'Regular Joe' hard to take

It must be tough being the poster boy for male menopause. Daniel Stern has learned to laugh again in two "City Slicker" movies. He moped his way through recent divorce in the 2001 sitcom "Danny." And now he stars as a recently widowed father of two teens in "Regular Joe" (8:30 p.m., ABC). "Joe" may not be as pathetic as "Danny," but at least that comedy -- mercifully canceled after only two weeks -- didn't ask us to watch Stern cooing with an infant, nuzzling her chubby cheeks and talking baby talk.

You can't really quibble with "Joe's" premise. Joe Binder (Stern) is a thoroughly decent guy who seems to have been dealt a few too many cards from the bottom of the deck. Soon after his wife's death, Joe's daughter, Joanie (Kelly Karbacz), got pregnant by a cad and came home to live with baby Zoe in tow. John Francis Daley ("Freaks and Geeks") stars as Joe's son, Grant.

Joe also has to live with his grumpy dad, Baxter (Judd Hirsch).

Joe runs a family-owned hardware store with Baxter and Grant and a longtime employee named Sitvar (Brian George), an Indian stereotype sent to keep Baxter company. While "Joe" is set in present-day Brooklyn or Queens, the scenes at the family store seem to take place in 1957. In tonight's episode, Joanie promises to juggle work, school and motherhood after she gets her acceptance letter to Columbia University. Lessons and hugs ensue.

  • "Will & Grace" star Megan Mullally gets tonight's Miss Versatility award as host of "40 Greatest Men of Country Music" (7 p.m., CMT). It's a long, long way from Karen Walker's life as a dipso socialite to the queen of Nashville twang. An "Inside Fame" (10 p.m.) profile of Johnny Cash follows.
  • Armed with expert advice and $1,000 in supplies, neighbors engage in a friendly gardening and landscaping competition on the series debut of "Ground Rules" (9 p.m., HGTV).
  • Improbably attractive characters inhabit a sand-worm cursed stretch of Nevada in "Tremors: The Series" (8 p.m., Sci Fi). Michael Gross presides over Perfection Valley as the paranoid, paramilitary worm hunter Burt Gummer.

Tonight's other highlights

  • The NCAA Basketball Tournament (6 p.m., CBS) continues.
  • Pint-sized would-be idols compete on "America's Most Talented Kid" (7 p.m., NBC). Postponed from last week.
  • Scheduled on "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC): Iraqi war updates.

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