"Harry and the Hendersons" wasn't a terribly successful movie, but that isn't keeping it off the small screen as a weekly show.
The adventures of a mild-mannered Bigfoot (Harry) and the family that accidentally hit him with their car will continue in a syndicated series, which premieres locally on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.And MCA-TV has high hopes for the show - it has committed to producing 56 episodes. (That's 2 1/2 years worth.)
The only member of the theatrical cast returning for the TV sequel is Kevin Peter Hall, who plays Harry. But Steven Spielberg's Amblin company is still behind the scenes.
Instead of returning to the woods, Harry will remain with the Henderson family in the series. In addition to heart-warming family situations, we're promised that "Harry" will also contain a weekly environmental message.
No preview copies have passed this way, so I'll reserve judgment on how well the transition to TV is made.
CH. 14 SCHEDULE CHANGES: The addition of "Harry and the Hendersons" isn't the only change you'll see on KXIV. Ch. 14 has made a number of adjustments to its daily, Saturday and Sunday schedules.
Among the additions is "The Hogan Family," which joins the Monday-Friday schedule at 5:30 p.m. The series is just entering syndication, and we'll get a chance to see the first-year episodes - back when the show was called "Valerie" and before Valerie Harper was fired and her character killed off.
In addition to a few new programs, Ch. 14 has shifted the time slots of a number of others. Here's a quick look at those changes, and the programs new to KXIV's schedule are in italics:
Monday-Friday (effective Jan. 31): "Happy Days," 12:30 p.m.; "The Judge," 1:30 p.m.; "Highway to Heaven,"; 2 p.m.; "Out of This World," 5 p.m.; "The Hogan Family," 5:30 p.m.
Friday only (effective Jan. 4): "The Twilight Zone," 10:30 p.m.
Saturday (effective Jan. 5): "The A-Team," 8 a.m.; "Wrestling," 9 a.m.; "Fishing in Utah," 11 a.m.; "Sports in Utah," 11:30 a.m.; "U.S. Pro Ski Tour," 5 p.m.; "Star Search," 6 p.m.; "Neon Rider," 7 p.m.; "Byron Allen," 10 p.m., "Hogan's Heroes," 11 p.m.
Sunday (effective Jan. 13): "Utah Matters," 11 a.m.; "It's Your Business," 11:30 a.m.; "Weekend Travel Update," 12:30 p.m.; "New Horizons," 1 p.m.; "Krypton Factor," 2:30 p.m.; "Out of This World," 3:30 p.m.; "Superboy," 4 p.m.; "Superforce," 4:30 p.m.; "New Dragnet," 5 p.m.; "Harry and the Hendersons," 7 p.m.; "Hogan's Heroes," 11 p.m.; "Crime Stoppers 800," 11:30 p.m.
RUMOR `TODAY': The "Today" show, which isn't much good as a morning news show anymore but remains wonderful as a soap opera, is the focus of another hot rumor these days.
Deborah Norville, vilified as the woman who pushed Jane Pauley off the couch, is rumored to be on her way out herself after just a year as Pauley's replacement.
The story goes that Katie Couric, who joined "Today" last May as its national correspondent, is in line to take over the co-host's position.
NBC, of course, is denying the rumor. The only thing that's certain is that Couric will sub for Norville when she goes on maternity leave this spring.
The driving force behind this latest rumor is, of course, "Today's" ratings woes. Once the dominant morning news show, the numbers at "Today" have been bleak for the past year - "Good Morning, America's" ratings win streak now stands at 51 consecutive weeks.
Even worse, "Today" is now closer to third-place "CBS This Morning" than it is to first-place "Good Morning, America."
Strangely enough, "GMA's" streak began at almost exactly the same time that Norville replaced Pauley.
NBC DAYTIME: KUTV may have started a trend (or at least been on the crest of the wave) - our local NBC affiliate took back an hour of daytime programming from the network earlier this year, and now the network is giving that hour back to all of its affiliates.
Ch. 2's reasoning was simple: NBC's daytime schedule is a disaster and it was better off with syndicated programming ("Joan Rivers," "Sally Jesse Raphael.")
And NBC's reasoning was similar - it couldn't make money on the low-rated programs it was presenting.
In addition to the recently axed soap "Generations," NBC is pulling the plug on "The Marsha Warfield Show." Its replacement will be "Trialwatch," a series based on real-life courtroom events. (But will Judge Wapner be there?)
Now Ch. 2 has "Trialwatch," the news-oriented half hour, "A Closer Look" and the game show "Wheel of Fortune" to choose from when filling the 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. time slots, and early indications are that "Trialwatch" will be the odd man out.BIG BUCKS: It appears that the creator/producers of "Designing Women" and "Evening Shade" are about to become extremely wealthy.
When CBS committed to five more series from Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and her husband, Harry Thomason, the network didn't release the financial terms. But industry analysts are putting the figure somewhere between $45 million and $50 million.
And this doesn't even take into account the financial bonanza awaiting the Thomasons when "Designing Women" reruns go into syndication later this year.
Gee, maybe they can go back to Arkansas and actually buy the town of Evening Shade.
Actually, it's nice to see the network make that kind of commitment to quality programming.
SEARCH FOR BEAUTY: "Hard Copy," the pseudo-news, "National Enquirer"-type program that airs locally at 1:05 a.m. weeknights on Ch. 2, is looking for the most beautiful woman in America.
You can enter (either for yourself of someone you know) by sending a home video and a 200-word description to Most Beautiful Woman, c/o Hard Copy, 5555 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, CA 90038.
Entries must be received by Feb. 1, and four finalists will compete in a phone-in poll.
I don't make this junk up, I just repeat it for your entertainment.