New sitcom has 'Notting' familiarity

The red carpet meets the faculty lounge in the new sitcom "I'm with Her" (7:30 p.m., ABC). David Sutcliffe stars as Patrick Owen, a dedicated high school English teacher who happens to be dating Alex Young (Teri Polo), a world-famous actress and sex symbol. Any resemblance between this show and "Notting Hill" is strictly intentional.

Patrick and Alex "meet cute," to use an old Hollywood expression. While out for coffee with his goofball sidekick, Stevie (Danny Comden), Patrick finds himself bitten in the posterior by Alex's just-adopted pooch. Sure that he'll call the tabloids, or worse, his lawyer, Alex offers to pay Patrick's medical bills and gives him her phone number. Ever modest, Alex says he's late for class and will have the school nurse look after his bruise.

Smitten by his down-to-earth attitude, Alex pursues Patrick, and lands him with a little help from the fawning Stevie. (Just for the record, anybody over 14 named Stevie is in big trouble). After a pleasant evening at the coffee bar and the driving range, Patrick finds his life upended by gossipmongers and paparazzi. But his students look at him with newfound respect, and even pay attention to his lectures on "Romeo and Juliet."

  • The comedy "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" (7 p.m., ABC) enters its second season a little more than a week after the death of its star, John Ritter. ABC will air the three episodes that were taped before Ritter died, and will incorporate his character's death and his family's reaction to the loss into the fourth episode and subsequent plots. The show will go on. I think this is a mistake, but out of fairness, I'll reserve judgment until I see episodes of the new "Rules."
  • "Frasier" (8 p.m., NBC) enters its 11th and final season with a funny hourlong episode in which Roz rethinks her departure, Frasier "commits to commitment" and Niles tries to get up to speed.

Other season premieres

  • Rory prepares for Yale on "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., WB).
  • Nick represents a carnival worker who accuses his boss of molestation on "The Guardian" (8 p.m., CBS).
  • Claude mulls over a new job on "Less Than Perfect" (8:30 p.m., ABC).
  • Criminal court poses new challenges on "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • Fraker's trial raises some unfinished business for Andy on "NYPD Blue" (9 p.m., ABC).

Late night

Ben Stiller and Elvis Costello appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Lisa Kudrow, Graham Norton and Gloria Estefan on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).


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