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The AgencyThe Agency

Watch enough TV and the line between the late-night news and the dramas that immediately precede it slowly begins to blur. Troops massing on the border between India and Pakistan. An American held hostage and killed by terrorists in the Middle East. Missionaries mistaken for drug smugglers in South America. All of these stories and scores of others have been co-opted by CBS’ The Agency. Indeed, The Agency’s bread and butter is dramatizing hot-off-the-press news, changing the names and reworking the stories. The result is gripping—and disquieting.



According to JimAccording to Jim

A big-screen résumé doesn’t always guarantee a successful television series. But film actor Jim Belushi (Joe Somebody, Return to Me), with help from TV’s Courtney Thorne-Smith (Ally McBeal, Melrose Place), has made it big on ABC’s family sitcom According to Jim. True to form, Belushi plays a slightly off-kilter everyman—named Jim, of course—raising a family in the Chicago suburbs. Thorne-Smith (best known for playing vixens in prime time) is his wife Cheryl, a down-to-earth homemaker.



7th Heaven7th Heaven

The WB family drama 7th Heaven consistently ranks in Nielsen's Top-10 shows watched by 12- to 17-year olds. Many of those teens are watching it with Mom and Dad.

Eric Camden (Stephen Collins) pastors a church in California. Together with his wife, Annie (Catherine Hicks), and seven children, they create what the WB calls "a surprisingly functional family."




It had to happen sometime. The miracle is that it took this long. Tens of millions of Americans tune in for weeks every time CBS' gaggle of pseudo-survivors eat rats and grubs, lounge on the beach, bicker, moan and plot who to expel next. Each one eyeing the million bucks at stake for the last man—or woman—standing. But there’s a lot more than money at stake for those sitting comfortably in front of their TV sets soaking it all in.



Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Comedies come and dramas go, but game shows live forever. Your kids may not know it yet, but television quiz shows have been around for a long, long time. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? is just one chapter, not the whole book. But that doesn't mean families aren't crazy about questions. "Millionaire revives family TV," blared an Associated Press headline. Larry Hyams, ABC's chief researcher, agrees, "It's very, very rare that you have a program like Millionaire that reaches every demographic group,



What I Like About YouWhat I Like About You

As is the case with so many successful teen stars, Amanda Bynes plays both the movie and TV game, if for no other reason than to keep her youthful profile in front of as many people as possible. Her WB sitcom, What I Like About You (returning this fall on Thursday nights), showcases everything that has made her famous. Her cute clumsiness. Her winning, slightly goofy personality. And her uncanny ability to deliver “the big lines.�



All of UsAll of Us

Movie star couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith created the sitcom All of Us to mirror their own path to domestic bliss. The result is postcard propaganda showing how fun and profitable it is to blend families via divorce, cohabitation and remarriage.

At the series’ center is the well-heeled Robert James (Duane Martin), an ET-style L.A.



America's Next Top ModelAmerica's Next Top Model

Every season of UPN’s America’s Next Top Model begins virtually the same way. Star and executive producer Tyra Banks welcomes more than 20 aspiring catwalkers with the familiar speech, “Be yourselves. Don’t fake it. Just be real.� Yeah, right. Contestants foolish enough to believe that won’t last long on this Survivor-meets-Victoria’s Secret reality show. As America’s Next Top Model toughens up naive young women for the harsh realities of a cutthroat fashion industry, its MO is clear: Be who we say you should be. In fact, be anything but you.