When NBC introduced "The Nutt House" last month, with Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman heading the wacky staff at a tacky old hotel, the network figured it had a comedy that would appeal to a small-but-loyal audience.
They were right about the "loyal" part - the show's audience has remained remarkably consistent. But they had no idea how "small" that audience would be, or how much damage the series would do to the network's Wednesday night flow.As it turns out, however, the damage is considerable. Although "The Nutt House" has been receiving a strong lead-in audience from "Night Court," it has been delivering only about half that to "Quantum Leap" at 9 o'clock. So not only has "The Nutt House" been dying, but it has been taking "Quantum Leap" down with it.
Which is why the offbeat Mel Brooks-Alan Spencer series is the television season's second programming casualty. NBC officials announced Friday that "The Nutt House" cracked its last joke last week, and will be replaced Wednesday in the schedule by the week's second run of "My Two Dads." NBC will announce its long-term plans for the time period soon.
But you can be sure it will be something with broader appeal - and far less "nutty."
-ON TV TONIGHT: With no World Series game to play havoc with the schedule, you can settle in with your favorite Fright Night comedy. KXIV (Ch. 14), always ready to try something fun and creative, presents special Halloween episodes from vintage (you'll notice I didn't say "classic," which to me intimates excellence and quality) sitcoms like The Addams Family (7 and 8:30 p.m.), The Beverly Hillbillies (7:30) and Happy Days (8). And if that isn't enough, there's George Hamilton as a very suave Dracula in Love at First Bite (9 p.m., Ch. 14), a surprisingly effective and entertaining film, given Hamilton's track record.
Also treating Halloween like a laughing matter is Roseanne (8 p.m., Ch. 4), where the Conners' build a Halloween Tunnel of Terror. And TBS has a comedy movie double-header, with Don Knotts in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (6:05 p.m.) and "The Munsters" in Munster, Go Home (8:05 p.m.).
More traditional frightening fare is offered elsewhere: The Howling II (8 p.m., Ch. 14), a grisly 1985 feature about werewolves; Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and John Houseman in Ghost Story (6 p.m., WGN); Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi in Black Friday (6:30 p.m., AMC); Trick or Treats (7 p.m., USA), a 1982 horror feature about a babysitting nightmare; House of Frankenstein (8:15 p.m., AMC) with Boris Karloff as the mad scientist, Glenn Strange (great name, huh?) as his creation, Lon Chaney as the Wolf Man and John Carradine as Count Dracula; Dracula's Daughter (9:30 p.m., AMC); One Dark Night (10:05 p.m., TBS), with Meg Tilly as a soroity pledge forced to spend the night in a mausoleum; Dracula A.C. 1972 (10:30 p.m., WGN), with Christopher Lee as the original Blood Count doing his thing in contemporary London; Lon Chaney in 1943's Son of Dracula (10:45 p.m., AMC); Fay Wray and Melvyn Douglas in Vampire Bat (11 p.m., Ch. 11); and Blood Song (11:30 p.m., USA), with Frankie Avalon as - are you ready for this? - an ax murderer.
And if you were really counting on a ball game tonight, how about the NBA's Hall of Fame Game (6 p.m., TNT), with the Knicks tipping off the season against the Bucks?
-LOOKING TOWARD WEDNESDAY: Lee Marin leads the original Dirty Dozen (6 p.m., TNT); Loni Anderson lends her voice to the animated Blondie & Dagwood (7 p.m., Ch. 5); Mark Russell (7 p.m., Ch. 7) returns for a new season of satire on PBS; the kids at The Head of the Class (7:30 p.m., Ch. 4) prepare an experiment to go up with the space shuttle; CBS has a new animated special based on Hagar the Horrible (7:30 p.m., Ch. 5); Timeline (7:30 p.m., Ch. 7) follows the Mongols into Europe in 1247; KBYU has William Wyler's classic The Best Years of Our Lives (8 p.m., Ch. 11); Michael J. Fox finds The Secret of My Success (8 p.m., Ch. 13); Ray Milland and Grace Kelly star in Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (8 p.m., Ch. 14); the Better World Society remembers Chico Mendes (8:05 p.m., TBS); and Barbara Walters (9 p.m., Ch. 4) interviews Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.