Fox debuts new celebrity dating show ‘The Choice’

Bachelors (from left) Romeo, Jeremy Bloom, Jason Cook and DJ Pauly D and host Cat Deeley are the stars featured in Thursday’s episode of Fox’s new celebrity-dating show.
Bachelors (from left) Romeo, Jeremy Bloom, Jason Cook and DJ Pauly D and host Cat Deeley are the stars featured in Thursday’s episode of Fox’s new celebrity-dating show.
Posted: June 07, 2012

THE CHOICE. 9 p.m. Thursday, Fox 29.

SAVING HOPE. 9 p.m. Thursday, NBC10.

MISS THE DAYS when Fox "reality" shows had a sense of humor?

When animals attacked, aliens were autopsied and women competed like cattle at the county fair to marry strangers they’d been told were millionaires?

Have I got a summer show for you.

It’s Fox’s "The Choice," a parody of NBC’s singing competition "The Voice," that spins those swivel chairs to find not singers, but dates for C-list guys — sorry, "eligible celebrity bachelors" — whose first decisions are made sight unseen.

Most of the overcaffeinated female contestants look as if they could have bounced over from "The Bachelor" mansion, and no one’s promising more than a date, so "The Choice" is a low-risk, low-reward proposition.

I’ve long since stopped losing sleep over the myriad ways young women seem willing to humiliate themselves on television. But ask yourself: What would you say or do to get someone from MTV’s "Jersey Shore" to ask you out?

Paul "DJ Pauly D" DelVecchio is among the quartet of guys featured in Thursday’s premiere, and if you love him on MTV, there’s no reason you won’t love him on "The Choice." The other chairs are occupied by actor Jason Cook ("General Hospital"), rapper/actor Romeo (no longer so Lil’) and champion skier (and, very briefly, Philadelphia Eagle) Jeremy Bloom.

Among those spinning the chairs in future episodes: "American Idol" Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks, another "Jersey Shore" guy, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, and singer Joe Jonas.

Host Cat Deeley is dancing as fast as she can, but she can’t disguise the weakness that plagues both "The Choice" and its more talent-focused inspiration. Once the chairs are turned, looks become a deciding factor (in this case, the deciding factor), and you won’t need anything as complicated as a scorecard to predict the guys’ picks.

Which doesn’t mean you don’t have choices yourself.

If what Thursday means to you is the soapy medicine of "Grey’s Anatomy’s" Seattle Grace, have I got a summer show for you.

NBC’s "Saving Hope," another of those Canadian imports with which frugal networks pad out their summer schedules, plays like a very special episode of "Grey’s," in that its main character, Hope-Zion Hospital chief of surgery Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks), is in a coma.

That frees him to roam the hospital in a tuxedo, checking in on the cases of his fellow surgeons, including his fiancée, Alex Reid (Erica Durance), and new arrival Joel Guran (Daniel Gillies), and occasionally kibitzing with other out-of-it patients, some of whom won’t be waking up.

As strange as it sounds, it’s no stranger than some of the medical dramas we’ll be seeing next season — "Mob Doctor," anyone? — and until "NY MED," the latest installment in ABC News’ "24?/7" docu-series franchise, turns up July 10, it might be just what the doctor ordered for "Grey’s" withdrawal.

‘Royal Pains’ returns

USA ramps up for summer Wednesday with the season premieres of "Royal Pains" at 9 p.m. and "Necessary Roughness" at 10.

With yet another conflict between Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) and his brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo) threatening to break up Hamptons, N.Y.-based HankMed, "Royal Pains" may be ignoring its strengths: its likable characters and Hank’s "MacGyver"-like approach to medicine.

In the Season 2 premiere of "Necessary Roughness," therapist Dani Santino (Callie Thorne) contends with messes new and returning, starting with the aftermath of the shooting of her star patient, T.K. (Mehcad Brooks). n

Contact Ellen Gray at 215-854-5950 or graye@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @elgray. Read her blog at EllenGray.tv.

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