New shows add a little something different for television in 2019

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A new year brings a new crop of television shows that aim to entertain or engage audiences in new ways. While there are a vast number of shows that are web-based, three shows representing both broadcast networks and basic cable, have received a great deal of promotion, and thus, before they air, they command potential audiences’ attention. “The Masked Singer,” “Temptation Island” and “Fam” all have been touted as if they are the hottest shows to grace the 2019 roster.

“The Masked Singer”

Probably the least hopeful of the three, “The Masked Singer” is exactly what it sounds like. The premise is not original- -it is derived from a Korean show.

The singer of the title is more than “masked.” He or she is heavily costumed in this American version. Unlike other singing shows in which unknown performers do their best in front of a celebrity panel of judges, this show places a celebrity in the costume and requires a celebrity panel to guess who they are. And, the panelists have nothing to do with music, really.

For audiences who are more than familiar with the likes of “American Idol,” “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent,” and even “The Four,” the idea of a costume and guessing who singers are might be less than enthralling.

When previously unknown singers perform for prizes and opportunities that will change their lives, audiences know exactly what they are cheering for and what’s at stake. What do celebrity performers win?

Season one has 10 episodes and is scheduled to air for the first time Jan. 2, 2019. Nick Cannon will host. Ken Jeong and Jenny McCarthy are among the judges.

“Temptation Island”

Technically, this show isn’t new. But its inability to find purchase with audiences since the show’s 2001 debut has left the show in need of a makeover, reboot, and an update for 2019. According to promos, perhaps all of those elements are happening. Maybe. The ads for the show depict troubled couples who come to an island in Belize to test their relationships by giving them opportunities to cheat with “sexy” singles. Whether the show’s creators meant to or not, the contradictions in the promos make the show difficult to take seriously.

When a woman talks about how her beloved would never have sex with anyone else, the camera then cuts to the man doing exactly that. Then, the woman being interviewed is crying. Of course, the reality is that the editing can make any show look interesting in a commercial. However, the show’s premise doesn’t create much hope that the committed couples will survive intact.

“Temptation Island” is set to begin Jan.15, 2019 on USA Network.

“Fam”

Anyone using social media in the past several years has seen this shortened moniker for the word “family.” In terms of a show, kudos to the CBS website for not playing up race. No kudos should be given for the mixed messages regarding Gary Cole’s level of starring. On the commercials, Cole’s name is put onscreen by itself, slowly. This presentation makes viewers believe that the “Midnight Caller” star is also the star of this new show. However, on the website, Cole is listed as a “guest star.”

“Fam’s” premise is somewhat unique. The show features Tone Bell as Nick, and Nina Dobrev as Clem. Their happy lives are rocked a little when Clem’s chaotic 16-year-old sister, Shannon, comes to live with them. Cole plays Clem’s  and Shannon’s father. Cole is not a perfect father. He is a police officer with issues. He is uncouth, and in the clips it is unclear how the character contributes anything positive to the family dynamic. But, fans of Cole will keep watching based on his previous achievements.

What the past few years have shown is that people respond well to family shows. The success of “This Is Us” probably provides hope for other networks looking for success with other types of shows and failing to earn the ratings.

These are just three new shows. The new year has a slate of them that is bound to attract audiences. As always, when cable and network television shows fail to engage, there are always movies and shows on the Internet.

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