EW.com gives you the pros and cons of midseason replacements from Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ''That '70s Show'' creators, Kevin Wlliamson, and more

By Ken Tucker
Updated February 22, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Credit: Julia Louis-Dreyfus: Jeffrey Thurnher/NBC
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Yep, just when you think you’ve got the prime-time schedule figured out, it’s mid-season replacement time! Here are a some of the most awaited upcoming series, with pros and cons for the success of each.

”Watching Ellie” (NBC — premieres later this season)
This is the Julia Louis-Dreyfus project, which has had a couple of different titles and maybe this one won’t stick, either. In any case, the premise is that each episode takes place in ”real time” — 22 minutes in the life of a struggling nightclub singer.
Pro Could be terrific. Louis-Dreyfus is a funny person, and the gimmick might work. Call it ”24” with laughs.
Con We just hope there are some laughs, that is — given the poor choices Louis-Dreyfus’ ”Seinfeld” costars, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander, have made recently.

”The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” (WB — premieres Jan. 13)
The likable actor (”Scream,” ”Three Kings”) plays pranks on real people.
Pro The guy’s got range, fooling bystanders that he is actually people as various as an obnoxious white rapper and a petulant infomercial huckster.
Con After a few weeks of pranking, the show might prove to be just ”Candid Camera” with a nice guy.

”First Monday” (CBS — premieres Jan. 15)
James Garner, who played a cowboy named Maverick in the ’60s, returns to TV as a maverick Chief Justice presiding over Joe Mantegna, Charles Durning, and a Court packed with bickering conservatives and liberals.
Pro The seasoned vets here could do for the Court what ”The West Wing” did for the Presidency: make patriotism stirring.
Con From the creators of ”JAG,” this could be a weekly melodrama with a bunch of aging cranks.

”That ’80s Show” (Fox — premieres Jan. 23)
Just what you think it is — a new show from the folks who brought you ”That ’70s Show.”
Pro C’mon, it’s the folks who brought you ”That ’70s Show” — smarter than merely smiley-face nostalgia, right?
Con But with none of that series’ cast, and set in a decade we commonly view as having been kinda dull, this sitcom may have to search hard for its period-humor.

Watching Ellie

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