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The TV Column

NBC's Welcome to Sweden greets viewers today

By Michael Storey

This article was published July 10, 2014 at 2:04 a.m.

The new NBC comedy Welcome to Sweden stars Josephine Bornebusch and Greg Poehler.

This is a busy, busy evening for new stuff on TV, so let's get right to it.

Welcome to Sweden, 8 p.m., NBC. This new sitcom finds Bruce Evans (Greg Poehler) and Emma Wiik (Josephine Bornebusch) as the seemingly perfect couple. When, after a year together, Emma makes the life-changing decision to move back to her native Sweden to accept a prestigious banking position, she's thrilled that Bruce agrees to move with her.

Naturally, moving halfway around the world with your girlfriend is a huge step, especially for a guy with no job, no friends and no real clue about what he is getting himself into.

Hilarity ensues as Bruce faces the culture shock of Sweden and tries to figure out how to win over Emma's strange family.

Executive producers include Poehler and his sister, Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), and it's art imitating life for Greg, who was happily going along as a lawyer, met a Swedish lawyer at work, fell in love and lived with her in New York for five years.

Then they had a son and moved to Sweden, where their story revolved around the cultural differences and the way folks deal with them. A sitcom was born.

Bruce, a successful money manager to the stars, loves and adores Emma, a charming woman who is intelligent, funny, kind and beautiful.

Bruce's challenges include Emma's parents Viveka (Lena Olin, Chocolat) and Birger (Claes Mansson), with whom they live. Viveka, a therapist, dislikes Bruce from day one. Birger, a retired sea captain, is tall, kind and silent and has difficulty with English.

Emma's younger brother, Gustav (Christopher Wagelin), is a 28-year-old slacker who can do no wrong in his mother's eyes. Bengt (Per Svensson), Birger's younger brother, is an American-adoring rockabilly who lives his life through Hollywood movies.

Patrick Duffy plays Bruce's dad, Wayne, and Illeana Douglas portrays his mom, Nancy. They are baffled by his decision to move to Sweden.

Working the Engles, 8:30 p.m., NBC. This is a (dysfunctional) family comedy about a gaggle of ne'er-do-wells who must band together to make ends meet when their father dies and leaves them with a ton of debt.

The Engles must all go to work running their father's storefront law firm. There's just one problem: Daughter Jenna (Kacey Rohl) is the only one licensed to practice law.

Jenna is the youngest sibling and "the good one" among the kids. She becomes the unlikely key to running the law firm and keeping her wacky family together.

Ceil (Andrea Martin), the self-absorbed drama queen of a mom, takes on the task of the firm's paralegal.

Sandy (Azura Skye) is a former pill popper who has never worked a day in her life, but becomes the receptionist and first line of defense at the firm.

Jimmy (Ben Arthur) is a petty criminal and bad boy who is utterly devoted to his family and becomes the firm's investigator.

Hilarity ensues. Maybe.

It's All Relative, 9 p.m., TLC. You loved her as Carrie Heffernan on The King of Queens (1998-2007). Maybe you watched her on CBS' The Talk before she wasn't invited back for Season 2. Now you can see the "real" Leah Remini in action in her own reality series.

In this 12-episode, half-hour series, the 44-year-old Remini is shown as wife to real-life husband, Puerto Rican salsa musician Angelo Pagan, and mom to their feisty 9-year-old daughter Sofia.

TLC tells us we'll "find out what life is really like in the entertainment industry as you step into Leah's home to watch her juggle career, her celebrity status and her family."

Also on hand are Leah's opinionated mother, Vicki; eccentric stepfather, George; down-to-earth sister Shannon; and Sofia's British nanny.

Pawnography, 9 p.m., History Channel. Hosted by comedian Christopher Titus, the half-hour game show features contestants competing against the boys from Pawn Stars -- Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison and Austin "Chumlee" Russell.

The trivia-style questions are to win coveted items from Rick's personal collection.

Rebranded. In case you missed it, the Biography Channel has been rebranded FYI. The new lineup is intended "to embrace the way a new generation experiences their lives today, not defined by one passion or interest."

In other words, its a programming potpourri aimed at a younger demographic.

Example: Married at First Sight airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The 10 hour-long episodes follow three scientifically matched couples who agree to get legally married the moment they first meet.

Cameras follow; drama ensues.

Debuting at 9 p.m. today is World Food Championships, six one-hour episodes of food competitions "from BBQ, to bacon to family recipes."

Co-hosts are Jeffrey Saad, chef, author and restaurant owner, and Dallas-based chef Tiffany Derry. The ultimate winner gets $50,000.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

Weekend on 07/10/2014

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