New shows add excitement to summer months

By Kate MacDonald

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The end of the spring can provide an awful, empty feeling for a significant portion of the American population. In this time of season/series finales, avid fans lose direction and don’t know what to do with themselves.

Such events can leave viewers hanging in the lurch, contemplating horrifying cliffhangers for the next three or four months. Fret not, television addicts of America. This summer, the biggest TV conglomerates will be churning out interesting new shows and wrapping up questions from the last season in returning favorites.

One channel in particular, ABC Family, will be filling the majority of its summer schedule with new shows. Old favorites “Make it or Break it” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” have already returned, and “Pretty Little Liars” will soon follow on June 14.

Also beginning on the 14th is the new show “The Nine Lives of Chloe King,” about a teenager who develops catlike super abilities. “Switched at Birth,” has a self-explanatory name, and concerns two teens who were switched in the hospital as infants finally finding their genetically correct families. The girls get switched back when the show premieres on June 6. Finally, Raven-Symoné makes her small screen return as the title character in “State of Georgia” on June 29.

Fans of shows that have a more mature target audience may enjoy all that TNT has to offer during the warmer months of the year. Their highly acclaimed, female-oriented crime dramas, “Rizzoli and Isles,” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander, and “The Closer,” for which Kyra Sedgwick has taken home a Golden Globe and an Emmy, make their return on July 11.

TNT has two new programs to offer for the summer. “Franklin and Bash,” starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer, premiering June 1, showcases the lives of two bad boy, bachelor lawyers and what happens when they join a legitimate firm. “Falling Skies” begins on June 19, and, as a science fiction show, is a tad out of the ordinary for the network.

One of TNT’s biggest competitors, the USA network, lacks the power to compete in this summer’s challenge. The network will be relying on old hits to score on the rating charts. “White Collar” and “Covert Affairs” come back on June 7, while the new season of “Burn Notice” starts June 23 and “Royal Pains” is integrated back into the schedule on June 29.

If you’d rather tune in to reality shows, ABC will be your network this summer. The channel is pursuing a new makeover show (after the massive success of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”), called “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition” earlier in the summer, on May 30. It features eight people who are 200 or more pounds overweight who want to lose at least half of their body weight. A show with a strong resemblance to “The Biggest Loser,” the series will be eight episodes long, featuring one subject per episode.

ABC will also feature the seventh season of “The Bachelorette” and a new “Amazing Race”-like show, “Expedition Impossible,” which begins June 21. Executive producer Mark Burnett, on the show’s official website, calls the reality show, “…an epic Indiana Jones-style experience.”

HBO’s megahits “True Blood” and “Entourage” also make their way back to the summer schedule on June 26 and July 24, respectively, much to the delight of fans.

Some of the more popular and highest-rated programs on TV are featured on air during the summer. Luckily, from ABC Family to TNT, there’s something for all ages and all interests. The new shows and returning favorites will definitely provide some comfort to fans that would have otherwise spent the summer miserable, hoping for some closure from the finales of their year-round favorites.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected]