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Summer Stock

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It’s officially summertime — the weather is balmy, the daylight stretches well into the evening hours, and your office clears out at 2:59 p.m. on Fridays. What better time to…plunk your butt on the couch and watch TV? Looking for a troika of sexy secret agents, preferably one that includes, say, Species’ Natasha Henstridge? She Spies is there for you. Have a hankering for a drama about a detective with OCD? USA delivers the goods with Monk. Need someone to tell you what’s going on inside your canine’s cranium? No, of course you don’t, but Animal Planet’s Pet Psychic will anyway. Even the broadcast networks are getting into the game this summer, with brutally honest talent searches (Fox’s American Idol), brutally awkward dating shows (NBC’s Meet My Folks, ABC’s The Diary Affairs), and one true-crime drama (NBC’s Crime & Punishment) that’s just plain brutal. So crank up the AC and start surfing.

Familiar Faces

SHE SPIES NBC, premieres July 20, 10 p.m.

If you need a bigger weekly dose of campy distaff action-adventure than Pamela Anderson and V.I.P. can offer, get ready for the pneumatic crime fighters of She Spies. Leggy Species siren Natasha Henstridge and her costars, Natashia Williams and Kristen Miller, will park their stilettos on NBC’s summer schedule for four weeks before hightailing it to syndication, where exec producer Vince Manze’s high-concept hootenanny should fit right in. ”I was looking to do Lethal Weapon or Rush Hour with women,” explains Manze. To that end, he’s got three babes — D.D., the gorgeous computer hacker (Miller); Shane, the no-nonsense sistah (Williams); and Cassie, the con artist (Henstridge) — working undercover for a hush-hush government organization. In their first go-round, the girls attempt to infiltrate a hospital charity scam, though it’s doubtful the show’s target audience — mouth-breathing males — will be slobbering over the story lines. ”This is just a fun, sit-back-and-be-entertained kinda show,” says Henstridge unapologetically. ”You don’t have to think too hard.” Ah, TV just the way we like it. — Nicholas Fonseca

BREAKING NEWS Bravo, premieres July 17, 8 p.m.

This just in: the west wing’s Tim Matheson has a summer job. He plays Bill Dunne, the anchorman for fictitious 24-hour news channel I-24. Explains cocreator Gardner Stern (NYPD Blue), ”He’s a guy with tremendous stature, but it’s as if, say, Dan Rather had suffered a big ratings decline and went to, oh, Fox News.” Dunne is a proud lion with a thorn in his paw, and he doesn’t like it when the I-24 producers send a pretty young reporter (Myndy Crist) to the front lines of a breaking-news story. Originally conceived for TNT (”but they wanted simpler, good-guy, bad-guy stuff — you know, like Witchblade,” says Stern), News is a keeper. We know your question: What’s the frequency, Kenneth? Stern says that if Bravo renews the show, Matheson’s West Wing schedule may allow him to return. ”We spent time [researching] at MSNBC,” says Stern, ”and after I showed them the pilot, people there said Tim could step into a real-life anchor position tomorrow. He’s got it down.”

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