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Ned and Stacey

Though scribe Michael J. Weithorn borrows heavily from a number of popular series for this latest entry from the Fox weblet, the storyline shortcomings are saved by the impeccable comic timing of Thomas Haden Church.

With:
Cast: Thomas Haden Church, Debra Messing, Nadia Dajani, Greg Germann, Harry Goz, Dori Brenner, Arthur Malet, Allan Oppenheimer, Allan Waserman, David Chisum , Tina Arning, Eric Drachman.

Though scribe Michael J. Weithorn borrows heavily from a number of popular series for this latest entry from the Fox weblet, the storyline shortcomings are saved by the impeccable comic timing of Thomas Haden Church.

The new vehicle has allowed Church to trade the maintenanceman coveralls and baseball cap he sported on NBC’s “Wings” for a three-piece suit and an expense account in this half-hour series.

Bow sets Ned Dorsey (Church), a corporate con man, accomplished back-stabber and all-around human slug, in search of a wife in order to secure a promotion.

Enter Stacey Colbert (Debra Messing), a newspaper scribe so desperately in search of an apartment that she agrees to marry Ned just to get out of her parents’ house. The deal has just one proviso: They can each lead different lives. Dorsey’s capitalistic arrogance expectedly doesn’t mix well with Stacey’s leftwing leanings. The resulting verbal sparring matches, with each landing well-timed shots, are reminiscent of the politically charged banter between Meathead and Archie.

Church also makes the mundane palatable and shines with his dry delivery of Weithorn’s missives — which are always perfectly placed and often add much-needed punch to a sagging plot pivot.

Messing is equally entertaining as a liberal firebrand, and her chemistry with Church aids in keeping the action brisk.

Director Andrew D. Weyman lets his cast run; a top-notch supporting cast rounds out the show.

Ned and Stacey

(FOX, MON. SEPT. 11, 9:30 p.m.)

Production: Taped in Hollywood by Hanley Prods, in association with TriStar TV, Executive producers, Michael J. Weithorn, Tony Sheehan; producer, William E. Baker, director, Andrew D. Weyman; writer, Weithorn.

Crew: Editor, John Veal; director of photography, Ken Peach; art director, Scott Heineman; sound, Brent Walton; music , Kurt Farquhar.

Cast: Cast: Thomas Haden Church, Debra Messing, Nadia Dajani, Greg Germann, Harry Goz, Dori Brenner, Arthur Malet, Allan Oppenheimer, Allan Waserman, David Chisum , Tina Arning, Eric Drachman.

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