* MALIBU COUNTRY. 8:30 p.m. Friday, 6 ABC.
I'M NOT sure what it is about Reba McEntire that screams "wronged wife," but the singer-actress embarks on her second sitcom Friday in a role that once again has her starting over after marriage to a cheater.
In ABC's "Malibu Country," she's doing the leaving, taking her kids and her mother (Lily Tomlin) and fleeing Nashville, Tenn. - and her country star husband - for the Malibu, Calif., house she never even knew she had, hoping to restart the singing career she put aside years earlier.
As a fan of McEntire's earlier WB/CW show "Reba," which for six seasons handled the aftermath of a divorce involving children with both humor and surprising sensitivity, I'd hoped a show on a bigger network that paired McEntire and Tomlin might be even better.
No such luck.
The pilot for "Malibu Country" isn't the very worst show of the new season. But it's easily the greatest waste of talent, with a broad, fish-out-of-water treatment that makes the distance between Nashville and L.A. seem a lot greater than it does on, say, ABC's own "Nashville" and portrays a woman who has reason to know something about show business like a country-music bumpkin. (Red hair is no excuse for channeling Lucy Ricardo in 2012.)
Worse, "Malibu Country" turns Tomlin (who's on the young side to be playing McEntire's mother), into a pot-smoking cartoon.
Adding to the disappointment: the very funny Sara Rue ("Less Than Perfect") is trapped in an impersonation of one of the "Real Housewives," offering to "mentor" Reba in the ways of Malibu, even as her stepson offers his own tips to Reba's daughter.
It all makes me a little sad, but I can't say it's not a good fit with the 8 p.m. return of Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing."