ABC Axes 2; CBS Re-Signs Lansbury


ABC removed the three lowest-rated shows on prime-time network televison Tuesday, canceling newcomers "Homeroom" and "Living Dolls" and placing the veteran "Mr. Belvedere" on hiatus.

CBS, meanwhile, was happy to announce that Angela Lansbury had agreed to return for a seventh season of "Murder, She Wrote" next year. As the star of the CBS entertainment division's only Top 20 show, Lansbury commanded another lucrative resigning deal similar to last year's haul.

ABC's "Homeroom," which this season ranks 81st of the 84 shows on the Big Three networks, was dropped from its Sunday 8:30 p.m. slot and will have its last telecast Dec. 17. "Living Dolls," dead last in 84th place, will make its final appearance Dec. 30. "Mr. Belvedere," tied at 82nd, will go on hiatus after its Dec. 30 broadcast but will return later in the season.

Added to the ABC lineup is the "Father Dowling Mysteries," which appeared as a replacement series on NBC last season. The hour drama, starring Tom Bosley as a crime-fighting Chicago priest, will air in the Thursday 8 p.m. suicide slot opposite NBC's top-rated "Cosby Show." "Mission: Impossible," which airs in that time period now, will move to Saturdays at 8 p.m. starting Jan. 6.

"America's Funniest Home Videos," which ran as an ABC special on Nov. 26 and pulled a strong 25% share of the viewing audience, will premiere as a series Sunday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. "Free Spirit," currently seen at 8 p.m. Sunday, will slide back to the 8:30 p.m. slot.

CBS, in its deal to keep Lansbury for another season, has committed to buying a series from her company, Corymore Production, Inc. The series, slated for the 1990-91 season, would not star Lansbury. Last year CBS committed to buying a comedy series, in which she would star, as soon as "Murder" ceases production.

CBS also has agreed, through various deals, to buy several movies from Lansbury's company.

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