CBS’ COMPETING Two and Half Men is no Everybody Loves Raymond, and ABC’s The Bachelor continues to lose steam. So there’s a prime opportunity for one of Monday’s new dramas—NBC’s Heroes, Fox’s Vanished and CW’s Runaway—to make an impact in the competitive 9 p.m. hour. Although Heroes, which chronicles the lives of ordinary people with extraordinary abilities, could benefit coming out of Deal or No Deal, the more interesting battle lies in the match-up of the similar Vanished and Runaway. Vanished deals with the missing wife of a powerful U.S. senator, while Runaway tells the story of a man wrongfully accused of murder and on the run. With CW giving a last-minute reprieve to 7th Heaven, one has to wonder whether the feel-good Camden clan will fit well into the more intense Runaway, or whether the net would have benefited from keeping Everwood in the time period. Leading out of 7th Heaven is no picnic (failures include Safe Harbor, Just Legal and Related) and competing against a series with a like storyline makes Runaway even more of a longshot. Vanished could be simply filler for the time period until 24 returns in January, but compatibility with lead-in hit Prison Break makes Vanished a stronger pick, plus a good way to keep the time period warm. Keep an eye on Vanished; forget about Runaway.
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