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New series fill summer TV schedule

Dale Roe
Jack Bailey, left, (Colin Hanks) and Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford) play 'The Good Guys.'

Summer is no longer the television wasteland it used to be. Cable networks took the lead by scheduling new reality fare, then honest-to-goodness serialized fiction. The networks were slower to come on board, but they are beginning to introduce new summer programming as well, either to burn off unaired episodes of canceled shows or as a testing ground for programs that will return as mid-season replacements for the upcoming fall season's early losers. Some big-name returning shows have already washed up on summer's TV beach: ABC's "The Bachelorette;" TNT's "Saving Grace;" and Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," to name a few. New programs that have already debuted include the NBC comedy "100 Questions" and TLC's "Mall Cops: Mall of America" (OK, now that sounds like a summer show).

In June alone, there are half a dozen premieres I'm really looking forward to:

  • 'The Good Guys,' 8 p.m. June 7, Fox. Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford star in this odd throwback of a buddy-cop dramedy set and shot in Dallas. Hanks is the by-the-book ladder climber and Whitford chews up the scenery as a drunken, washed-up, womanizing, porn-mustached "Starsky & Hutch"-type rebel. The pilot (sneak peeked in early May) was neither as funny nor as smart as it wanted to be, but these "Good Guys" have the potential to show viewers a good time.
  • 'Persons Unknown,' 9 p.m. June 7, NBC. This 13-episode miniseries incorporates science fiction elements into a show about a group of strangers who find themselves in a deserted town with no idea how they arrived there. Security cameras follow the characters' every move as the cast of television veterans, including "Spin City's" Alan Ruck, tries to discover why they are there and how they can escape. It's not a wholly original concept, but it could prove a fun replacement for mourning "Lost" fans. Then again, it could be another "Harper's Island," last summer's lame CBS mystery.
  • 'Work of Art: The Next Great Artist,' 10 p.m. June 9, Bravo. The reality genre gets a dose of culture in this program, which finds 14 aspiring artists competing for a cash prize and a show at a nationally recognized museum. Art world luminaries appraise their work (there will be no "judging" here — that's so pedestrian!) based on concept and execution.
  • 'True Blood,' 8 p.m. June 13, HBO. Last season's white-hot supernatural drama took a creative stumble with the drawn-out Maenad storyline and Evan Rachel Wood's awful Queen Sophie-Anne (she's coming back; be very afraid) but the ongoing triangular tension between Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin); her vampire suitor Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer); and vampire Sheriff Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) promises plenty of hilarious and scary thrills.
  • 'Futurama,' 9 p.m. June 24, Comedy Central. Good news, everybody! Positive response to reruns and sales of original DVD episodes have prompted 20th Century Fox Television to bring back Bender, Fry, Leela, Zoidberg and the gang for new episodes. You might recall the same thing happening to another little canceled animated comedy called "Family Guy." The premiere outing, "Rebirth," heads up a two-episode, one-hour special.
  • 'Hung' Sunday, 9 p.m. June 27, HBO. This will be the make-or-break season for HBO's male prostitute comedy, which survived a lackluster first season almost solely on the strength of Jane Adams' characterization of Tanya Skagle, a reluctant and incompetent new-agey pimp. "Hung" might be a hard sell for fans of the more refined "Treme," which concludes its freshman season in this time slot a week earlier.

The complete list

  • Monday, May 31: 'Cake Boss' (8 p.m., TLC); 'True Beauty' (9 p.m., ABC); 'Dad Camp' (9:30 p.m., VH1)
  • Tuesday, June 1: 'Wipeout' (sneak peek 7 p.m., ABC); ‘Hell's Kitchen' (7 p.m., Fox); ‘America's Got Talent' (7 p.m., NBC); ‘One Big Happy Family' (8 p.m., TLC); ‘Losing It with Jillian' (9 p.m., NBC); ‘Jersey Couture' (9 p.m., Oxygen); ‘The Little Couple' (9 p.m., TLC)
  • Wednesday, June 2: 'Are We There Yet?' (8 p.m., TBS); ‘Toddlers and Tiaras' (9 p.m., TLC)
  • Thursday, June 3: 'Burn Notice' (8 p.m., USA); ‘Royal Pains' (9 p.m., USA)
  • Friday, June 4: 'Whale Wars' (8 p.m., Animal Planet); ‘Battle of the Wedding Planners' (9 p.m., TLC)
  • Sunday, June 6: 'The Making of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter' (special, 6 p.m., NBC); ‘Sons of Tucson' (6:30 p.m., Fox); ‘Next Food Network Star' (8 p.m., Food); ‘Drop Dead Diva' (8 p.m., Lifetime); ‘The Hard Times of RJ Berger' (10 p.m., MTV)
  • Monday, June 7: 'Last Comic Standing' (7 p.m., ABC); ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager' (7 p.m., ABC Family); ‘Lie to Me' (7 p.m., Fox); ‘The Good Guys' (8 p.m., Fox); ‘Persons Unknown' (9 p.m., NBC); ‘Dance Your Ass Off' (10 p.m., Oxygen)
  • Tuesday, June 8: 'Pretty Little Liars' (7 p.m., ABC Family)
  • Wednesday, June 9: 'Work of Art: The Next Great Artist' (10 p.m., Bravo); ‘You're Cut Off!' (8 p.m., VH1)
  • Thursday, June 10: 'So You Think You Can Dance' (Time slot premiere, 8 p.m.); ‘Penn & Teller: B.S.!' (9 p.m., Showtime); ‘The Green Room With Paul Provenza' (9:30 p.m., Showtime)
  • Saturday, June 12: 'Beautiful People' (9 p.m., Logo); ‘The Jaquie Brown Diaries' (9:30 p.m., Logo)
  • Sunday, June 13: 'Unnatural History' (7 p.m., Cartoon); ‘True Blood' (8 p.m., HBO); ‘Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami' (9 p.m., E!); ‘HGTV Design Star' (9 p.m., HGTV); ‘Holly's World' (9:30 p.m., E!)
  • Monday, June 14: 'Warren The Ape' (9:30 p.m., MTV)
  • Tuesday, June 15: 'Double Exposure' (9 p.m., Bravo)
  • Wednesday, June 16: 'The Fabulous Beekman Boys' (8 p.m., Green); ‘Hot in Cleveland' (9 p.m., TVLand)
  • Friday, June 18: 'Cupcake Wars' (9 p.m., Food)
  • Sunday, June 20: 'The Gates' (8 p.m., ABC); ‘Leverage' (8 p.m., TNT); ‘Scoundrels' (9 p.m., ABC); ‘The Real L Word' (9 p.m., Showtime)
  • Tuesday, June 22: 'Wipeout' (7 p.m., ABC); ‘Downfall' (8 p.m., ABC); ‘HawthoRNe' (8 p.m., TNT); ‘Memphis Beat' (9 p.m., TNT)
  • Thursday, June 24: 'Rookie Blue' (8 p.m., ABC); ‘Boston Med' (9 p.m., ABC); ‘Futurama' (9 p.m., Comedy)
  • Sunday, June 27: 'Entourage' (8 p.m., HBO); ‘Hung' (9 p.m., HBO)
  • Monday, June 28: 'Huge' (8 p.m., ABC Family); ‘Make It or Break It' (9 p.m., ABC Family)
  • Tuesday, June 29: 'Downfall' (8 p.m., ABC); ‘Rescue Me' (9 p.m., FX); ‘Louie' (10 p.m., FX)
  • Wednesday, June 30: 'Raising Sextuplets' (9 p.m., WE)