On the surface it seemed like such a nice idea - bringing back former TV series co-stars Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore and teaming them in back-to-back sitcoms on Wednesday night.
But it didn't work.CBS announced Tuesday that the two new series, The Van Dyke Show and Annie McGuire, are among the five shows that will be missing when a network prime time programming reorganization takes place next month. The other shows being sent to TV heaven - or wherever - are Raising Miranda, Simon & Simon (again) and Dirty Dancing (which is the only show officially being placed "on hiatus," which means there's a chance CBS will give it another shot later in the season. But KSL won't, so it's pretty much academic as far as Utah viewers are concerned).
Four of the five canceled programs come from the 7-8 p.m. time period, which is where CBS is just getting clobbered this season. Aside from "Murder, She Wrote" on Sunday, the Big Eye network doesn't a single 7 o'clock series in the Nielsen top 40. And as NBC so clearly proved with "The Cosby Show" on Thursdays, you really build your schedule - and your audience - on the first prime time series of the evening.
CBS will try to fix the leaks it has sprung with one new series, a returning series and a change in assignments for a promising newcomer that hasn't blossomed so far. On Saturdays at 7 beginning Jan. 21 CBS will air Dolphin Bay, an Australian-produced series that was originally purchased to reduced damage by the writers strike. It stars Frank Converse as an American dolphin researcher who moves to Australia with his two young children (no mother, of course - this is still the 1988 season, you know).