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Mid-Season Preview

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When the writers strike abbreviated the Fall TV Season back in 2007, few knew some fourteen months later that both broadcast and cable networks would still suffer from its effects. Add to that a down-turned economy and the resulting mid-season schedule of replacements is modest at best.

Some replacement shows have had their debuts pushed till late Spring or Summer (ABC's The Goode Family). Others, like NBC's The Listener have been taken off the schedule completely, at least for now. Existing schedules and time slots have been shifted and shaken, all in hopes of high ratings and hit shows to make up for the networks dismal Fall 2008 showings, where straight to series projects pretty much tanked upon take-off like NBC's My Own Worst Enemy.

Below is a quick breakdown of replacement shows that made it through and debut soon:

ABC

Castle

Premiere: Monday, March 9, 10:00-11:00pm

A wildly famous mystery novelist, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion, "Desperate Housewives"), bored with his own success, learns that a real-world copycat killer is re-enacting murder scenes depicted in his novels. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic, "The Spirit"), a bright, feisty, sometimes aggressive NYPD Detective, is assigned to the case and tracks Rick down to ask him a few questions. Sparks fly, the two instantly clash, setting up a raucous roller-coaster ride of murder and romance on the road to unraveling the crime. And once that case is solved, the newly-linked duo look to solve more baffling homicides together in the Big Apple. Castle also stars Ruben Santiago-Hudson ("Law & Order") as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery, Tamala Jones ("Daddy Day Camp") as Medical Examiner Lanie Parish, Jon Huertas ("Generation Kill") as NYPD Detective Tony Esposito and Seamus Dever ("Army Wives") as NYPD Detective Kevin Ryan.

Cupid

Premiere: TBD

Larger than life bachelor Trevor Pierce (Bobby Cannavale, "Will & Grace"), who may or may not be the Roman god of love, Cupid, is sent to Earth to bring 100 couples together before he can return home, or so he says, to Mt. Olympus. As the fates would have it, Trevor is under the care of psychiatrist and self-help author Dr. Claire McCrae (Sarah Paulson, "The Spirit," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"), who is just as dedicated to helping lonely hearts find their soul mates. When it comes to love, Claire believes it's all about friendship and compatibility, but for Trevor, chemistry and passion rule. Rick Gomez ("Love Ranch") as Felix and Camille Guaty ("Chaos Theory") as Lita, fill-out out the rest of the cast.

The Unusuals

Premiere: Wednesday, April 8, 10:00-11:00pm

Cops have a code - you've got to have a twisted sense of humor, because every moment could be your last. Just ask Casey Shraeger (Amber Tamblyn, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"), who started her day as an NYPD vice detective and after an out-of-the-blue transfer, ends her day as a homicide cop. She quickly learns not only does everyone in her new department share that twisted sense of humor, but also a closet full of dirty little secrets.

The series also stars Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker") as Detective Jason Walsh, Harold Perrineau ("Lost") as Detective Leo Banks, Josh Close ("Day the Earth Stood Still") as Detective Henry Cole, Monique Gabriela Curnen ("Che") as Detective Allison Beaumont, Kai Lennox ("$0 Days and 40 Nights") as Detective Eddie Alvarez, with Terry Kinney ("Devil in a Blue Dress") as Sergeant Harvey Brown and Adam Goldberg ("Entourage") as Detective Eric Delahoy.

CBS

Game Show in My Head

Premieres Saturday, Jan. 3, 8:00-9:00pm

Actor, funnyman Ashton Kutcher ("What Happens in Vegas", "That 70's Show") presents a hidden camera game show where ordinary people perform extraordinary tasks on an unsuspecting public to win up to $50,000. Under the watchful eye of host Joe Rogan, each contestant performs five outrageous, embarrassing and hilarious tasks worth $5,000 each. In the no-holds-barred bonus round, each contestant then has the chance to double their money up to $50,000.

Harper's Island

Premieres Thursday, April 9, 10:00-11:00pm

A group of family and friends travel to a secluded island for a destination wedding. They've come to laugh, love, celebrate and, though they don't know it yet - to die. As the wedding festivities begin, friendships are tested, secrets exposed. And one by one, an unknown killer claims his victims, transforming the wedding week of fun and celebration into a primal struggle for survival. Katie Cassidy ("Supernatural") plays Trish Wellington. Christopher Gorham ("Ugly Betty") also stars as Henry Dunn. Gina Holden ("Flash Gordon"), Harry Hamlin ("L.A. Law"), Richard Burgi ("Desperate Housewives") and Jim Beaver ("John From Cincinnati") round out the cast.

NBC

Kings

Premieres Thursday, March 19th. 9:00-10:00pm

Christopher Egan ("Vanished") stars as David Shephard, and Ian McShane ("Deadwood" ) as Silas Benjamin in the modern day re-telling of the historical story of King David, where a young, heroic soldier winds up dethroning a corrupt monarch to become the king of a great and powerful city. Allison Miller ("Boston Legal") as Princess Michelle Benjamin, Sebastian Stan ("Gossip Girl") as Prince Jack Benjamin, Susanna Thompson ("The Ballad of Jack and Rose") as Queen Rose Benjamin, Brian Cox ("Zodiac") as King Vesper are also cast in the series.

Momma's Boys

Premieres Tuesday, Dec. 16, 10:00-11:00pm

This new primetime reality that asks the question: who is the most important woman in a man's life? "Momma's Boys" centers on a group of mothers who must help choose the perfect woman for their complacent sons. First, the eligible women will have to get by Mom, then the mothers, their bachelor sons, and the potential mates are thrown together under one roof. Grant Julian ("Bingo America") executive produces.

THE CW

13: Fear is Real

Premieres Wednesday, Jan. 7 (time to be determined)

Thirteen people compete to "stay alive" while facing their deep and darkest fears in an all-out, elimination driven stunt and scare-fest. Gunnar Witterberg created the series. Sam Raimi ("Spiderman -3") executive produces.

FOX

Dollhouse

Premieres Friday, Feb. 13, 9:00-10:00pm

A group of agents working for a shadowy organization are programmed with certain talents and personality traits for specific missions. Between assignments, they reside in a compound called the Dollhouse where their memories are wiped clean. When one member of the group becomes self-aware, she starts trying to find answers to who she really is and the company's mysterious purpose. Joss Whedon ("Buffy") created the show. Eliza Dushku ("Bottle Shock") and Tamoh Penikett ("Smallville") head the cast. Olivia Willams ("Tara Road"), Fran Kranz ("The Village), Dichen Lachmen ("Aquamarine") and Harry J Lennix ("Little Britain") also star.

Lie to Me

Premieres Wednesday, Jan 21, 9:00-10:00pm

Tim Roth ("The Incredible Hulk," "Reservoir Dogs") plays Dr. Cal Lightman, who has the ability to detect the truth by analyzing a person's face, body, voice and speech. When someone shrugs one shoulder, rotates their hand or raises their lower lip, Lightman knows they're lying. By analyzing facial expressions, he can read feelings - from hidden resentment to sexual attraction to jealousy. Lightman heads a team of experts enlisted to assist federal law enforcement, government agencies and local police with their most difficult cases. But Lightman soon learns, his scientific gift is both a blessing and a curse in a world where family and friends deceive each other as readily as criminals do. Kelli Willaims ("Men in Trees," "The Practice") also stars as Dr. Gillian Foster.

CABLE

The Beast (A&E).

Patrick Swayze ("Ghost", "Dirty Dancing') stars as Charles Barker, a veteran FBI agent with unorthodox methods who is unaware his rookie partner. Ellis Dove, played by Travis Fimmel ("Tarzan"), is secretly investigating him. Lindsay Pulsipher ("Eleventh Hour"), Brette Taylor ("Laws of Attraction") and Kirk Jones ("Tell Me You Love Me") also star.

Leverage (TNT)

Debuted: Sunday December 7

Timothy Hutton ("The Alphabet Killer," "The Good Shepherd") stars as Nathan Ford, a former insurance investigator who hand-picks four, high-tech compatriots with exceptional thieving, hacking and grifting skills and together they travel the world, robbing wealthy criminals and corrupt businessmen and politicians.

Aldis Hodge ("C.S.I."), Christian Kane ("Angel"), Gina Bellman ("Coupling') and Beth Riesgraf ("My Name is Earl") are on-board as his cohorts.

Trust Me (TNT)

Premiere: Monday, Jan. 26, 10:00-11:00pm

Eric McCormack ("Will & Grace" ) and Tom Cavanagh ( "Ed" ) return to series television in this sharp, witty, drama that centers on two best friends working as creative partners at a top-ranked Chicago ad agency. Joining them are Hector played by Geoffrey Arend ('Garden State") and Tom, played by Mike Damus("Numb3rs") as a junior team with untraditional ideas that don't always sit well with their new boss, and Monica Potter("Saw") plays new hire Sarah Krajicek-Hunter, an award-winning copywriter whose forceful personality immediately rubs people the wrong way.

United States of Tara (SHOWTIME)

Premieres Sunday Jan. 18, 10:00-10:30pm

Toni Collette () stars as Tara, the wife and mother of a dysfunctional blue-collar family, who just happens to be suffering from a dissociative identity disorder that brings out two additional personalities when she's under stress. John Corbett ('Northern Exposure") joins her as husband Max, Fred Ward ("Sweet Home Alabama" )as Frank, and Brie Larson("No Place Like Home" ) as daughter Brie.

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