NBC, which has found itself in an extraordinarily close ratings race this season, announced that it's changing its lineup on six nights of the week come January.
The only night to remain untouched is Tuesday.There's both good news and bad news among the cancellation notices - the awful "Ferris Bueller" and "Grand" are both gone, but so is "Working It Out," a quality sitcom.
"American Dreamer" is being sent on hiatus, and the fate of the wonderful "Parenthood" is still undecided - but it doesn't look good for the Buckner clan.
New shows joining the lineup are the prime time revival of the gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows"' and "Blossom," a sitcom starring Mayim Bialik (who played the young Bette Midler in "Beaches") and Ted Wass ("Soap").
One other show somewhat defies description. NBC says "Sunday Best" will be a "topical and comedic magazine show featuring mostly original material as well as clips of NBC's other shows.
Translated, that means it will be cheap to produce so it won't matter when it gets killed in the ratings by CBS' "60 Minutes."
And "Seinfeld" is returning after a successful tryout last spring.
Not only that, but "Dear John" is moving to Saturdays, "Night Court" to Wednesdays and "Wings" will return to Thursdays.
"Dark Shadows" will premiere as a two-part, four-hour movie Jan. 13 and 14 before settling into its regular time slot on Fridays at 8 p.m, which will put it in direct competition with another soap - CBS' "Dallas." (Fascinating - vampire Barnabas Collins vs. J.R. Ewing.)
Here's NBC's new lineup, set to begin sometime in January (new shows are in bold, shows changing time periods are in italics):
Sunday: 6 p.m. - "Sunday Best," 7 p.m. - "Real Life with Jane Pauley," 7:30 p.m. - "Expose," 8 p.m. - NBC Sunday movie.
Monday: 7 p.m. - "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," 7:30 p.m. - "Blossom," 8 p.m. - NBC Monday movie.
Tuesday: 7 p.m. - "Matlock," 8 p.m. - "In the Heat of the Night," 9 p.m. - "Law & Order."
Wednesday: 7 p.m. - "Unsolved Mysteries," 7:30 p.m. - "Night Court," 8 p.m. - "Seinfeld," 9 p.m. - "Hunter."
Thursday: 7 p.m. - "Cosby," 7:30 p.m. - "A Different World," 8 p.m. - "Cheers," 8:30 p.m. - "Wings," 9 p.m. - "L.A. Law."
Friday: 7 p.m. - "Quantum Leap," 8 p.m. - "Dark Shadows," 9 p.m. - "Midnight Caller."
Saturday: 7 p.m. - "Amen," 7:30 p.m. - "The Fanelli Boys," 8 p.m. - "Golden Girls," 8:30 p.m. - "Empty Nest," 9 p.m. - "Carol & Company," 9:30 p.m. - "Dear John."
GRAND FAILURE: When "Grand" returned for a second season in the coveted slot after "Cheers," there were three reasons - Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner and Bill Cosby.
"Grand" itself wasn't that great, and the modifications made this season made it terrible. But Carsey and Werner produce "The Cosby Show" and "A Different World" for NBC (and "Roseanne" for ABC). And we all know what NBC owes Cosby.
Hurt in the move was "Wings," a fine sitcom produced by the team that used to bring us "Cheers." If their names had been Carsey and Werner, they would have had the Thursday at 8:30 time slot, where "Wings" performed very well in a tryout last spring.
But there is some justice in the world - even in the world of TV. "Grand" is gone and "Wings" just had its life extended when it move back behind "Cheers."
UNINSPIRED MOVIE ADAPTATIONS: Here's the score on this year's crop of television shows inspired by hit movies:
- "Baby Talk" (from "Look Who's Talking") never got off the ground because of personnel problems. It's still supposed to show up sometime, but no date is set yet.
- "Bagdad Cafe" was canceled - and not just because Whoopi Goldberg quit.
- "Ferris Bueller" was canceled after bombing in the ratings.
- "Uncle Buck" is currently on hiatus and its future looks grim.
- "Parenthood," the only really good show in the bunch, is hanging by a thread.
- "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" (ripped off from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off") survives, but that's largely because Fox hasn't got anything better to put on.
The only successful movie adaption on the air right now is "In the Heat of the Night."
So, does this mean we won't see a bunch more of this kind of show next season?
NO LONGER `ACTING': KSL's Lee Roderick and Bruce Lindsay have had the "acting" portion of their titles removed - Roderick is now officially Ch. 5's director of news/public affairs and Lindsay is managing editor of the newscasts.
The pair have been acting in those positions since Oct. 19, when Spence Kinard, then vice president of
news/public affairs, resigned.
Roderick, a longtime print journalist who was the Washington bureau chief for Scripps newspapers, joined KSL last year as the No. 2 man behind Kinard. Lindsay is a longtime anchorman and reporter for the station, and will continue his on-air duties.
NO MORE `AMERICA TONIGHT': KSL has been vindicated in its decision not to carry CBS' late-night news show "America Tonight." The Charles Kuralt-Lesley Stahl half hour, which premiered just months ago, will come to an end next month.
Ch. 5 chose not to pick up the program and disturb its successful "Love Boat" reruns, fearing CBS had no real commitment to the show. The Big Eye has flailed around for years in late night, failing with one attempt after another (including the ill-fated "Pat Sajak Show," which KSL did carry).
Beginning in January, CBS will begin airing five different action/adventure series in late night. No final decision has been made, but don't expect the "Love Boat" to sail away.