Jim Belushi, Emeril, and Ellen return with new shows

By Bruce Fretts
May 30, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
The Dad: Bob D'Amico

The networks have announced their fall schedules, so it’s time to make our annual assessments of the new series, based solely on the brief clips we’ve seen. Here’s what captivated and irritated our short attention spans.

MOST PROMISING

”Philly” (ABC, Tuesdays, 10-11 p.m.)
Emmy winner Kim Delaney and exec producer Steven Bochco reunite to take over ”NYPD Blue”’s old time slot with this City of Brotherly Love set lawyer drama. But will casting two vets of Fox flop ”The $treet” (Tom Everett Scott and Rick Hoffman) be a ratings ki$$ of death?

”The Ellen Show” (CBS, Fridays, 8-8:30 p.m.)
Yep, she’s gay again. And this time, Ellen DeGeneres is a Web entrepreneur who returns to her small hometown — and to a sterling supporting cast, including Cloris Leachman and Martin Mull.

”Smallville” (the WB, Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m.)
You thought adolescence was tough? Try it when you’re Clark Kent (Tom Welling). The Superman to be romances Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) and battles teen baldy Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum). It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a show that might not suck!

”Undeclared” (Fox, Tuesdays, 8:30-9 p.m.)
”Freaks and Geeks” executive producer Judd Apatow graduates to college with this fresh looking frosh comedy. We’re ready to declare it a major — hit, that is.

LEAST PROMISING

”Wolf Lake” (CBS, Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m.)
Lou Diamond Phillips and ”The West Wing”’s Tim Matheson live in a town populated by werewolfy folks. In other words, fresh meat waiting to be devoured by time slot rivals ”Law & Order” and ”NYPD Blue.”

”The Dad” (ABC, Wednesdays, 8:30-9 p.m.)
Warning: Jim Belushi takes his shirt off in the pilot for this ”Daddio”-esque laffer. But here’s the real comedy: ”Ally McBeal” evacuee Courtney Thorne-Smith plays his wife.

”Elimidate Deluxe” (the WB, Thursdays, 8:30-9 p.m.)
This reality series finds singles going on fantasy dates with four members of the opposite sex. It’s like ”Chains of Love” without the chains — or the witty repartee. Oh yeah, it’ll survive against ”Survivor.”

”Emeril” (NBC, Tuesdays, 8-8:30 p.m.)
TV chef Emeril Lagasse stars in this distasteful seeming sitcom as himself. May break ”The Flintstones”’ record for most uses of the word ”Bam!” in a half hour.

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