As some long-time favorites leave the air along with once-popular television shows suffering from a sophomore slump, the networks have several mid-season replacements waiting in the wings, including the following:
“Homeland Security USA” (ABC)
Debuting with an episode entitled “This is Your Car on Drugs,” this 13-episode reality series takes a look at the inner workings on the Department of Homeland Security. According to a recent press release issued by ABC, the series will cover such issues as illegal immigration, drug smuggling and contraband item sent in the mail; one episode even shows postal officials opening a package of barbecued bats.
With a premise that touches on a few hot-button issues, “Homeland Security USA” could turn into one of those shows that generates a lot of water-cooler buzz and a devoted following.
“Homeland Security USA” debuts Tuesday, January 6 at 8 p.m. ET
“Howie Do It” (NBC)
Comedian Howie Mandel has long been a television staple, starting with his work on the hospital drama “St. Elsewhere.” Riding the tide of his “Deal or No Deal” popularity, Mandel stars in his own reality series which puts a modern twist on shows such as “Candid Camera.”
Like Allen Funt before him, Mandel appears as both the host of “Howie Do It” as well as the perpetrator of some pranks played on unsuspecting victims. Mandel is a likeable guy and his popular game show has made him a brand name, which should draw plenty of viewers to this Friday night show.
“Howie Do It” debuts Friday, January 9 at 8 p.m. ET
“Game Show in My Head” (CBS)
2009 is shaping up to be the year of hidden camera shows, with Ashton Kutcher co-producing “Game Show In My Head.” The premise is simple: wearing an earpiece, contestants hit the streets to perform unusual stunts in public, receiving verbal instructions from host Joe Rogan (“NewsRadio”).
Depending on the type of scenarios the contestants find themselves in, “Game Show in My Head” could become the surprise hit of 2009 or a horrible failure.
“Game Show In My Head” debuts Saturday, January 3 at 8 p.m. ET
Sounding like a cross between “Total Recall” and the recent NBC series “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Dollhouse” is an adventure series focusing on a group of secret operatives called “Actives.” Like a blank slate, each is imprinted with a new personality for their missions, whether that is an assassin or girlfriend, but that persona is wiped away when the Actives return to their headquarters, also known as the Dollhouse.
Eliza Dushku plays Echo, one of the Actives who starts to remember things from her past missions and her life before entering the Dollhouse. Dushku, who gained quite a fan base from her work on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” seems like the perfect choice to star in this series from Joss Whedon (“Firefly). The reteaming of Dushku and Whedon could prove to be an unstoppable force on Friday nights.
“Dollhouse” debuts Friday, February 13 at 9 p.m. ET