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We spent most of last week talking about what the networks are planning for this fall. ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox all told us what to expect from them in the coming months.

But rather than take a respite from all this future schedule talk today, lets look beyond fall for what's coming next.Although it's sometimes hard to believe, network executives aren't stupid (at least not completely stupid). They know that most of the new shows they put on the air aren't going to succeed.

So, even while trumpeting their fall offerings, the nets lay in a supply of backup programs - shows that will find a place on the schedule when other programs fail to make the grade in the ratings tests.

And just because a show is tagged as a midseason replacement doesn't mean it's inferior to fall premieres. The networks have noticed that in the past few years most of the new hits have come from January or spring replacement shows.

Here's a look at what ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox have waiting in the wings.


The alphabet network says these six shows will make it on the air sometime during the 1991-92 season:

Capitol Critters: An animated half hour about the rodents, insects and small animals living in the White House. (And, no, they're not referring to the White House staff.) Produced by Steven Bochco, who's given us hits like "L.A. Law" and "Doogie Howser, M.D." as well as misses like "Bay City Blues" and "Cop Rock."

Civil Wars: A one-hour drama with Mariel Hemingway and Peter Onorati as a pair of attorneys whose clients are involved in a broad range of domestic conflicts. Another show from Steven Bochco.

Immediate Family: Half-hour sitcom stars Billy Connolly ("Head of the Class") as a Scottish immigrant who marries a divorced mother of three so he can stay in the country - and he stays in her basement apartment.

Room for Two: Sitcom starring Linda Lavin (who was "Alice" for all those years) as a morning TV show personality who's usually fighting with the show's producer - who just happens to be her daughter.

Saturdays: ABC calls this a "romantic anthology series about the people who work in and the people who pass through Saturday's restaurant." A one-hour drama.

Young Indiana Jones: A one-hour adventure series from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, this shows follows the adventures of Indy from the ages of 9 to 17, spanning the years 1908-1916.


The Family Man: You may remember this half-hour sitcom that stars Gregory Harrison as a fireman and single father of four. Or you may not - it was only on CBS' schedule for a few weeks last fall before disappearing because of low ratings. But it'll be back at midseason, nonetheless (and the network will show reruns and unaired episodes from this past season twice a week - Mondays and Thursdays - starting next month).

The Family Dog: This animated series from Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton (director of "Batman" and "Edward Scissorhands") was first scheduled to appear this spring. Then it was going to be on in the fall. Now, it's scheduled for midseason. Word is that there have been loads of production problems with the animation and that Spielberg sent back several episodes he found unacceptable.

The Human Factor: All the network is saying about this show is that it's a medical drama starring John Mahoney.

Tequila and Boner: A dog-and-cop action/comedy starring Rick Rossovich.


The Peacock has only committed to one mid-season replacement show. And it's not a new show, it's Matlock.

After four seasons on Tuesdays at 7 p.m., NBC yanked the Andy Griffith vehicle despite the fact that it finished as the 17th-highest rated show of the 1990-91 season. The problem? "Matlock's" audience is generally older, and advertisers want - and will pay for - younger viewers.

The network has also indicated that it may return two or three other shows that didn't make the fall schedule, but isn't saying which ones are under consideration. The programs NBC canceled (sort of) are "Amen," "Dark Shadows," "Down Home," "The Fanelli Boys," "The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage," "Hunter," "Midnight Caller," "Shannon's Deal," "Sunday Best" and "Carol & Co." (which might be moving to CBS).

But "Hunter" is dead for sure and, realistically, "Amen," "The Fanelli Boys," "Black Jack Savage," "Midnight Caller" and "Sunday Best" have no chance of making it back on the schedule.


The folks at Fox have announced six shows they say will definitely be on the air sometime this coming season, although they're obviously still waiting to see what doesn't work before making any changes.

The half-dozen new programs are:

Charlie Hoover: Fox calls this a "new kind of buddy comedy." Tim Matheson stars in the title role as a guy whose life is far from perfect. But he gets a hand from his 12-inch-tall alter ego, Hugh (played by scream comedian Sam Kinison), who's "meddlesome, opinionated" and visible only to Charlie.

Culture Clash: "Cutting edge" Latino comedy trio (Richard Montoya, Herbery Siguenza and Ric "Sparky" Salinas) team up with Cheech Marin for this half hour "that mixes fast-paced, physical storyline with standup comedy." The Culture Clash trio play more or less themselves - young hopefuls struggling to make it big in show business. Marin plays their agent.

Down To the Shore: Sitcom about three young men and three young women in their 20s who reluctantly share a beach house in New Jersey. Fox says that "sparks fly, nerves fray and limits are pushed in every direction." Produced by HBO Independent Productions.

Hotel Dicks: Optimistically described as "somewhere between `Fawlty Towers' and `Sergeant Bilko,' " this half-hour sitcom stars Morris Day and Jerome Benton as bumbling, scamming detectives in a quaint urban hotel.

The Best of the Worst: This half hour celebrates the worst things in life - the worst job, the worst pickup lines, the worst inventions, the stupidest comments by public officials. Appears to be sort of a cross between "That Was the Week That Was" and "America's Funniest People."

True Stories: These are "half-hour made-for-television movies" based on actual events. (Although "loosely based" would seem to be more accurate.) Fox says top fiction writers will be adapting headlines into TV shows - "A cheerleader's mother hired a hitman to knock off her daughter's main competitor, but is foiled when the supposed assassin turns out to be an undercover cop. A minister loses the legal battle to have his comatose wife unplugged from life support; six days later, she awakens."