By EW Staff
Updated August 18, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: David Bloomer

8-9 PM · THE CW · Debuts Oct. 7

CONCEPT A Manhattan teenager (Leah Pipes) relocates to the South African bush with her vet dad and troubled family. And lions.

THE SCOOP ”We want to be a family show — and then surround that with fish-out-of-water stories and animal stories,” says exec producer Michael Rauch. While several key roles were recast (Everwood‘s Stephanie Niznik steps in as the clan matriarch), Rauch says his bigger concern is reflecting the spirit of South Africa — where the show shoots — without lecturing. ”The network doesn’t want this to be 60 Minutes pieces about the country,” he says. ”So being able to integrate the fabric of South Africa in a way that’s still telling fun stories — that’s the challenge.”

BOTTOM LINE This is a family show featuring lion cubs and cuteness — the real challenge is making all that earnestness work.