Promised Land

Promised Land (Tues.(17), 8-9 p.m., CBS) Filmed in Salt Lake City by Moonwater Prods. in association with CBS Entertainment. Executive producer, Martha Williamson; co-producer, Norman Morrill; consulting producer, Marilyn Osborn; supervising producers, E.F. Wallengren, Jon Andersen; producer, Robert J. Visciglia Jr.; director, Victor Lobl; script, Valerie Woods, Wallengren; camera, Matthew Williams; editor, Lori Petersen; production designer, Steven Nielsen; art director, John Uibel; sound, Earl Stein; music, Ray Colcord (theme, Marc Lichtman); casting, David Giello. Cast: Gerald McRaney, Wendy Phillips, Celeste Holm, Austin O'Brien, Sarah Schaub, Eddie Karr, Michael Gross, Wesley Jonathan, Reb Fleming, Belinda Montgomery, Frank Kanig, Ryan Pearce, Keith Lundskog, Dallen Gettling, Christy Workman Summerhays, Eric Robertson, Natalie Hill, Jaime Rodriguez, Steve O'Neill. Asurly, out-of-work contractor and his family hit the road in "Promised Land," stopping along the way to (depending on one's point of view) touch people's hearts or meddle in their affairs. From the producers and network responsible for "Touched by an Angel," this Gerald McRaney vehicle is, at the very least, 180-degree counterprogramming for ABC and NBC's Tuesday-night comedy blocks. It gives the "family values" crowd reason to huddle around the tube. McRaney stars as Russell Greene, aforementioned contractor, who was touched by angels in this week's episode of that show, and has decided to travel the highways and byways with wife, three kids and his mother all packed into the family Airstream. Kids are typical sitcom demographics: teenage Joshua (Austin O'Brien) and Dinah (Sarah Schaub) and cute tyke Nathaniel (Eddie Karr). Wife Claire is played by Wendy Phillips; mother Hattie by Celeste Holm, in a welcome return to the screen. First episode found Greenes in Fairfield, a town with a talk-formatted radio station where, evidently, someone can walk in off the street and share opinions with the populace. Fairfield's only newspaper is a weekly, which has run a letter to the editor from an anonymous fellow who says he's leaving the country for New Zealand disappointed as he is with the way the American Dream is working out for him. Greenes hear the letter read on the radio , and Russell decides to seek out the author and set him straight. The author is Greg Smith (nicely played by Michael Gross), a wheelchair-bound basketball coach in a youth center that's being shut down for lack of funds. One guess as to how it all turns out. Additional nice guest turns are provided by Ryan Pearce as Fairfield's sheriff, Reb Fleming as the newspaper publisher and Wesley Jonathan as a local high school kid. Members of the family are appealing enough, with the McRaney character's surliness a nice counterpoint to the vast potential for terminal corniness; writers' main problem will be to give all of the principals something to do each hour while not killing one another as they travel from one town to another in their trailer-towing Suburban. Production values are good. Todd Everett

Promised Land (Tues.(17), 8-9 p.m., CBS) Filmed in Salt Lake City by Moonwater Prods. in association with CBS Entertainment. Executive producer, Martha Williamson; co-producer, Norman Morrill; consulting producer, Marilyn Osborn; supervising producers, E.F. Wallengren, Jon Andersen; producer, Robert J. Visciglia Jr.; director, Victor Lobl; script, Valerie Woods, Wallengren; camera, Matthew Williams; editor, Lori Petersen; production designer, Steven Nielsen; art director, John Uibel; sound, Earl Stein; music, Ray Colcord (theme, Marc Lichtman); casting, David Giello. Cast: Gerald McRaney, Wendy Phillips, Celeste Holm, Austin O’Brien, Sarah Schaub, Eddie Karr, Michael Gross, Wesley Jonathan, Reb Fleming, Belinda Montgomery, Frank Kanig, Ryan Pearce, Keith Lundskog, Dallen Gettling, Christy Workman Summerhays, Eric Robertson, Natalie Hill, Jaime Rodriguez, Steve O’Neill. Asurly, out-of-work contractor and his family hit the road in “Promised Land,” stopping along the way to (depending on one’s point of view) touch people’s hearts or meddle in their affairs. From the producers and network responsible for “Touched by an Angel,” this Gerald McRaney vehicle is, at the very least, 180-degree counterprogramming for ABC and NBC’s Tuesday-night comedy blocks. It gives the “family values” crowd reason to huddle around the tube. McRaney stars as Russell Greene, aforementioned contractor, who was touched by angels in this week’s episode of that show, and has decided to travel the highways and byways with wife, three kids and his mother all packed into the family Airstream. Kids are typical sitcom demographics: teenage Joshua (Austin O’Brien) and Dinah (Sarah Schaub) and cute tyke Nathaniel (Eddie Karr). Wife Claire is played by Wendy Phillips; mother Hattie by Celeste Holm, in a welcome return to the screen. First episode found Greenes in Fairfield, a town with a talk-formatted radio station where, evidently, someone can walk in off the street and share opinions with the populace. Fairfield’s only newspaper is a weekly, which has run a letter to the editor from an anonymous fellow who says he’s leaving the country for New Zealand disappointed as he is with the way the American Dream is working out for him. Greenes hear the letter read on the radio , and Russell decides to seek out the author and set him straight. The author is Greg Smith (nicely played by Michael Gross), a wheelchair-bound basketball coach in a youth center that’s being shut down for lack of funds. One guess as to how it all turns out. Additional nice guest turns are provided by Ryan Pearce as Fairfield’s sheriff, Reb Fleming as the newspaper publisher and Wesley Jonathan as a local high school kid. Members of the family are appealing enough, with the McRaney character’s surliness a nice counterpoint to the vast potential for terminal corniness; writers’ main problem will be to give all of the principals something to do each hour while not killing one another as they travel from one town to another in their trailer-towing Suburban. Production values are good. Todd Everett

Promised Land

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