08:49 AM

What's On The Tube?

Three shows debut this week on network television: two comedies and the latest installment in the Survivor franchise.

The term "midseason replacement," in the world of TV, is the polite way of saying "shows taking the place of those that debuted in the fall but were canceled." Well, we're in the heart of that season right now, and this week offers a trio of newcomers.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Watching Ellie
First off is Watching Ellie, at 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesdays on NBC. It marks Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus' return to the tube, nearly four years after the end of one of TV's best ever. She follows failed attempts by Michael Richards, Jason Alexander, and Patrick Warburton, all of whom starred in shows that didn't make it to winter. The show centers on Louis-Dreyfus as Ellie Riggs, a club singer in Los Angeles, and the annoyances she encounters, such as her ex-boyfriend and her much-too-pretty, married younger sister (played by her real sister, Lauren Bowles).

The twist here is that each episode takes place in real time, meaning the 22 minutes of time spent watching (minus commercials) is 22 minutes of show time.

Watching Ellie is backed by names that give hope to Seinfeld fans craving a taste of more from one of that show's stars. It was created by Louis-Dreyfus' husband, Brad Hall (Saturday Night Live, Brooklyn Bridge) and co-stars Peter Stormare (Fargo), Steve Carell (The Daily Show), Don Lake (Best In Show), and others. The pilot was directed by Ken Kwapis (The Larry Sanders Show, Malcolm In The Middle).

Thursday offers two new shows this week. First is Leap Of Faith, at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC. The "leap of faith" here is the star's return to the singles scene after breaking off her engagement. Sarah Paulson (Jack And Jill) plays Faith Wardwell, who stars in this comedy about the relationships among a close group of thirtysomething friends. If that sounds like HBO's Sex And The City, it's because this show comes to us from Jenny Bicks, a writer and producer on Sex.

The ensemble cast includes Lisa Edelstein Faith, Ken Marino, Regina King, Tim Meadows, and Jill Clayburgh.

Also on Thursday is Survivor: Marquesas, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The king of reality show's fourth and newest installment heads to the South Pacific and the island of Nuku Hiva, the largest island in the Marquesas archipelago.

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