Two very different prime-time series -- one about a newly ordained minister, the other about a driven movie producer and a prostitute -- debut this week, as do two daytime talk shows. Returning are two ABC series, one from Fox and one syndicated talk show.
Pax stations (area broadcast Channels 66 and 60) introduce "Hope Island" Sunday at 9, an hour-long series starring Cameron Daddo as a clergyman who moves to a quaint town happily rooted in the past and sets about meeting its quirky residents.
Fox steps up Thursday at 9 with two episodes of "Action," its adult-oriented spoof on the movie industry starring Jay Mohr as salty producer Peter Dragon and Illeana Douglas as a former child star turned prostitute who also has a knack for judging scripts. The two starred together in the 1997 film "Picture Perfect."
Fox describes the series as "a half-hour comedy that exposes the absurdity of Hollywood's cutthroat movie business as it alternately skewers, roasts and toasts the industry and its players -- complete with cameo appearances by A-list stars."
Two syndicated weekday series bow Monday. "Martin Short," a talk-variety show starring the comic, airs at 10 a.m. on WBAL and 11 a.m. on WJLA. "Dr. Joy Browne," featuring the clinical psychologist, airs at 10 a.m. on WJZ and 1 p.m. on WDCA. "Leeza" begins its seventh season at 2 p.m. on WDCA, switching from its previous home on WRC. WBFF airs that show at noon.
In addition, ABC begins new seasons for "20/20" Monday at 8, and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" Thursday at 8. Also returning Thursday at 8 is Fox's "World's Wildest Police Videos."
And Monday at 7 a.m., "Good Morning America" begins broadcasting from new studios at Times Square.
ALSO THIS WEEK
SABRINA GOES TO ROME
Sunday at 7 on ABC
This "Wonderful World of Disney" movie features Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, with the star of that series, Melissa Joan Hart, off to Rome to try to solve a family mystery. As she does, she tours the Eternal City and finds romance with an American photographer, played by Eddie Mills -- until he tries to cash in on her special powers.
"An American Love Story"
Sunday to Thursday at 9 on PBS
To create one of the most comprehensive portraits of an American family ever made, filmmaker Jennifer Fox and her co-producer and sound recordist, Jennifer Fleming, spent a year and a half living with Bill Sims and Karen Wilson and their daughters. They recorded more than 1,000 hours of footage for a 10-hour program airing over five nights.
The Queens, N.Y., couple -- he is black, she is white -- have been together more than 30 years and married 20. She's a corporate manager; he's a jazz-and-blues musician who mans the homefront (and in the seventh episode, cares for his wife when she returns home from surgery).
Cicily, 20, was a student at Colgate when this film was made six years ago, and Chaney, 12, was a seventh grader.
During the 18 months Fox filmed, Karen and Bill returned to Ohio for her 25th high-school reunion; he came to terms with a drinking problem; Chaney encountered her first romance; and Cicily went to Nigeria, fell in love, contracted malaria, then returned to became the first college graduate in either family.
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL . . .
THE SEARCH FOR
MISS AMERICA 2000
Thursday at 9 on ABC
Miss America 1999, Virginia's Nicole Johnson, pairs up with Nancy O'Dell of "Access Hollywood" to get to know all 51 contestants for the millennium crown.
MISS AMERICA PAGEANT
Saturday at 8 on ABC
Donny and Marie Osmond host the 79th pageant from Atlantic City, with musical performances by 98 Degrees. The current Miss America is Nicole Johnson of Virginia Beach.
The pageant also will honor singer, songwriter and actress Gloria Loring for her charitable efforts on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
Judges will be actors Tia Carrere and Michael Badalucco; Briana Scurry, goalkeeper for the 1999 Women's World Cup Soccer champion U.S. team; Judge Judy Sheindlin, a syndicated talk-show host; former Miss America and broadcast journalist Gretchen Carlson; and Nely Galan, Telemundo's president of entertainment.
From five finalists, the judges select Miss America 2000 based on on-stage interviews, talent, evening gown and swimwear competitions.
Fans should note the pageant begins an hour earlier than in previous years.