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Originally published September 13, 2011 at 3:09 PM | Page modified September 13, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Fall TV: Ten fresh faces to watch

A TV writer lists his picks for who will stand out in the new fall TV season: Beth Behrs, Shelley Conn, Rhys Darby, Gale Harold, Scott Porter and more.

McClatchy Newspapers

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LOS ANGELES — TV shows come and go — some in less than a week.

Every fall, when the networks launch their new shows, I start looking for fresh faces who standout.

Actors like Christina Ricci on "Pan Am" or Maria Bello on "Prime Suspect" don't count because they're already well known. I'm looking for those with little or no TV exposure.

This will be the 14th fall TV season I've selected 10 actors to watch — those I predict have successful careers ahead — from the new network season. Some of my predictions have been on target, such as the 2003 pick Amber Tamblyn for "Joan of Arcadia" or the 2007 selection of Jim Parsons on "The Big Bang Theory."

This isn't a science and some stars fade as fast as their shows. Anyone remember my 2002 pick of Grant Rosenmeyer from "Oliver Beene"? (I doubt anyone even remembers "Oliver Beene.")

Using a secret formula I've dubbed GUESS (Guaranteed Unusual Entertainment Star Statistics), here are my predictions for this year's 10 to watch:

Beth Behrs, "2 Broke Girls," 8:30 p.m. Mondays on CBS: She might not have as extensive a résumé as the other broke girl, played by Kat Dennings, but this Pennsylvania native is making the most of her first starring TV role. She has great comic timing that will make her the breakout of this comedy.

Shelley Conn, "Terra Nova," 8 p.m. Monday on Fox: The British actress makes her American television debut with this dinosaur series. She trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art before starting her British television career in 2001 with the police drama "Merseybeat."

Rhys Darby, "How To Be a Gentleman," 8:30 p.m. Thursdays on CBS: He has a following for his portrayal of Murray in HBO's "Flight of the Conchords," but this is his biggest network TV role. The former soldier in the New Zealand army, who has spent 15 years on the comedy circuit, brings life to this new sitcom.

Chris D'Elia, "Whitney," 9:30 p.m. Thursdays on NBC: Co-star Whitney Cummings is getting all of the early attention, but it will become clear quickly that it's D'Elia's comic timing that makes the jokes work so well. He's had a few small TV roles, but D'Elia has spent most of his time as a stand-up comedian. He should stay on TV because he's very funny.

Kelli Garner, "Pan Am," 10 p.m. Sundays on ABC: The Bakersfield, Calif., native has been bouncing around the acting world for a few years, but she's come in for a landing on this new high-flying drama. Garner will get some of the more interesting story lines: Her character has a secret life away from the airline.

David Giuntoli, "Grimm," 9 p.m. Fridays on NBC: The St. Louis native has had guest-starring roles on TV shows, but he's at the center of some dark and adventurous action here. If the series about how storybook characters are real finds a following, this could be a fairy-tale year for Giuntoli.

Gale Harold, "The Secret Circle," 9 p.m. Thursdays on CW: The Atlanta native is one of those actors you recognize but probably don't know by name. He's finally landed a pivotal role in the witchy soap opera that should get him lots of attention and name recognition.

Naturi Naughton, "The Playboy Club," 10 p.m. Mondays on NBC: Broadway patrons will recognize the New Jersey native for the two years she spent playing Little Inez in "Hairspray." Her character, Brenda, is going to stand out on the drama because she's one of the few African-American bunnys in the Playboy Club and she looks like she's enjoying the work.

Scott Porter, "Hart of Dixie," 9 p.m. Mondays on CW: He's had roles on "The Good Wife" and "Caprica," but this show gives the Nebraska native his best exposure yet. He'll need all the charm he can muster, as this show looks like an early candidate for the chopping block.

Rachael Taylor, "Charlie's Angels," 8 p.m. Thursdays on ABC: It takes a lot for one actress to stand out among a cast of beautiful women, but the Australian actress does just that. Action film fans will know her for her role in "Transformers," but it will be her work as Abby Simpson on this crime drama that will win over viewers.

Rick Bentley: rbentley@fresnobee.com




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