More returning series plus three new shows crack the broadcast lineup this week (see Page 6). It's also time for the first Presidential Debate of 2004, and PBS wraps up the Inspector Lynley series. On cable, MTV launches "Laguna Beach," while TNT journeys "From the Earth to the Moon," with Tom Hanks in Mission
Control. BET offers its first comedy awards. Noggin deals with teenage angst on "Degrassi: The Next Generation." And the whine of husbands heralds "Wife Swap" on ABC.
Revenge of the middle-aged woman
Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS
Based on Elizabeth Buchan's bestseller, this original TV film stars Christine Lahti as Rose, a successful newspaper editor, loving mother and devoted wife whose husband works at the same paper.
Of course, it's all too good to be true. So, yes, Rose loses it all at once.
Her husband Nathan admits he has met someone new, who just happens to be Rose's assistant, Mindy, played by Abby Brammell. Rose is then fired, her job to be filled by the youthful Mindy.
But in spite of her plunge into gloom, Rose finds her survival instincts, and discovers that revenge can be an enjoyable state of mind.
the inspector Lynley Mysteries:
Deception on his mind
Sunday at 9 p.m. on PBS
The fourth and final installment in this series features the lordly detective, played by Nathaniel Parker, honeymooning in Mexico. But when crime calls, he's back on the case.
When the body of a young Pakistani man is found on a beach near an English seaside resort, the detective assigned to the investigation jeopardizes it by focusing too much on the guilt of a suspect.
Lynley returns to England to find the case enmeshed in accusations about racism on the police force and a local community ready to riot.
Now Lynley and partner Barbara Havers, played by Sharon Small, must discover why this suspicious death may mask more than murder.
Mrs. America Pageant 2004
Monday at 9 p.m. on PAX
Forget Atlantic City and the fabled boardwalk as the backdrop for that more well-known beauty pageant -- it's time for other contenders to vie for another tiara.
Broadcast from California's Palm Springs Riviera Hotel, this event will crown the woman who already knows she's queen of her household, and now gets to prove it to all of America.
Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. on PBS
This four-part miniseries takes on major questions about the origins of life, among other lofty issues.
The program covers the formation of the moon, which it reports is the result of a rogue planet -- no indication which one -- slamming into Earth, vaporizing its outer layers and spewing large amounts of matter into our planet's orbit.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and series host, takes viewers on what can literally be called a cosmic journey, as science probes the meaning, and existence, of the universe.
The four two-hour programs are titled "Earth Is Born," "How Life Began," "Where Are the Aliens?" and "Back to the Beginning."
Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ABC
In between the roses and the romance, this dating reality show adds some musical spice to the mix, as pop singer Brandy drops by to perform.
No, Brandy is not joining the ranks of women eager to woo the resident bachelor.
Thursday at 9 p.m. on major networks
The first of what organizers hope will be two or three presidential debates will air live from the University of Miami.
President Bush and Democratic candidate John Kerry will face off in a two-hour exchange.