Picks and Pans Main: TV

UPDATED 01/17/2011 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/17/2011 at 01:00 AM EST

The Oprah Winfrey Network

bgwhite bgwhite   



NEW CHANNEL

There's no reason Oprah shouldn't have her own network-her entertainment brand is as clearly defined as Walt Disney's, and her message of self-improvement finds a perfect match in the reality format. But Rome, even when envisioned by mighty Oprah, is not built in a day. The launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on Jan. 1 was bland and soft. It tasted like something meant to coddle a New Year's hangover. The titles she personally introduced include conventional if well-done shows like Searching for..., about a genealogist who helps forge reunions, and a documentary series on the making of Oprah. Forthcoming programs look more promising and capitalize on Winfrey's genius for celebrity confessional. How can you miss with a show about the royal disaster area known as Fergie, Duchess of York?

Episodes

Showtime, Jan. 9, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT |

bgwhite bgwhite   



COMEDY

This broadly written showbiz satire at least does right by Matt LeBlanc. Absent from TV since his Friends spinoff Joey ended in 2006, he plays a grayer, slightly desperate version of himself. This LeBlanc, preoccupied with raising money for a restaurant, is recruited to star in the U.S. version of a British sitcom about an acerbic headmaster. To the shock of the show's married writers (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig), the role becomes a lovable hockey coach. LeBlanc plays "LeBlanc" as vain, manipulative and essentially charming. It's a light, clever performance. But Episodes never convinces us this is really Hollywood: I haven't seen so few cell phones since Mad Men.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

George Turns 1: Raising a Little Prince!
  • George Turns 1: Raising a Little Prince!
  • Ryan and Eva: How They Hid Her Pregnancy
  • Jillian Michaels: Why I Left Biggest Loser

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

Latest Photos

Photo Special

Who's Due Next?

From Our Partners