clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ABC REVAMPS FALL SCHEDULE

ABC, which has fallen from first to second place in the ratings and is struggling to stay out of third, will add eight new shows to its lineup in the fall and shift seven returning shows to new nights or times.

But the biggest surprises on the slate are the shows that didn't get canceled - "Second Noah," "High Incident" and "Murder One.""Murder One," which had to go up against the No. 1 show on television ("ER") last fall, will have to battle the No. 2 show ("Seinfeld") this fall. "Murder One" will have a new lead actor - Daniel Benzali is out - and will focus on at least three in the coming year.

Sunday is the only night that ABC left unchanged. Thursday, on the other hand, is an all-new night with all-old shows - including the news magazine "Turning Point," which has previously aired as a series of specials. Diane Sawyer, Forrest Sawyer and Barbara Walters will rotate as anchors.

ABC, which has come under considerable criticism from Hispanic groups for its lack of Latino stars, has given comedian Greg Giraldo his own sitcom - "Common Law."

This ABC schedule is of particular interest because it's the first since the Walt Disney Co. bought out the network for $19 billion. Two of the eight new shows - "Dangerous Minds" and "Life's Work" - are produced by Disney-owned Touchstone Television.

Here's a look at the new shows ABC plans for the fall:

Comedies

Life's Work (Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.) stars stand-up comedian Lisa Ann Walter (she previously bombed in a Fox sitcom), who tries to balance being an assistant state's attorney with being a wife and mother.

Spin City (Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m.) stars Michael J. Fox as the chief deputy to the mayor of New York City.

Townies (Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m.) is an ensemble comedy about "a group of hometown friends in New England who are eager to get the most out of their 20s." The cast includes Molly Ringwald.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Fridays, 7:30 p.m.) stars Melissa Joan Hart as a good witch trying to lead a normal teenage life.

Clueless (Fridays, 8 p.m.), based on the movie of the same name, stars Rachel Blanchard as a Beverly Hills teen.

Common Law (Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.) stars comedian Greg Giraldo as a Harvard-educated attorney who works in high-powered Manhattan but whose family resides in blue-collar Queens.

Dramas

Dangerous Minds has Annie Potts ("Designing Women") stepping into the role played by Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1995 movie - she's a "tough yet inspiring" teacher who works in an inner-city school. ("Minds" will be seen before or after "Monday Night Football" in other time zones. Locally it will be delayed until a day and time to be announced.)

Relativity (Saturdays, 9 p.m.), from the producers of "thir-ty-something" and "My So-Called Life," will "explore the anatomy of a love-at-first-sight relationship from first kiss to passionate affair and beyond." Kim-ber-ly Williams stars.

Midseason replacements

It's Good to be King is a sitcom that stars Jim Belushi as the politically incorrect, divorced manager of a Chicago blues club.

The Practice is an hourlong legal drama from David E. Kelley ("Picket Fences") with Dylan McDermott as a defense attorney who represents underdog clients.

In addition, ABC has ordered "Muppets Tonight," "Step by Step" and "Hangin' for Mr. Cooper" as backups.

Canceled shows

Among the cancellations are "Aliens in the Family," "Before They Were Stars," "Buddies," "Dana Carvey," "Hudson Street," "The Marshal," "Maybe This Time," "The Naked Truth," "World's Funniest Home Videos," its Saturday movie. "Jeff Foxworthy" has already moved to NBC.

NOT REALLY MUST-SEE: NBC is promoting tonight's four comedy season finales as more "must-see TV." Well, not really.

"3rd Rock from the Sun" (7 p.m., Ch. 5) is moronic, idiotic, over-the-top junk filled with sexual innuendo. As usual.

"Wings" (7:30 p.m., Ch. 5) is a pretty good episode, with a nice little cliffhanger.

"Frasier" (8 p.m., Ch. 5) is a good episode. But not a great one.

And "John Larroquette" (8:30 p.m., Ch. 5) is pretty lame. Though NBC is promoting the ending as a shocker, it's entirely predictable.

Hardly must-see.

*****

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

ABC's fall schedule

New shows are listed in Bold**. Returning shows in new time slots are indicated by an asterisk (*).

SUNDAY

Funniest Videos 6 p.m.

Lois & Clark 7 p.m.

ABC Sunday Movie 8 p.m.

MONDAY

Mon. Night Football 7 p.m.

TUESDAY

Roseanne 7 p.m.

Life's Work** 7:30 p.m.

Home Improvement 8 p.m.

Spin City** 8:30 p.m.

NYPD Blue 9 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

Ellen 7 p.m.

Townies** 7:30 p.m.

Grace Under Fire 8 p.m.

Drew Carey* 8:30 p.m.

Prime Time Live 9 p.m.

THURSDAY

High Incident* 7 p.m.

Murder One* 8 p.m.

Turning Point* 9 p.m.

FRIDAY

Family Matters 7 p.m.

Sabrina the Witch** 7:30 p.m.

Clueless** 8 p.m.

Boy Meets the World* 8:30 p.m.

20/20 9 p.m.

SATURDAY

Second Noah* 7 p.m.

Coach* 8 p.m.

Common Law** 8:30 p.m.

Relativity** 9 p.m.