the squad itself is under the magnifying glass of Internal Affairs, which is investigating the doings of the departed Detective Kirkendall (Andrea Thompson) and her drug-dealer ex-hubby. Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz), who spent last season agonizing over the mysterious illness plaguing his son Theo, becomes convinced that the boy is getting better after he sees the results of a medical test.

THREE SISTERS (9:30 tonight, NBC): This sitcom about three very different siblings is a natural for the post-Frasier time slot. Vicki Lewis, formerly Beth on NewsRadio, stands out as Nora, the intelligent, sarcastic sister who doesn't know too much about relationships. Katherine LaNasa plays Bess, the sweet, pregnant sister married to Steven Keats (David Alan Basche). A.J. Langer plays Annie, the youngest sister, who knows all about men but not a lot about being responsible. TV sitcom veteran Peter Bonerz (Jerry the dentist on The Bob Newhart Show) is the sisters' father. Dyan Cannon plays their mother.

THE MOLE (8 tonight, ABC): This reality show centers on a group of 10 contestants facing physical and psychological trials in four countries while competing for up to $1 million. Former ABC News correspondent Anderson Cooper is host. (Unlike Big Brother's Julie Chen, he had the sense to leave the news department before taking the gig.) The twist: There's a mole, or saboteur, within the group thwarting their progress - players take a test each week, and the one who knows the least about the mole is ejected from the game. European versions have been successful.

TEMPTATION ISLAND (9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox): In yet another reality show, four couples are spirited to a tropical resort, where they will split up by gender and go on a series of dates with attractive singles. Failed talk-show host Mark L. Wahlberg (the "L" prevents confusion with the talented Mark Wahlberg, who starred in Boogie Nights and The Perfect Storm) presides over the action. The twist: Each date is videotaped, and the person's significant other can choose to view selected excerpts. There's no cash prize, but the couples decide whether to stay together at the show's end.

GROUNDED FOR LIFE (8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Fox): Donal Logue (The Tao of Steve, Patriot Games) stars in this new sitcom as an everyday Joe who just wants to have some fun with the guys. But, doggone it, real life in the form of his wife and three children always intrudes. Mr. Logue is a joy to watch, but the material is a little hackneyed.

POPSTARS (9 p.m. Friday, the WB): Thousands will audition. Only five will be chosen. On the heels of ABC's Making the Band comes this nationwide talent search for the next female pop group. Episodes will follow cattle-call auditions to the selection of five unknowns and their training to record a CD, film a music video and perform a debut concert. An Australian version produced a No. 1 album and TV series.


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