Picks and Pans Review: Nightline

updated 12/19/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/19/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (weeknights, 11:35 p.m. ET)

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Ted Koppel ended his nearly 26 years' anchorship of Nightline by warning viewers to stick with the team replacing him: "If you don't, I promise you the network will just put another comedy show in this time slot. And then you'll be sorry."

Now that wise poker face beneath the great weedy clump of hair is gone, and in his stead are the smooth familiar faces of Cynthia McFadden, Terry Moran and Martin Bashir (who will forever be known as the man who got Michael Jackson to say oh so many interesting things). This triumvirate is perfectly competent—they're all seasoned. The first few nights covered everything from AIDS in India to that groundbreaking facial surgery in France. But the setup is somewhat cramped and crowded, considering the show gives the three anchors (and crew) only a half hour to present their stories.

And it's hard to avoid the feeling that Jimmy Kimmel will soon come through the door, set down his duffel bag and tell them all to get out—he's got the lease now.

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