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Heather Wines/CBS

THR's Tim Goodman looks at three network shows premiering Sept. 22-26. Read full reviews of these and other shows at

Whitney (NBC)
Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.

It's hard to tell how much NBC actually trusts Whitney Cummings (who created wrote and stars in this comedy and also co-created 2 Broke Girls on CBS). She's a newbie and it looks like the reins are still on. A lot of the success of Whitney may hinge on whether people find her likeable or not. But there are fundamental issues holding back the show as well -- beyond the multi-camera fakeness of it all. The premise seems to be that Whitney and Alex aren't married and they're happy that way. Yes, and maybe that's why they need that audience cackling in the background. Hopefully, future episodes will improve.

A Gifted Man (CBS)
Fridays at 8 p.m.

Could it be that someone at CBS has been spoken to by a dead person? They do love those kinds of shows at CBS. There is a recipe at work here that tastes pretty good every time CBS cooks it up. This time, a super-skilled, super-focused surgeon named Michael Holt (Patrick Wilson) is the one interacting with ghosts. The show has its moments, and Wilson's icy perfection is well done. Emmy winner Margo Martindale's small role here better be tripled in size in quite a hurry. She's holding an Emmy but playing an assistant -- she's way better than that. How about less ghost, more Margo? That might help A Gifted Man become better than very average.

Hart of Dixie (The CW)
Mondays at 9 p.m.

This is one show on the CW that will surprise you (and not just because the star isn't a witch or a vampire). It focuses on Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson), a doctor who wants to emulate her absentee surgeon father. At her college graduation, a doctor invites her to his podunk town of Bluebell, Ala. She tells him that's not possible because she's got a plan, but faster than you can say "I saw this fish-out-of-water story coming an hour before the show even started," she's accepting the offer. Complications arise, many of them too rote to mention. But the show could have miles on it if they make Zoe look more like a doctor and less like a high-priced call girl. If you're looking for some sentimental lesson-learning, the wafer-light Hart of Dixie may fill an hour for you. It's I, Claudius compared to Charlie's Angels.


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