The long-delayed debut episode of "Center of the Universe" (8:30 p.m., CBS) sports an impressive cast, including John Goodman ("Roseanne"), Jean Smart ("Frasier," "Designing Women"), Ed Asner ("The Mary Tyler Moore Show") and Olympia Dukakis ("Moonstruck"). But not even the most experienced actors can transcend a script this weak, hackneyed and predictable.
In the spectacularly unfunny pilot, John (Goodman) wants to reaffirm his vows to his wife Kate (Smart) on their 20th anniversary. Getting his flaky family to the ceremony is a trial. His brother (Diedrich Bader, "The Drew Carey Show") is too self-absorbed to depend upon. His weepy sister Lily (Melinda McGraw) is miserably unmarried ever since she caught her ex "doing it" with his swimming instructor. And John's feisty father (Asner) has recently discovered the joys of sexual-performance stimulants from Malaysia ("Look, there's a monkey on the bottle!"), much to the chagrin of his spunky wife (Dukakis). If you get uncomfortable just reading about a hopped-up Ed Asner lusting after Olympia Dukakis, try watching it!
Tonight's other highlights
- Scheduled on "60 Minutes II" (7 p.m., CBS): a profile of comedian Dave Chappelle.
- Insomnia proves dangerous on "Lost" (7 p.m., ABC).
- Oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard searches for ancient shipwrecks on the "National Geographic" special "Quest for the Phoenicians" (7 p.m., PBS).
- Bartlet engages in risky negotiations to bring a terrorist to justice on the season premiere of "The West Wing" (8 p.m., NBC). A repeat "Wing" (7 p.m.) precedes this debut.
- A rap DJ dies only days after his greatest triumph on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).
- Two cops are slain by illegal firearms on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).
- A Scarlett O'Hara trades lives with an Earth Mother of six on "Wife Swap" (9 p.m., ABC).