The Benefactor
Another billionaire with bad hair sponsors a reality-TV show in ABC's answer to NBC's The Apprentice. The setup is basically the same: 16 handpicked contestants participate in a series of assignments designed to highlight their strengths and expose their weaknesses to Mark Cuban, who eliminates those he feels don't want the money bad enough until one player remains. I know what you're thinking because I thought the same thing — until Cuban, who's on a blatant Revenge of the Nerds power trip, announced he was going to eliminate someone based solely on their first impression, which he got via house cameras a la Big Brother — just 15 minutes into the show. After cutting "stupid is as stupid does" Rich, Cuban then announced that two more players were going to go before the show was over. Wait a minute. A reality show that doesn't drag out the climactic elimination rounds for 20 minutes for "dramatic effect"? Now we're talking! Cuban then cut Laurel, who fetched her mail in the buff on her audition tape yet was too embarrassed to play air guitar for him during their one-on-one, and red-headed poker player Grayson, who lost a game of Jenga to obnoxious histologist William during a challenge that kinda reminded me of the episode of the Brady Bunch in which a dispute between the girls and boys was decided by building a house of cards.

Sprint PCS Commercial
According to my TV's closed captioning, that creepy little kid in the soccer uniform is saying "ay yi yi." But does anyone else hear "redrum"?

If you were my poor neighbors right now, you'd be calling the cops because I am literally bouncing off the walls (not very hard to do when your apartment is only nine feet wide). I can't believe that I sat here for an hour, completely convinced that the letter Ephram was brooding over was from his secretly pregnant ex Madison, only to find out that it was a bad summer report card from Juilliard. But I'm not sure whom I should be more disappointed with: Andy, for trying to keep the baby a secret from his son — and then telling his son's girlfriend's father about it (as if it weren't bad enough that his son's girlfriend's grandmother already knows); the writers, for milking the story line way past its expiration date; or yours truly, for being the ultimate sucker and taking the obvious bait hook, line and sinker. But honestly, is there any other way to resolve the problem at this point? Ephram can never, ever learn the truth. Because then he'd be an orphan.

All ranting aside, this was an otherwise entertaining episode that included the introduction of new cast member Scott Wolf as a transplanted West Coast doctor who hangs his shingle in front of Abbott's old office. I'm probably going to regret saying this, but I was not a fan of Party of Five, and Wolf's sad-sack Bailey was the character I could stand the least. (Lacey Chabert's Claudia and Jennifer Love Hewitt's Sarah were tied for second.) Happily, his Jake character here is adorable, a young and energetic addition who will hopefully inject some much needed mirth into this heartfelt show after such a depressing previous season. I just can't figure out who he's going to date; Nina's too old for him and Amy's still jailbait.

I Do (But I Don't)
I don't think I've seen anything cheesier, but I've got my Lactaid so pass me some low-sodium Triscuits! Sure it's a blatant rip-off of The Wedding Planner, but at least Denise Richards can act (face it, J.Lo's been phoning it in in everything she's done since Out of Sight). And Dean Cain is a gazillion times more appealing than disheveled bongo boy Matthew McConaughey. True the mistaken-identity plot device involving Cain's firefighter character and his two brothers is stretched thinner than the fabric of a Paris Hilton party frock and every romantic-comedy obstacle since the dawn of time is present and accounted for, but what do you expect when the name of the actress playing the central bride-to-be is Karen Clich&#233? But I still have one question: Isn't Abe Frohman the Sausage King of Chicago?

Drunk pilots and bomb scares and crotch grabs, oh my! This new airport-set series starring Heather Locklear and Blair Underwood has everything — except a snowball's chance in you-know-where of living up to its hype. Yeah it's got a slick look, and the sparks between Locklear and Underwood light up the screen, but those same sparks have a good chance of setting the ever beautiful but perpetually wooden Locklear on fire. (Admit it, Harley Random is just Amanda Woodward in tight pants instead of short skirts.) True, she's brought good luck to struggling shows like Melrose Place and Spin City, but she joined both series after they had been on the air a while. I'm just saying....

Petty gripes aside, if you're looking for an hour of eye candy (more Paul Leyden!) with some semiclever zingers ("I went for the third martini. Two's my limit; three makes me stupid") and a hint of heart (Shame on anyone who didn't get the warm fuzzies when the orphan-plane passengers disembarked), fasten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride. If you want to see the real-life incidents that most likely inspired this series, however, switch over to A&E and watch Airline.

Quote of the Night
"He is every bit the star David Schwimmer is now." — An unidentified individual praising Donald Trump, the subject of an upcoming installment of A&E's Biography.

Please note: Rebecca Peterson has permanently moved to covering Monday night TV. Rochell Thomas will be giving her take on Thursday evening's television.