TV Article

August

Check out these hot summer TV shows -- New series for August 2004 include ''''Growing Up Gotti,'' ''Blue Collar TV,'' and ''Designer Finals''

Growing Up Gotti,A&E, AUGUST 2, 9:30 P.M.

Victoria Gotti knows you're wondering why the daughter of a late Mob boss would invite television camera crews to trail her every move -- whether she's interviewing celebs on the red carpet (for her gossip column in Star) or sorting laundry in her chi-chi Lawn Guyland digs. ''This is not about fame,'' says Gotti. ''God knows I've had it. I didn't need it, I didn't want it, and I didn't ask for it. It's about showing the world that we are not a real-life Sopranos.'' Instead, Gotti fights her battles at home: She's the single mother of three teenage boys whose good looks have earned them a nickname at school. ''You mean the Hottie Gotti Boys?'' she asks. ''My kids are special. We talk about everything -- and, yes, sometimes it gets loud.'' While Gotti hopes the show will improve her family's image, she's not above laughing at herself. ''I'm very dramatic,'' she says. ''I never realized it, but now when I watch myself, I'm going, 'Ooh, God!' People are always telling me I'm like a real-life Lucille Ball. I don't see it.''

Blue Collar TV, THE WB, AUGUST

Jeff ''You Might be a Redneck'' Foxworthy says this stand-up and sketch-comedy improv series in which he costars with his Southern comic buddies Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy is ''time-tested: We went out on a four-month tour that turned out to last three years and ended up selling two million DVDs.'' So while these three yuksters are less known in big East and West Coast cities, they're huge everywhere in between. (Sample Larry the Cable Guy line: ''I went to the mall to a store called Just Socks and the girl wasn't wearing any socks. I thought, 'Gee, I oughta head down to Just Bikinis!''') Foxworthy says the show will be like ''In Living Color'' crossed with ''Hee Haw'' and will shoot partly in Atlanta for that down-home feel. He also admits that his trademark joke refrain is ''a blessing and a curse.'' Aw, c'mon, man, lay just one on us! ''Oh, all right: If you've ever had to finance a tattoo...you might be a redneck.''

Designer Finals, HGTV, AUGUST 14, 9 P.M.

There's something soothing about HGTV home-makeover shows. ''We don't look to create drama,'' program production head James Bolosh explains. ''We look to give good, solid design ideas.'' Consider ''Designer Finals,'' hosted by Penn Holderness, a slight deviation from that norm: Drama occurs naturally when HGTV gives top design students their first real-world clients -- and only $2,000, two carpenters, and two days to get the job done. While each newbie consults with the home owners and a mentor before getting dirty, screwups are unavoidable. A power outage forces one crew to finish projects with handsaws, by flashlight. A volunteer can't seem to frame a piece of art without breaking the glass. And then there's the horror one student experiences when the wrong rug arrives -- throwing his entire design off-kilter. ''To me,'' says exec producer Tom Giesen, ''that's the most heartbreaking moment in the entire season.'' Don't feel too bad for the kid, though: ''I know [the clients] took him out to dinner afterwards and talked about maybe doing other rooms,'' Giesen says. See? HGTV does like its happy endings.

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