Comedy: Here are the next big sitcoms

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Here are four upcoming TV comedies, served up fresh and hot:

Aliens in America (The CW)
Mondays, 8:30 p.m.

Different, as well as timely: A Wisconsin family signs up for a foreign exchange student program, but they apparently forget to check off the box that says "Europeans only," and end up with a 16-year-old Pakistani Muslim. Attending high school together, newcomer Raja (Adhir Kalyan) makes friends with his new "brother," Justin (Dan Byrd). Writing partners David Guarascio and Moses Port hardly have an edgy back history, but there's a lot of room for pushing the envelope -- and a network like the CW might be just the place to do it.

Back to You (Fox)
Wednesdays, 8:00 p.m.

Jerky anchorman Chuck Darling (Kelsey Grammer) returns to the newscast he shunned on the way up the ladder, and the co-anchor he feuded with (Patricia Heaton). And yeah, it has a "Cheers"-in-the- newsroom feel to it (hello, Sam and Diane?), and yeah, it's got legends (and "Cheers" vets) Grammer and James Burrows. Throw in writers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, and what can go wrong? Right? Fellas?

Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Mondays, 8:30 p.m.

Theoretical physicists are clearly geeky, laughable and socially inept. Enter the woman who shows them how the real world works. There's plenty of room here for comedy to spark, yet despite the square-pegs-as-heroes premise, there's something vaguely stale about it. Nevertheless, there's a solid writing staff behind the scenes (Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady), and CBS does seem to have a nose for comedy lately.

Cavemen (ABC)
Tuesdays, 8:00 p.m.

So, yeah: A Geico Insurance campaign turns into an ad man's wet dream and becomes a network series. Here goes -- three Neanderthals (real ones, not guys in a fraternity or subsisting in their mothers' basements) have wacky adventures with the more highly evolved. This should go over well with creationists. Then again, "The Flintstones" had a six-season run.


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