Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on ABC
Disclosure: I need to tell you right up front that I have never been what you'd call a fan of Reba McEntire, and I didn't care at all for her "Reba" series, which ran for six whole seasons on The WB/The CW. So while I'm obviously not predisposed to loving her new series, "Malibu Country" (which premieres tonight on ABC after Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing" and which sounds an awful lot like that old "Reba" series!), I've done my best to be objective about it.
In "Malibu Country," Reba plays Reba MacKenzie, wife of a "lyin', cheatin'" country music mega-star, whom she dumps in the middle of a live press conference while he's trying to make amends to his fans for his latest affair.
Instead of standing by her "mo-ron" man, Reba packs up her two teenagers and her mother, played by Lily Tomlin, and leaves Nashville for the the ex-husband's secret Malibu beach home to make a fresh start. Starting over means trying to restart the promising singing career Reba gave up to be a wife and mother (so you'll probably hear a lot of singing on this series, if that's a deal maker or breaker for you).
"Malibu Country" is plenty corny and full of the usual sitcom stereotypes, including dim-witted teenagers, a wacky bombshell neighbor (Sara Rue), and a host of clichéd culture-shock jokes. Also, a very robust laughtrack (or a high audience -- can't tell which).
But there are some funny moments between Reba and Tomlin, whose Lillie Mae character happily discovers medical marijuana during her first week in Cali. And I'd also argue that as corny as it can be, it's still better than its "Last Man Standing" lead-in (even Reba's light jab at a probably gay teen neighbor lacks the mean-spirited feel of the jokes on Allen's show).
Bottom line: Am I going to watch it? No. But I guess it's not as terrible as I expected it to be. And if you like Reba, you're going to love it.