Cory In the House



9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12
Disney Channel

Success for "Cory in the House," a new sitcom aimed at children and tweens, is all but assured. That is because the spinoff of "That's So Raven," the network's highest-rated show, carefully follows the winning formula that Disney Channel has developed for nearly all its sitcoms in recent years. It is full of appealing kids of mixed ethnicity and a handful of addled adults. Each week, there is lots of physical humor and a problem that always is less serious than meets the eye.

Kyle Massey and Rondell Sheridan reprise their roles as Cory Baxter and his father, Victor. Dad is the new White House chef and both now make their home at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. At Victor's new school, a high-toned academy with an international student body, he meets new friends Newt Livingston III (Jason Dolley), a likable ditz, and Meena Paroom (Maiara Walsh), the daughter of the stuffy ambassador from fictional Bahavia. Judging from Walsh's stage accent, Bahavia shares a border with India.

The series, from Dennis Rinsler and Marc Warren of It's a Laugh Prods., will only enhance Disney's reputation for safe and fuzzy comedy. The kids deliver punchlines well, though no one will mistake the situations that arise in each episode for anything that resembles reality. Why, even the president (John D'Aquino) is portrayed as a hopeless intellectual lightweight. Hmmm ...