Third-Place CBS Unveils Fall Lineup : Television: Network tries to beef up its early evening programming. Among the new shows are four sitcoms and five hourlong dramas.
CBS’ fall schedule features a revamped prime-time lineup with seven hours of new programming and a first-run movie package, the network’s top entertainment executive said today.
“This is a strong, first step in the process of rebuilding our prime-time lineup,” said Jeff Sagansky, president of CBS Entertainment, introducing his first full schedule since taking the job last year.
CBS has been in third place for three consecutive seasons but came close to beating front-runner NBC in the just-completed May sweeps--although it did so with a mix of specials and movies that preempted its regular programs.
CBS offers four new half-hour situation comedies--"family comedies with breakout star potential"--and five hourlong dramas aimed at attracting more family viewing in the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. time period, Sagansky said.
Fox Broadcasting Co. was expected to announce its fall schedule late today.
Sagansky said CBS will have new shows in the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. slots on five nights. The first-run package of movies that have not run on cable includes such hits as “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Field of Dreams,” he said.
The new sitcoms are the movie spinoff “Uncle Buck,” with Kevin Meaney taking over the role created by John Candy; the blue-collar “Lenny”; Burt Reynolds in “Evening Shade,” as a former pro football star who coaches a high school team, and “Four Alarm Family,” starring Gregory Harrison as a widowed firefighter raising his four children. CBS also will pick up “The Hogan Family,” formerly of NBC.
The five hourlong series include “The Flash,” adventures of the high-speed super-hero; “WIOU,” about the cutthroat world of local television; “The Hammersmiths,” a “comedic and poignant” family saga, and “Over My Dead Body,” a murder mystery with Edward Woodward and Jessica Lundy. There also will be network television’s first prime-time pro-environment series, “The Green Machine,” about a team of experts who right ecological wrongs.
Shows getting the ax included “Tour of Duty,” “Falcon Crest,” “The Amazing Teddy Z,” “City,” “Sydney,” and “Sugar & Spice,” but Sagansky said “Paradise” may be renewed. Shows returning include Monday night comedies “Murphy Brown,” “Designing Women” and “Major Dad.”
“Wiseguy,” a crime series, has been relegated to backup status. Ken Wahl will return in the first few episodes when the show returns to the air, but a new actor, Stephen Bauer, will replace Wahl as a new undercover agent.
CBS’ news shows “60 Minutes” and “48 Hours” return to the fall schedule, along with what was “Saturday Night with Connie Chung.” Her show was given a new format and shifted to Monday night as “Face to Face with Connie Chung.” The show in that incarnation got two test-runs during the May sweeps and scored high ratings.
Sagansky played down suggestions that the CBS schedule is not as unconventional as that of its two major rivals, each of which have music-drama shows and, in ABC’s case, the return of the quirky “Twin Peaks.”