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CBS' Hat Trick

A Gifted Man, Person of Interest and Unforgettable

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There are, by my count, 32 new television shows on the dial this fall. The odds of success are almost insurmountable. Think of the uphill battle--you have to make it on a network schedule; compete against three other major networks (not to mention cable) that, in many cases, are already airing audience-tested, popular shows; and ultimately, you have to convince viewers to commit to 30, or heaven forbid, 60 minutes of their lives.

So it was with some surprise that I immediately found three new dramas to love. A bigger surprise is that they were all on one network-CBS. And the biggest surprise is that none have the letters CSI or NCIS attached.

Person of Interest (Thursdays, 8 p.m.) is rather conventional, at least on paper. But creator J.J. Abrams (Lost) works his small-screen magic and makes this drama highly watchable. Extra credit for snappy editing.

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Unforgettable (Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) stars the gorgeous Poppy Montgomery, who plays a former detective with a rare ability to remember everything. And I mean everything.

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Patrick Wilson is better known on Broadway (Barefoot in the Park, Oklahoma) than television, but his new series, A Gifted Man (Friday, 7 p.m.), is about to change all that. He plays an arrogant surgeon whose life is turned inside out when his dead ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle, another Broadway veteran) continues to haunt him. It's a bit of a mash-up of House and Ghost Whisperer. The time slot is a killer. Fridays at 7 p.m.

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Kudos, CBS. You've given me three more reasons to surrender three more hours of my life.

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