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CBS Makes Schedule Changes

CBS News’ new “48 Hours” series, anchored by Dan Rather, will shift in March from Tuesday nights to Thursdays opposite NBC’s powerhouse “The Bill Cosby Show,” a CBS News spokesman said Friday.

Word of the move comes just three weeks after “48 Hours” premiered as the third prime-time news series on the network’s schedule. It is being moved to Thursdays because NBC’s Tuesday night drama, “Matlock” seemed to “have a lock” on the adult viewers that “48 Hours” hoped to get, CBS News spokesman Tom Goodman said.

Network officials, he said, think that “there is a very good chance” the program can find the adult audience on Thursday night, even though opposite NBC’s Cosby series, which usually is first in prime-time ratings. “48 Hours” currently faces “Matlock” and ABC’s “Who’s the Boss and “Growing Pains” on Tuesday night.

The CBS News series examines a single subject within a 48-hour time period. Because of heavy promotion and a number of press interviews by the previously reclusive Rather prior to the program’s premiere, the series had a 12.1 rating when it debuted on Jan. 19. However, the ratings have declined to an average 10.3 to date, according to CBS News. Each ratings point represents 886,000 homes.

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“Tour of Duty,” CBS’ current competitor with NBC’s “Cosby” and “Different World” sitcoms, will be moved to the 9 p.m. slot Saturdays beginning March 12 to make room for the shift of “48 Hours” to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

CBS also announced four new half-hour comedies and other mid-season scheduling changes along with the moves of “48 Hours” and “Tour of Duty.” The hour dramas “Houston Knights” and “The Law and Harry McGraw” will be removed from the new schedule.

The new series are:

--"Eisenhower and Lutz,” an MTM show about a one-man law firm operating out of a Palm Springs mini-mall, which premieres March 14 (Mondays) at 9:30 p.m.

--"Trial and Error,” about two childhood friends who are now an attorney and a street T-shirt salesman, starring Eddie Velez and Paul Rodriguez, premiering March 15 (Tuesdays) at 8 p.m.

--"The Dictator,” starring Christopher Lloyd as a deposed South Sea Island ruler now living in Queens, starting March 15 (Tuesdays) at 8:30 p.m.

--"Coming of Age,” starring Paul Dooley, Phyllis Newman, Glynis Johns and Alan Young as residents of an Arizona retirement community, debuting March 15 (Tuesdays) at 9 p.m.

In still other changes, “Frank’s Place” will move on March 15 from 9:30 p.m. Mondays to the same time period on Tuesdays also beginning March 15. (That move follows this coming Monday’s change when “Frank’s Place” goes to 9:30 p.m., switching time periods with “Designing Women,” which will air at 8:30 p.m.)

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“Magnum, P.I.” moves from 9 p.m. Wednesdays to the 8 p.m. slot March 19; “Jake and the Fatman” moves from 9 p.m. Tuesdays to 9 p.m. Wednesdays March 16.


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