CBS (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET, and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET)

In its first season Rock Star found a new lead vocalist for INXS. This time the competition wants a singer able to pierce the sonic boom generated by a new group formed by bad-boy drummer Tommy Lee, onetime Metallica bassist Jason Newsted and ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke. Supernova will record an album, tour the world and, if all goes well, be profiled some day on VH1's Behind the Music. The show has a good heart beneath all the tattoos, piercings and 'tude: Everyone, no matter how good or bad, seems honored to carry the flame of rock and roll. One singer, named Dilana, did such a ferocious cover of Nirvana's "Lithium," she practically ate the drum kit. Tommy Lee, stunned by her awesomeness, simply rubbed a tear from his eye.

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Sci Fi (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. ET)

Colin Ferguson (Coupling) is a U.S. marshal caught up in a mystery town populated by geniuses, like a barrel stocked with mutant carp. If someone is making mischief with a device that blips out memory, that's a day in the life of Eureka. The show borrows from Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks, maybe the corporate drama Profit—too many to gauge how it'll develop. But Ferguson has the right tone of bone-tired disbelief.

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Lifetime (Sundays, 10 p.m. ET)

FBI agent Angela Henson (Abigail Spencer) has porcelain skin, an uncompromisingly taut jaw and the ability to suss out whether a suspect is lying. Sort of like Jennifer Love Hewitt, only with an internal polygraph instead of psychic ability. Emotionally, she's overcoming (overcompensating for?) the shameful fibs that rocked her childhood: Her parents, now rotting in prison, were notorious spies. In fact, Angela suspects her father of still trying to pull a fast one over her—but what's his game?

This backstory has some potential brooding power, but the acting in the kickoff episode is awfully anemic, and that's no lie.


When he first heard the concept for Rock Star, "I remember sitting in my car thinking, 'This could be amazing,'" says the 43-year-old rock drummer, who had his own taste of reality last year with Tommy Lee Goes to College. What's he looking for in a singer? "Bigger than life or very elusive like you can't really get to them. Or a guy like Marilyn Manson [where] you don't know if he's going to make it to the stage."

The One: Making a Music Star (ABC, July 18, 9 p.m. ET) The latest variation on American Idol, although it's actually based on a series from Spain. Eleven contestants in a music academy.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, July 18, 10 p.m. ET) Repeat about a 14-year-old caught up in murder. Stars Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni are both up for Emmys. Congrats!

Reno 911! (Comedy Central, Sundays, 10:30 p.m. ET) Fourth season of the flaky parody of reality cop shows. One of TV's best ensembles.

So You Think You Can Dance (FOX, July 19, 9 p.m. ET) Down to the final 10, all of 'em still dreaming of that prize gig with Celine Dion.

Sexual Healing (Showtime, July 21, 10 p.m. ET) Reality show about couples in therapy. From the creators of the never-dull Taxi Cab Confessions.

Ron Livingston AGE: 39 STATUS: Single CURRENTLY PLAYING: A doomed filmmaker in an episode of Stephen King's Nightmares & Dreamscapes on TNT.


The Shining was one of my favorites. Horror is one of the [reactions] you have to his imagination. It's always familiar—the girl who gets picked on, or your car, your dad. That makes his writing compelling. Whatever reaction we're having, it's because of something we recognize.


My dreams are generally about bad scripts, reviews or both.


When in doubt, I'll rip off something Tom Hanks did 20 years ago.


We start filming the show next week. My little brother got married, and now I am ready to go to work.


Oh, you know ... that sort of thing comes when it comes.

A few thoughts on the nominations, announced July 6:

IRRATIONALLY EXUBERANT. That Kyra Sedgwick is up for best actress for TNT's The Closer. Crackerjack performance. And that Christina Ricci was remembered for her dramatic contribution to the bomb scare on Grey's Anatomy.

TICKED. That Showtime's now-canceled house of histrionics, Huff, got three acting nominations, while HBO's brilliant Big Love was shown no love for its stars.

BUMMED OUT. That Mary Lynn Rajskub was ignored from FOX's 24, where she's sensible, sarcastic Chloe O'Brian. I'm crushed, actually, crushed like a terrorist's plot.