- Associated Press - Sunday, August 26, 2012

Here’s a fearless prediction for the new fall season: “Animal Practice” will be either a hit or a big-time miss, either a comedy game-changer for NBC or a punch line for its ratings desperation.

This sitcom about a veterinarian and his monkey sidekick already is commanding the attention of viewers. NBC has heavily hyped it, most notably by interrupting the Olympics closing ceremony to air a preview of the show and enraging viewers waiting for the Who finale.

But who cares if they’re angry? For any new show, just getting noticed is half the battle. Between now and Thanksgiving, “Animal Practice” is among nearly two dozen series getting launched by the five broadcast networks, which for weeks have been feverishly hyping the new crop with everything from bus ads to Twitter feeds.

All of this is done with the certain knowledge that at least two-thirds of the new fare, no matter how relentlessly promoted, will have fallen by the wayside by this time next year.

Remember these duds from last fall: “Charlie’s Angels”? “Free Agents”? “How to be a Gentleman”? Does a similar fate await “Animal Practice”? Or what about “Go On,” an NBC comedy that casts Matthew Perry as a sports-talk radio host forced to attend grief counseling after the death of his wife?

Or what about NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” an action drama about firefighters from “Law & Order” maestro Dick Wolf?

“Chicago Fire” could be pigeonholed as a show about public safety, but bona fide cop dramas — one of TV’s most enduring genres — are represented by three fanciful variations.

On “Vegas,” CBS‘ robust new drama set in the early 1960s, Dennis Quaid plays a rancher-turned-sheriff of the budding gambling mecca, with Michael Chiklis as a mobster casino boss.

CBS‘ “Elementary” stars Jonny Lee Miller as a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson. They assist the New York Police Department with solving crimes.

And the CW’s “Beauty and the Beast” features a lovely young homicide detective (Kristin Kreuk) who reconnects with a handsome young doctor who saved her life when a teenager. She also discovers his terrible secret: Thanks to a military experiment gone awry, when he is enraged, he becomes a terrifying beast.

Meanwhile, there’s just one new lawyer show on tap: CBS‘ “Made in Jersey,” which stars British actress Janet Montgomery as a young working-class Jerseyite from a long line of self-taught beauticians. She lands a job across the river at a prestigious Manhattan law firm where her style raises eyebrows but wins cases.

Autumn will bring three new doctor shows, each of which — like “Made in Jersey” — is headlined by a woman.

Jordana Spiro stars in Fox’s “The Mob Doctor” as a Chicago surgeon whose obligations to the mafia require her to give medical treatment to a gang of hoods.

On the CW’s “Emily Owens, M.D.,” Mamie Gummer plays a med-school grad who’s beginning a hospital internship full of hope, misgivings and romantic stumblings.

And on the Fox comedy “The Mindy Project,” creator-star Mindy Kaling plays a thriving OB/GYN whose personal life is a succession of pratfalls.

Story Continues →