According to Deseret News soap opera specialist Scott Pierce, this season's "Dynasty" cliffhanger was the best of any of the prime time serials. As the show ended: Alexis and Dex are in mid-air after being pushed off a balcony, Blake has been shot by a crooked police officer, Fallon and Kristina are trapped underground with a crook and Krystal is still in a coma (although with Linda Evans, one can never be sure).
And that's the way we're going to leave it. Robert A. Iger, the new entertainment president at ABC, is taking his first shot at programming a fall television season. And he has decided to do it without "Dynasty."The cancellation of the once-proud soaper comes as no surprise. The show's ratings, once of the blockbuster variety, were embarrassingly low this season. And with Joan Collins leaving the show, the promise for the future didn't look bright. So Iger is allowing the show to die a natural death - although there's always the possibility of a follow-up made-for-TV movie so we can watch Alexis hit the ground.
And "Dynasty" isn't the only ABC series you won't be seeing next fall. John Ritter's "Hooperman," the last of the "dramadies," is also gone, as are "Moonlighting," "HeartBeat," "Incredible Sunday," "A Fine Romance," "Knight Watch," "Murphy's Law," "Have Faith," "Men," "A Man Called Hawk," "Coach" and "The Robert Guillaume Show."
In their places Iger will offer six new comedies, two one-hour dramas and one news program. They are:
- From This Moment On, starring comic Jackie Mason in his first TV series as a Jewish man struggling with his tradition-minded mother and the Irish widow next door, played by Lynn Redgrave. This series is produced by Carsey/Warner, the same company that brings you "Roseanne" and "The Cosby Show."
- Doogie Howser M.D., a comedy about a boy genius who is a doctor in a large metropolitan hospital. There's no big-name acting talent involved here - yet - but there is a big name in the production department: Steven Bochco.
- Family Matters is a spin-off from "Perfect Strangers," focusing on the ups and downs in the life of the elevator operator played by Jo Marie Payton-France.
- Living Dolls, a comedy about four teenage models, is being produced by Blake Hunter and Martin Cohan, who also produce "Who's The Boss?" So count on plenty of cross-overs between the two series.
- Free Spirit is about a young housekeeper who is also a witch. Think of it as a mix of "Bewitched" and "Live-In." Frightening, isn't it?
- Homeroom is about an inner-city school teacher who has as many problems at home as at school.
- Life Goes On is an hour-long drama about a working class family. The key element here is that one of the family members has Downs Syndrome - a TV series first.
- The Kid is another hour-long series. It's a Western (thank you, "Lonesome Dove" and "Paradise") that follows the exploits of the young men who rode for the Pony Express.
- Prime Time is the working title for the new Sam Donaldson-Diane Sawyer series from ABC News.
The new ABC schedule will also include a few surprising continuing series. "Mission: Impossible," for example, was a strike-induced stop-gap that performed well enough to earn the dubious honor of going head-to-head with "Cosby." "Just the 10 of Us" looked like it was headed for the network scrap heap until it surged late in the season. And "Mr. Belvedere" has already been canceled twice, so any time it makes a cut it's something of a surprise.
Here's what the ABC schedule will look like in the fall:
Monday: 7 p.m. - Monday Night Football (MacGyver and a Monday Night Movie will take over when the football season is over).
Tuesday: 7 p.m. - Who's The Boss?; 7:30 - The Wonder Years; 8 - Roseanne; 8:30 - From This Moment On; 9 - thirtysomething.
Wednesday: 7 p.m. - Growing Pains; 7:30 - Head of the Class; 8 - Anything But Love; 8:30 - Doogie Howser, M.D.; 9 - China Beach.
Thursday: 7 p.m. - Mission: Impossible; 8 - The Kid; 9 - Prime Time.
Friday: 7 p.m. - Full House; 7:30 - Family Matters; 8 - Perfect Strangers; 8:30 - Just the 10 of Us; 9 - 20/20.
Saturday: 7 p.m. - Mr. Belvedere; 7:30 - Living Dolls; 8 - The Saturday Mystery Movie.
Sunday: 6 p.m. - Life Goes On; 7 - Free Spirit; 7:30 - Homeroom; 8 - ABC Sunday Night Movie.