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Actors Jaime Lee Kirchner and Michelle Trachtenberg of the television show 'Mercy' attend the NBC Network portion of the 2009 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa on August 5, 2009 in Pasadena, California.
Even the most devoted television watchers will have a tough time watching all the worthy series and season premieres that debut this week. So here’s your cheat sheet: If you stick with these five shows and let the DVR handle the rest, you won’t be left out of any of the next-day chatter.
“Dancing With the Stars” (ABC): Always a solid premiere, but this season brings Tom Delay, who isn’t just a former congressman, but one who remains under criminal investigation. No matter, Delay, who Tweeted that he has a “pre-stress fracture,” is going to kick up his heels. He might not last long, so better tune in.
“NCIS: Los Angeles” (CBS): It might sound like the same series, but trust me, it’s different — this iteration has LL Cool J. That’s right, LL Cool J. There’s also Chris O’Donnell. This unusual pairing, and the success of the ‘NCIS’ franchise, makes this series definitely worth a look.
“Mercy” (NBC): Do we need another hospital drama? Of course we do, because the setting is rife with potential. You won’t confuse “Mercy,” which tells its stories through the eyes of the hospital’s nurses, with, say, “House” (which premieres Monday, and really, is every bit as worthy of watching as “DWTS,” if we’re being honest).
“Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC): Even though we basically know the outcome of George and Izzie’s fate, last season's finale of “Grey’s” was fantastic. The season premiere, what with a mourning Izzie and George-less cast, is going to be a good watch. Also, Martha Plimpton, who I wish did more television, makes a cameo.
“Dollhouse” (Fox): The show came as a bit of a surprise success when it premiered last year. From the creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” the fantastic sci-fi series impresses because it's better produced than what the mainstream might expect from the genre. Some insiders, however, fear that it might be difficult to keep the show believable during its second season. We shall see.
Martha Stewart has no time for ‘Housewives’
The Us Weekly 25 Most Stylish New Yorkers party took place Sept. 16 and among the attendees were Alicia Keys, Elle MacPherson, Vera Wang, Sherri Shepherd and Martha Stewart. Stewart was sick though, and left shortly after she walked the red carpet. But not before an awkward run-in with Danielle of “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” who attempted to chat up Stewart … who was having none of it.
Weekend box office: more ‘Meatballs,’ less ‘Love’
“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” didn’t disappoint at the box office, earning $30.1 million in its debut. The kids’ flick appealed to every age group, which helped with the bottom line, but so did the 3-D run, which carries a ticket premium. Big disappointment: “Love Happens,” which made $6.8 million. If its star, Jennifer Aniston, really could carry a film, this would have been the weekend that proved it.
Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter: @ courtneyatmsnbc.