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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

’Coupling’ will push envelope

Wednesday 10 September 2003, by isa

By Melissa Scott News Journal

There are no plans for full-frontal male nudity so far, but NBC’s fall offering "Coupling" pushes the envelope with its racy subject matter — sex and dating.

Dubbed the network’s answer to "Sex and The City," which does show the male and female body in all its glory, "Coupling" promises to add a little spice to a friendly Thursday night.

If "Coupling" lives up to all the hype, NBC will have an unbeatable Must-See TV lineup. Following "Will and Grace" and preceding "ER" you would think "Coupling," which will air at 9:30 p.m., can’t miss. But other shows have had little luck gaining a strong audience on Thursday nights, "Veronica’s Closet" and "Good Morning, Miami" to name two.

Only one network will challenge NBC in Thursday night comedy this year.

"Run of the House" will air on the WB at 9:30 p.m. Although at first glance the premise of the series seems tame — four siblings living at their absentee parent’s home — there is hope for the show. Some of the people behind this sitcom worked with "My So Called Life," "The Nanny" and "That 70’s Show."

The networks are moving away from comedy with its other new Thursday offerings.

The WB will challenge "Friends" with "Steve Harvey’s Big Time" at 8 p.m. The new reality series will look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. Harvey will host this talk/variety show that will feature everyday people.

And ABC and Fox will take a different approach. They are rolling out new dramas this fall.

For those who can’t get enough of war and terrorism coverage, al-Qaida and threats to national security will be the focus of ABC’s "Threat Matrix," which will air at 8 p.m. The show follows the adventures of a special elite task force that protects America from evil.

And Fox will feature Eliza Dushku of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as Tru Davies in "Tru Calling," which will air at 8 p.m.

Dushku is seeing dead people in this series about a recent college grad who has taken a job at the morgue. In the fashion of "Groundhog Day," Tru Davies is given the opportunity to relive a day someone is murdered in order to save them and prevent their body from ending up in the morgue.

I like Dushku. I loved "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." But I think Dushku would have been better off signing on for a sequel to "Buffy" than "Tru Calling."

Last season’s "Haunted," about a private investigator trying to solve crimes of the dead, failed miserably. I predict the same for "Tru Calling." I will withhold judgment for a little while, however, because the show comes from executive producer/writer Jon Feldman of "American Dreams," "Roswell" and "Dawson’s Creek — three shows I love.

"Tru Calling" will be followed by "The O.C." at 9 p.m. "The O.C." debuted Aug. 5 and will air seven episodes on Tuesdays before taking a six-week hiatus and coming back on Thursdays.

Not all of Thursday night will be unfamiliar. Old favorites will return.

NBC will have "Friends" at 8 p.m., "Scrubs" at 8:30, "Will and Grace" at 9 and "ER" at 10.

"Extreme Makeover" will air at 9 p.m. on ABC before "Primetime Thursday" at 10.

CBS will have "Big Brother" at 8 p.m., "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" at 9 and "Without a Trace" at 10.

UPN will keep WWE Smackdown.

And the WB will offer "The Jamie Kennedy Experiment" at 8:30 p.m. and "What I Like About You" at 9.

Next week: Friday has everything from romance to comedy to a teen who talks to God.

TV Turn-Ons is written by News Journal copy editor Melissa Scott. E-mail her at mscott@nncogannett.com.

If "Coupling" lives up to all the hype, NBC will have an unbeatable Must-See TV lineup.