Most of the new shows you'll be watching this fall won't be around next fall.
Some of them won't be around next month.Still, you can pretty much count on a few shows making their mark. Here's a forecast as to which will fail and which will succeed.
The biggest new hit of the season promises to be Love and War. Not only is it a well-made show, but it follows Murphy Brown in a dynamite CBS lineup.
And the second-biggest hit will be Hearts Afire, the other new entry on CBS. As a matter of fact, those three shows, along with Evening Shade and Northern Exposure, could well be more successful than ever before.
NBC will do well in the first hour with the youth-appeal Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Blossom, and with the occasional movie.
ABC's got Monday Night Football going for it, but The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is in big trouble. ABC will have to move that series soon. (Locally, it airs Sundays at 4 p.m. until after football season.)
ABC will win the night on the strength of Full House, Roseanne, and Coach, but Hangin' with Mr. Cooper could be a problem - it's lousy. And ABC may have to be patient if Going to Extremes is going to find an audience.
CBS will finish second on the strength of Rescue 911 and its movie.
NBC is in big trouble. Quantum Leap and Reasonable Doubts are in terrible time slots, and Dateline NBC is going to finish third in its time slot most weeks.
The wild card here is Fox, which debuts Class of '96 and Key West in late October. They won't be watched in a lot of households, but could siphon off a significant number of young viewers.
This is the most competitive night of the week and may yield no clear winner.
NBC's Unsolved Mysteries will continue to dominate at 7 p.m., while ABC's The Wonder Years and Doogie Howser, M.D. continue to fade. CBS' The Hat Squad looks like a sure failure. Fox's Beverly Hills, 90210 will probably be most damaging to ABC.
At 8 p.m., the recently moved Home Improvement will probably beat out Seinfeld but look for In the Heat of the Night to do surprisingly well in a nice bit of counterprogramming on CBS. Melrose Place will have troubles once it's no longer competing with reruns.
"Improvement" won't be enough to sustain Laurie Hill, which looks like an early cancellation. On the other hand, Paul Reiser may finally become a really big star with his new sitcom Mad About You, which is the perfect followup for "Seinfeld."
At 9 p.m., CBS will pull the biggest audience with 48 Hours, while Law & Order and Civil Wars fight it out for second.
NBC, which once ruled this night, is in trouble. "Cosby" is gone, and A Different World won't be able to cut it as the lead-off show. Look for The Simpsons to become an even bigger hit and for Delta Burke to fail in her comeback attempt, Delta.
Unfortunately for Fox, Martin is terrible and has bomb written all over it. So NBC could recoup a bit with Rhythm and Blues. And ABC will struggle with Room For Two.
NBC's problems continue throughout the night. Cheers will win at 8 p.m., but it's fading. And as "Cheers" goes, so goes Wings. L.A. Law is a question mark - can a new production team revive its fortunes? Probably not.
ABC is taking a gamble by placing Homefront at 8 p.m., and may end up moving this series again. But PrimeTime Live is a good bet to win the 9 p.m. hour.
CBS will do OK with Top Cops and 48 Hours, but Knots Landing appears to be in a decline that will mean this is its final season.
This promises to be the most changed night of the season. CBS, which has barely registered on Friday for the past couple of years, is making a strong bid by scheduling "Golden Girls" spinoff The Golden Palace, Major Dad, Designing Women and Bob Newhart's new sitcom Bob in a comedy block to challenge ABC.
And if it doesn't beat ABC's faltering T.G.I.F. lineup of Family Matters, Step By Step, Dinosaurs and the questionable Camp Wilder, it will come close.
ABC may win the night, based on the strength of 20/20 at 9 p.m., but the new CBS drama Picket Fences could pose a threat.
NBC, on the other hand, is in for huge trouble. A pair of reality shows, Final Appeal and What Happened?; a mediocre drama from the producers of "90210," The Round Table; and, unfortunately, the fine drama I'll Fly Away will all end up at the bottom of the weekly rankings.
This is a night just loaded with question marks. NBC will probably win the night, but almost by default.
The Peacock may be in trouble between 7 and 8 p.m., however. Here and Now, starring Malcolm-Jamal Warner, is lousy. And so is Out All Night.
But ABC's Covington Cross is a big gamble, and so are CBS' sitcoms Frannie's Turn and Brooklyn Bridge. CBS is hoping to attract the older audience that used to watch "The Golden Girls" on this night, but that's iffy.
Between 8-9 p.m., Empty Nest and Nurses will dominate. ABC's Crossroads and CBS' The Raven will fight it out for second and third. Fox's sketch comedy show The Edge (8:30 p.m.) is aimed at a young audience, but that group probably won't be watching Fox's other Saturday night shows - Cops and Code 3 - so "The Edge" will be stranded.
At 9 p.m., NBC's Sisters will finish first, ABC's The Commish second and CBS' female cop show Angel Street will have to try to steal women viewers from "Sisters" and cop-show viewers from "The Commish."
CBS, again, will be the big winner here with the ever-popular 60 Minutes and Murder, She Wrote leading into a winning CBS Sunday Night Movie.
Fox may well finish second again, but it's strength lies between 7-9 p.m. It's new comedies before and after that two-hour period are likely to fail.
ABC is in trouble on this night, what with the continuing decline of America's Funniest Home Videos and America's Funniest People.
But NBC is in still deeper trouble. Its new reality shows, Secret Service and I Witness Video are cheap to produce, but they'll bomb badly. And that will land the Peacock in fourth place on the most-watched night of the week.
Look for CBS to win the ratings race for the second year in a row. ABC will finish second, NBC third and Fox fourth.