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Archive for Friday, March 24, 2006

Hannah’ a sitcom for ‘tweens

March 24, 2006

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Viewers afraid that they just don't make sitcoms like they used to should check out "Hannah Montana" (8:30 p.m., Disney). Of course, that advice is a double-edged sword.

Miley Cyrus stars in the title role. She's a young, famous pop star and the idol of her junior high school set. But her peers and even her best friend, Lilly (Emily Osment), don't know that. To them, she's just Miley Stewart, a perfectly normal girl. And Miley/Hannah wants to keep it that way so her classmates don't treat her like a big star. She's level-headed enough to want friends, not groupies.

A headache of a comedy, "Hannah" will remind parents of why they stopped watching sitcoms. It also follows in Disney's long, strange tradition of manufacturing young idols resembling earlier models. This dates as far back as the days of Annette Funicello and Hayley Mills. Hannah is the perfect clone of Hilary Duff, with a little Olsen twin thrown in. She's a perfectly likeable little imp, but one can't help the haunting suspicion that we've seen her somewhere - make that everywhere - before.

¢ Remember Kelly Perdew? Hint: He was the winner of the second-season "The Apprentice." And tonight he hosts "GI Factory" (7 p.m., Military Channel), the first of a three-part series touring industrial facilities manufacturing military hardware, from body armor to helicopters.

¢ Peter Falk, Peter Sellers and Truman Capote lead an all-star cast in the 1976 detective spoof "Murder by Death" (7 p.m., TCM). It's not to be confused with "Murder by Numbers" (7 p.m., AMC), the 2002 mystery starring Sandra Bullock, Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ The NCAA Basketball Tournament continues (6 p.m., CBS). A second game follows.

¢ Breanna represents a man facing a draconian sentence for his petty "third-strike" crime on "In Justice" (8 p.m., ABC).

¢ Scheduled on "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC): fast food chains and healthy menus; people without any interest in sex; frustrated people who take the law into their own hands.

¢ As the family gathers by his bedside, Tony's mind wanders into frustrating waters on "The Sopranos" (9 p.m., HBO).

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