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ABC’s “Family Tools,” debuting tonight, stars J.K. Simmons as a retiring handyman



Published: Wed, May 1, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

ABC’s “Family Tools,” debuting tonight, stars J.K. Simmons as a retiring handyman who has to turn his business over to his layabout son (Kyle Bornheimer). It’s also the latest example of an American comedy to be based on a British TV show, in this case, “White Van Man.” Here are five others, all of which became huge hits:

v “All in the Family”: Based on “Till Death Do Us Part,” which focused on the East End’s Garnett family, headed by patriarch Alf Garnett, a racist, anti- socialist working-class man.

v “Sanford and Son”: In “Steptoe and Son,” Albert and Harold Steptoe, father-and-son junk collectors (known in Britain as “rag-and-bone men”) lived together and spent most of the time arguing with each other.

v “Three’s Company”: “Man About the House” offered the then- risque premise of two women (named Chrissy and Jo) sharing their flat with a man, named here Robin Tripp.

v “Too Close for Comfort”: Based on “Keep It in the Family,” about a talented illustrator named Dudley Rush (as opposed to Ted Knight’s Henry Rush) whose two daughters move into the vacant downstairs apartment.

v “The Office”: In the British version, Ricky Gervais starred as David Brent, the clueless general manager of the Slough branch of the Wernham Hogg Paper Co. (He also created the series.)

“Manhunt” (8 p.m., HBO): “Manhunt” is a gripping new documentary that chronicles, in great detail, the efforts to track and take down Osama bin Laden. Spoiler alert: They got him.

“Family Tools” (8:30 P.M., ABC): This generic and disappointing new sitcom wastes the considerable talents of J.K. Simmons and Leah Remini.

“The Big Brain Theory — pure genius” (10 p.m., Discovery): Kal Penn (“House”) hosts “The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius.” It’s a competition show that pits engineers against each other in a series of high-tech challenges, including one that involves explosives.

tv listings, b6

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Celtic duo in concert

YOUNGSTOWN

Soprano singer Colleen McNally-Harris and harpist Kirk Kupensky will present an hourlong concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Patrick Church on Oak Hill Avenue. The duo perform ancient and modern Celtic music and sacred music. A free-will offering will be accepted. Call 330-743-1109.


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