Empty10-11 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 6
Think of "Women's Murder Club" without the murder or "Big Shots" with designer bags and you've got a pretty good handle on ABC's "Cashmere Mafia."
The credits list Darren Star as an executive producer, but there's no confusing this show, with its four beautiful women friends, with Star's "Sex and the City" or even a tamer, network version of that show.
The premise is that four women who met during business school have remained best friends for more than a decade. There's Mia (Lucy Liu), whose recent engagement to co-worker Jack (guest star Tom Everett Scott) faces an immediate test. Within days, one will be promoted to publisher and the other will be fired. All might be fair in love and war, but not, as it turns out, at the same time.
Then there's Wall Street honcho Zoe (Frances O'Connor), married to the only nice guy in New York, architect Eric (Julian Ovenden). To balance the scales, she is plagued by nanny problems. There's Miranda Otto as Juliet (in real estate, I think), whose husband, Davis (Peter Hermann), is cheating on her. And finally there's Caitlin (Bonnie Somerville), who gets busy channeling Tila Tequila to discover whose team she should be playing for. (Her brother, a Catholic priest, is tolerant, even sympathetic and supportive. Got to find out where that church is.)
The clothes are glamorous and the settings are chic, but the lives of these women are parodies of businesswomen, or perhaps stereotypes. For every moment they spend doing actual work, they spend hours texting one another, getting makeovers and referring to men as subhuman sex objects, more or less.
Despite all of that, these women might still be fun to watch if only writer-creator Kevin Wade had provided them with wittier, smarter dialogue. In this show, cattiness poses as humor and relationship dilemmas are considered business as usual. Meanwhile, good men are hard to find, but great parking spaces are everywhere.
For a series like "Cashmere Mafia" to survive, there would have to be practically no other dramas to watch and, whaddya know, that just might be the case, as more scripted shows fall victim to the writers strike.
Following its premiere Sunday, "Cashmere Mafia" will move to its regular slot at 10 p.m. Wednesdays.
Darren Star Prods., Back Wast Pictures and Gail Katz Prods. in association with Sony Pictures Television
Executive producers: Darren Star, Kevin Wade, Peyton Reed, Gail Katz
Co-executive producer: Susie Fitzgerald
Produced by: Jane Raab, Alysse Bezahler
Producer: Abram Hatch
Co-producers: Cathy Frank, Michael Stricks
Director: Michael Pressman
Creator-teleplay: Kevin Wade
Directors of photography: Frank Prinzi, Peter Deming
Production designers: Stephen Hendrickson, Jane Musky
Editor: Timothy Boettcher
Music: Daniel Licht
Set designer: Richard Devine
Casting: Bonnie Finnegan, Steven Jacobs
Mia: Lucy Liu
Zoe: Frances O'Connor
Juliet: Miranda Otto
Caitlin: Bonnie Somerville
Davis: Peter Hermann
Eric: Julian Ovenden
Jack Cutting: Tom Everett Scott
Alicia Lawson: Lourdes Benedicto
Brooke Adaire: Anna Camp
Cilla Grey: Noelle Beck