'The Cougar'

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Stacey Anderson is 40, sells commercial real estate and has four kids — one of whom is 23, because she got married "for my sweet 16th." But somehow the traditional knocked-up-teen-marriage thing didn't pan out; now she's looking for the next Mr. Anderson. And like any cute, petite blonde today, she turned to the boob tube to find her true boob.

Love, I mean. True love.

Enter the Anderson showcase "The Cougar," an original reality series for TV Land brought to you by that matchmaker in an executive producer suit, Mike Fleiss. He's responsible for "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette," which have had a strong success rate — in the ratings, that is; not so much in the eternal devotion department.

Details, details. The point is that Fleiss' shows are entertaining, and "Cougar" is no exception. Anderson is surrounded by 20 (15 by the end of the first episode) good-looking under-30s, and she'll have to shack up with them until she can find the prize inside the Cracker Jack box, if you know what I mean. If you don't, it means she'll have to find a guy who's secure enough in his modern masculinity to be a) straight and b) not threatened by her career or age. Did I mention she has four kids?

Casting is the key for this kind of show, and they've found a hottie in Anderson, but she's somewhat enigmatic thus far. Host Vivica A. Fox has a tired routine made of 98% sass, so it's up to the guys to keep things interesting, and they don't disappoint. In fact, they bring props — lots of them: a guitar, a champagne bottle, a safari hat, bad poetry and even an ex-Marine's salute, followed by his "reporting for booty call."

Semper fi!

Can this work? It's a well-made show with a proven template, but others including "Ivana Young Man" and "Age of Love" have trod this road before. The novelty value might not last an entire season, but if anyone can make this ship sail, it's Fleiss. For now, though, it's fun just to watch the men do the catfighting for once.
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