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TV: Five shows worth watching tonight, Sept. 11

A select viewing guide for Tuesday, Sept. 11

1 of 5

REALITY Bar Rescue Spike, 6:30 p.m. – midnight Buckle up for TV’s loudest reality show. Similar in format to Kitchen Nightmares, in which British chef Gordon Ramsay storms into a struggling restaurant and tells everybody what they’re doing wrong, this program is filmed in flagging bars and nightclubs and the expert is one Jon Taffer, an in-your-face kind of guy who has apparently spent most of his life in watering holes all over the U.S. Even though Taffer’s feedback is mostly common courtesy – give customers clean glasses, don’t put cigarette butts in the deep-fryer and so forth – the bar’s owners are instantly cowed once he goes into his high-volume routine. In tonight’s marathon opener, Jon travels to Cheviot, Ohio, on a rescue mission to a family-operated pub called The Black Sheep. This time, however, the bar may be beyond help since the principal owners have already incurred huge debts to keep the place open.

2 of 5

COMEDY Go On NBC, Global, 9 p.m. For the first time in a long time, NBC has reason to be bullish about a new fall sitcom. The peacock network sneak-peeked the pilot episode of this series starring ex-Friends fixture Matthew Perry during the London Olympics and the premiere drew more than 16 million U.S. viewers – even in an 11 p.m. ET timeslot. The not-so-hilarious premise casts Perry as Ryan King, a sportscaster still reeling from the recent death of his wife in an auto accident. Ryan joins a support group whose members include the rageful lesbian lawyer Anne (Julie White), meek Yolanda (Suzy Nakamura) and angry young man Owen (Tyler James Wlliams). In tonight’s second episode, Ryan tries to distance himself from the group but discovers that life is so much easier when he simply pretends to be getting better. Another life-lesson learned.

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

3 of 5

COMEDY The New Normal NBC, CTV, 9:30 p.m. It was inevitable that another network would try to replicate the success of ABC’s Modern Family. This new series, co-conceived by Glee creator Ryan Murphy, focuses on the way-too-perfect gay couple Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha), who have respective fast-track careers and a beautiful home in Beverly Hills. The only thing missing is a baby, which leads them to cross paths with the strong-willed Goldie (Georgia King), a Midwestern waitress and single mom relocated to L.A. with her eight-year-old daughter. In no time at all, Bryan and David strike a financial pact with Goldie to become their surrogate child-bearer, unaware that Goldie’s small-minded grandmother Jane (Ellen Barkin) is part of the surrogate-family deal. Like Glee, it’s very fast and funny.

4 of 5

DRAMA Parenthood NBC, Global, 10 p.m. Turns out being a parent really is a lifetime commitment. Beginning its fourth season tonight, this series, based on a 1989 feature film, focuses on the members of the unsinkable Braverman family, all of whom are in various stages of parenthood. In tonight’s opener, the entire clan gathers for a family portrait before settling into their usual morass of personal problems. To wit: Fortysomething parents Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) have trouble adjusting when their daughter departs for college; newlyweds Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) clash on the spiritual upbringing of their young son; and scattered Sarah (Lauren Graham) tries to salvage her relationship with Mark (Jason Ritter) while trying to launch her career as an assistant to a photographer named Hank, played by Ray Romano, formerly of Everybody Loves Raymond. Now there was a TV family.

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5 of 5

MOVIE Shades of Black: The Conrad Black Story Bravo!, 9 p.m. The life and times – and alleged business indiscretions – of media magnate Conrad Black provide the dramatic fodder of this 2006 TV movie. Filmed in and around Toronto, the film features an interesting portrayal of Black by acclaimed stage actor and former Street Legal star Albert Schultz as Black. Based on the book by Richard Siklos, the story is set in late 2004 before charges of civil fraud were levied against Black by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Black meets the dogged (and fictionalized) reporter Jeff Sargeant, thereby prompting a series of flashbacks recounting his rise to power and ill-fated relationship with long-time business partner David Radler (Jason Schombing). Lending strong support is Lara Flynn Boyle as Barbara Amiel Black.

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