So what exactly is a "soft-scripted" comedy? According to a USA executive, all the characters are scripted except the title character; Deutsch is mostly improvising and saying what he would just say naturally.
The real Deutsch, an ad executive and former TV show host (CNBC's "The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch"), is replaced in "Donny!" with a close-to-real Donny who hosts a daytime talk show of the Maury Povich or Jerry Springer variety. The Donny of "Donny!" has two children so stories are split between the workplace and home.
In tonight's premiere, Donny mocks one of his talk show guests after the show for the stupidity of sending a sext so it's immediately clear he will eventually do the same thing because that's exactly what a Dumb Daddy does on a TV comedy.
That said, "Donny!" surrounds its star with some savvy female performers, including Emily Tarver as his producer and Meera Rohit Kumbhani (a stand-out on Fox's short-lived "Weird Losers") as one of his three assistants, two of whom mock Donny regularly.
"Donny!" does give its title character a believable win at the end of the first episode, a slight deviation from the norm on Dumb Daddy comedies. But it's not enough to really recommend this show.