New sitcom has 'Notting' familiarity

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

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."

Other season premieres

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).