TV REVIEWS : More Anns, Fewer Laughs in NBC's 'Ann Jillian'

NBC's new comedy series "Ann Jillian" starring Ann Jillian as Ann McNeil--has more Anns than laughs.

It premieres at 8:30 tonight (on Channels 4, 36 and 39), benefiting from "The Cosby Show" as a temporary powerful lead-in before moving into its regular time slot at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The premise finds the recently widowed Ann and her teen-aged daughter, Lucy (Lisa Rieffel), abandoning New York for California.

The adjustment: There's a new house. There's a new life style. There are new bikes. There are new people, including Lucy's wisecracking friend (Zachary Rosencrantz) and Ann's boss (Cynthia Harris), with whom she has sought employment to pay for the new house.

The comedy: Uh, getting back to the adjustment. . . .

It's no myth that, initially at least, California is like Mars to many easterners. However, the opener gets nowhere with its stabs at exploiting this geographic culture gap. Even worse is when the tone gets serious and maudlin.

Perhaps things will improve in Sunday's episode, when the McNeils experience their first earthquake (a mild one). But the premiere is Mars.

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