ABC sets out to replace the soon-to-exit “Desperate Housewives” with “GCB” (9 p.m.). This Dallas-based series will make the antics on Wisteria Lane look like “The Sorrow and the Pity” in comparison.
In the frantic pilot, former Texas “mean girl” Amanda Vaughn (Leslie Bibb) finds herself homeless after her rich California husband dies under sleazy circumstances. This forces her to return to the Dallas mansion of her estranged mother, Gigi (Annie Potts). Amanda’s old high school rival, Carlene (Kristin Chenoweth), lives next door, forever tottering on high heels and glancing through a telescope at the neighbors. She’s the unelected leader of a gaggle of former classmates who have held grudges against Amanda for some 20 years, presumably because they have little else besides shopping to occupy their minds — that, and dressing up for church and breaking the Ten Commandments while tossing off Bible verses in Neiman Marcus.
‘‘GCB” is the latest ABC show to blend scripted comedy with cartoony, over-the-top production values that scream camp. Some work better than others. The 2007 series “Pushing Daisies” had some of the weird magic that animates Tim Burton’s films. The approach also seems perfectly appropriate for the network’s fantasy/mystery “Once Upon a Time.” But “GCB” tries too hard all of the time.
Its characters consist of a parade of mean stereotypes who are crudely drawn, unsympathetic and uninteresting. From the implied obscenity in its title, “GCB” (Good Christian B------) is shot through with a wink-wink vulgarity and sexual obviousness more desperate than sophisticated.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): the Stuxnet computer virus, holding back first-graders, Ireland and the Catholic Church.
• Scheduled on “Dateline NBC” (6 p.m.): faulty pharmaceutical inspectors.
• Candles in the wind on “Once Upon a Time” (7 p.m., ABC).
• Alicia defends a filmmaker implicated in a teen’s suicide on “The Good Wife” (8 p.m., CBS).
• Roxy has separation anxiety on the sixth season premiere of “Army Wives” (8 p.m., Lifetime).
• Susan steps up on “Desperate Housewives” (8 p.m., ABC).
• A deception at sea and a tremor on land on “Luck” (8 p.m., HBO).