- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 8, 2006

Out of ‘Reasons’

We can give you one big reason why not to watch Heather Graham’s new ABC sitcom without ever bringing up the show’s clunky title.

Who would want to spend an extended chunk of time with a smart, sophisticated woman who looks like a beauty queen but constantly worries she’ll never meet a man?

“Sex and the City” mined similar terrain but with far more sophistication than tonight’s displays in the debut of “Emily’s Reasons Why Not.”

The new comedy (airing at 9 p.m.) is another midseason replacement series obsessed with the dating scene. Now, no one besides your average rock star would argue dating is easy, but just look around. There are plenty of couples out there, so someone knows how to navigate the dating world.

Not poor Emily. She’s so eager to meet Mr. Right she eliminates potential beaus via her “reasons why not” barometer. One reason could be he’s a homosexual, a theme pounded into submission in tonight’s opener.

Emily (Miss Graham) works in a publishing firm in New York (Is there some reason or unwritten rule why so many TV and movie characters are either journalists or work in book divisions?) where the new guy in marketing catches her eye.

Before she can work up a flirt, Stan asks her out and she accepts — though she’s technically on the rebound from a philandering author. And why not? Stan is textbook handsome, polite and smart.

He also seems too good to be true, which sets Emily’s dating radar into overdrive.

Suffice it to say the show ends with a still single Emily, yet with miles of judgment passed by her and her two main pals on poor Stan.

Miss Graham all but twinkles as Emily, despite the role’s striking desperation. The actress has struggled to follow up her breakthrough performance in “Boogie Nights” in a series of film choices that didn’t quite click, but TV might just be a perfect fit.

Her Bambi-like eyes alone will hypnotize viewers. That, coupled with the merciful absence of a laugh track, might convince some viewers to stick around to discover more of Emily’s ‘Reasons.’

In the meantime, let’s hope Emily takes a long, refreshing bath and realizes it’s not so awful to be young and single in the Big Apple.

Deadwood’ rides again

The third season of “Deadwood” won’t begin for six months, but HBO reportedly is close to inking a deal that will keep the profanity-filled revisionist Western on the air for a fourth season, Reuters news agency. reports.Reuters news agency reports.

The show’s third season begins this June.HBO declined comment, but sources told Reuters that HBO chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht was encouraged to move ahead with “Deadwood” after seeing the progress made on the production of season three. At least eight of the season’s 12 episodes already have been shot.

Paying for previews

Viewers may soon need a flow chart to catch up with all the changes taking place in TV land.

The latest wrinkle comes via DirecTV, whose subscribers soon will be able to download some Fox-created programs to their DVRs two days before the shows are broadcast, Associated Press reports.

Under a deal announced Thursday, fans of the FX series “The Shield,” “Rescue Me,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “30 Days” will be able to pay $2.99 for early, on-demand access provided they have DirecTV’s latest DVR.

In addition, News Corp.-owned Fox will make several of its network’s series — including “24” and “Prison Break” — available for 99 cents for up to a week after the national broadcast.

The on-demand programming will be available starting in March, the companies said at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

The programming will be offered as part of DirecTV’s video-on-demand service, which late last year announced a deal with NBC to offer 99-cent replays of popular prime-time shows.

A number of networks, studios and technology companies are experimenting with new ways to deliver programming to viewers, but most deals provide shows only after they have been broadcast the traditional way.

In October, ABC broke ground with Apple Computer Inc. by making some of its shows available for $1.99 per episode on the ITunes Music Service. The programs can either be viewed through a computer or through Apple’s video-capable IPods.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, last week reported that Google Inc. plans to let consumers buy video over the Internet from CBS, the NBA and other providers.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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