Subscribing to the theory that "if it ain't broke don't fix it," NBC Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff has announced his prime time line-up for next fall with four of seven nights returning intact.
In fact, if you don't count Friday nights (a longtime NBC wasteland, in which Tartikoff will again try out an entirely new slate of programming), the Peacock Network will be introducing only two new series next season.
Still, there are some notable absences from Tartikoff's 1989-1990 season schedule. Two veteran performers - "Family Ties" and "Miami Vice" - are calling it quits after respectable prime time careers. "Family Ties" aired its series finale last Sunday, while "Vice" will go on ice after a two-hour special this Sunday.
Two first-year series that started this season on NBC's front lines - "Tattingers" and "Father Dowling Mysteries" - felt the cancellation ax this week, as did a host of mid-season replacements: "Nightingales," "UNSUB," "Nearly Departed," "Day By Day," "Dream Street," "One of the Boys," "The Jim Henson Hour" and "Nick and Hillary" (which means that "Tattingers" actually got canceled twice, since the latter program was a sitcom remake of the hourlong drama).
Most of the cuts were pretty obvious, but I must take exception with NBC's decision to cancel "The Jim Henson Hour." An outstanding and creative family offering, the program was given only a short tryout in a time period that has been death for NBC for years. Critical raves should have prompted them to at least give the show a shot at another time period - perhaps the 7 o'clock slot on Sundays, after "Disney." This was quality television, and it's a shame to see it go.
In its place NBC will introduce viewers to five new series next season. They include:
- The Nutt House, a comedy that will team Emmy-winners Cloris Leachman and Harvey Korman as the managers of a family-owned New York City hotel. Produced by Disney's Touchstone Television, the sitcom is the brainchild of Mel Brooks and Alan Spencer ("Sledge Hammer!").
- Sister Kate, another comedy, this one starring Stephanie Beacham ("Dynasty") as - are you ready for this? - a "hard-edged, adventurous nun placed in charge of an unruly group of orphans." Those are NBC's words, not mine. This series comes from 20th Century Fox, and is being produced by Frank Dungan, Jeff Stein and Tony Sheehan.
- Baywatch, an hourlong drama series based on the successful made-for-TV movie about lifeguards starring David Hasselhoff and Parker Stevenson. (Gee, you don't think they'll take advantage of this opportunity to work in any bikini shots, do you?) Produced by Grant Tinker's GTG Entertainment, the series is produced by Douglas Schwartz and Michael Berk.
- Hardball stars John Ashton ("Beverly Hills Cop") as a 45-year-old cop who thinks he's pretty hot stuff until he is teamed with a cocky young partner. This is an NBC production, with Frank Lupo ("Wiseguy," "Hunter") and John Ashley ("The A-Team") as executive producers.
- Mancuso, FBI takes the best character from the network's sleazy "Favorite Son," Robert Loggia's Nick Mancuso, and spins him into his own series - hopefully sans Linda Kozlowski and her lavender underwear. NBC is also producing this series, with Steve Sohmer as executive producer.
With those new series in place, the NBC fall line-up will look like this:
Mondays: 7 - "ALF"; 7:30 - "The Hogan Family"; 8 - "NBC Monday Night at the Movies."
Tuesdays: 7 - "Matlock"; 8 - "In the Heat of the Night"; 9 - "Midnight Caller."
Wednesdays: 7 - "Unsolved Mysteries"; 8 - "Night Court"; 8:30 - "Nutt House"; 9 - "Quantum Leap."
Thursdays: 7 - "The Cosby Show"; 7:30 - "A Different World"; 8 - "Cheers"; 8:30 - "Dear John"; 9 - "L.A. Law."
Fridays: 7 - "Baywatch"; 8 - "Hardball"; 9 - "Mancuso, FBI."
Saturdays: 7 - "227"; 7:30 - "Amen"; 8 - "The Golden Girls"; 8:30 - "Empty Nest"; 9 - "Hunter."
Sundays: 6 - "The Magical World of Disney"; 7 - "Sister Kate"; 7:30 - "My Two Dads"; 8 - "NBC Sunday Night at the Movies."