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<i> Times Staff Writer</i>

“The Cosby Show” and “Miami Vice” cast long shadows over the three networks as they developed new series for their fall prime-time lineups. But CBS’ selections, announced Wednesday, suggest that timeless formulas may win out over copies of current fads.

According to reports prepared for potential sponsors by two media-buying firms, the Paul Schulman Co. and FCB/Telecom, nearly half of the 79 pilot episodes developed by the networks dealt with family life and another 14 featured cops or crime-fighters as their main characters. That’s not surprising given the trend-setting successes that “The Cosby Show” and “Miami Vice” were for top-ranked NBC.

CBS gave only one nod to those shows--in “Together We Stand,” in which parents Elliott Gould and Dee Wallace gain two adopted children to join their two teen-agers. The sitcoms “Taking the Town,” with Pam Dawber, “Designing Women,” from the folks behind “Filthy Rich,” and the teen-oriented “Better Days”; the adventure show “Wizard of Elm Street”; the hospital drama “Kay O’Brien, Surgeon,” and the police series “Downtown” with Michael Nouri all borrow little from last season’s hottest shows.


Still, NBC and, in particular, ABC have a variety of warm families and grittily realistic cops in the wings. And to a greater degree than CBS, they are looking to lawyers, aliens, yuppies, sisters, urban do-gooders, adventurers and your basic zanies to draw viewers to the tube in 1986-87.

Some of the trends, as compiled from the Schulman and FCB reports:

Families--Perhaps to avoid looking too much like “Cosby,” or possibly to expand the dramatic possibilities, many potential fall series feature either makeshift families or multigenerational groupings. In the former category: NBC’s “The Girls from St. Mags,” starring Joe Bologna as a jet-setting bachelor who adopts six street-smart orphan girls, and ABC’s “Dads,” a sort of male “Kate & Allie” about two single fathers who join forces. In the latter category: ABC’s “Ellen Burstyn Show,” in which the star shares her Baltimore brownstone with her mother, 25-year-old daughter and 8-year-old grandson.

NBC has already guaranteed to air “My Grandfather’s House,” a domestic drama in which Wilford Brimley takes in his daughter-in-law, her three kids and their dog. ABC, meanwhile, has promised a full season’s run to “Lucy,” marking the return of Lucille Ball, this time in a family situation that spans the generations.

Cops--This genre really has never been off the screen, but it takes on a new, harsh realism in the “Miami Vice” era. Leading the pack is “Crime Story,” a serial drama from “Vice” executive producer Michael Mann, who is preparing at least 13 episodes to air on NBC. Additional network picks could include “Waco & Rhinehart” (ABC), about two U.S. marshals who conduct sting operations; “C.A.T. Squad” (NBC), about an elite Counter Assault Tactical team (with film maker William Friedkin as executive producer and director) and “Popeye Doyle” (NBC), based on Friedkin’s film, “The French Connection.” ABC also has “Cold Steel and Neon,” which manages to work in the “Cosby” ethic by having star Robert Desiderio play a police detective who works nights and raises his kids by day;

Aliens--Other-worldly beings appear in two ABC pilots whose titles come from popular movies: “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” starring Lewis Smith as a space traveler marooned on Earth, and “Starman,” with Robert Hays picking up Jeff Bridges’ movie role as an extraterrestrial, here returning to Earth years later to be with his Earth-born son. NBC borrows from the alien genre in two more potential shows, “Alf,” a comedy about an Alien Life Force portrayed by a puppet, and “The Annihilator,” in the mold of 1967’s “The Invaders” and recently seen as a TV movie.

Yuppies--The surprise is that there are not more pilots devoted to this mythological acquisitive segment of the population. CBS opted not to go with “My Blood Brother,” with Charles Rocket as a successful executive and Joe Regalbuto as his idealistic, ‘60s-ish pal. But NBC could still try out “Sweet Surrender,” with Lisa Sutton (Belker’s wife on “Hill Street Blues”) and Mark Blum (“Desperately Seeking Susan”) as an ad executive-wife and architect-husband who want it all.


Urban Intrigue--Sprawling countrysides teeming with ambitious residents are out; skyscrapers crammed full of ambitious citizens are in. Big-city issues or settings dominated at least eight pilots at the three networks. ABC developed an inordinate share of these, including “City,” which tracks the lives of a mayor, police chief, newspaper editor and industrialist; “Flag,” about a do-gooder who inherits control of a gigantic financial empire; and “Our Kind of Town,” with Shelley Hack as a Chicago newspaper columnist who becomes involved in civic issues.

International Adventure--With NBC already chock full of hits, this category too is ABC’s turf. In the wings: “Harry’s Hong Kong,” with David Soul stationed in the title city; “Island Sons,” starring the Bottoms brothers--Timothy, Joseph, Sam and Ben--and set in Hawaii, and “Riviera,” with Ben Masters as a suave globe-trotter.