NBC's fall schedule includes Oscar winners, deletes some old favorites

May 21, 1991|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic

NBC is bringing two Oscar winners -- and returning one of the medium's most popular stars -- to weekly television next fall. But some longtime favorites will be missing from the top-rated network's regular lineup for the 1991-'92 season.

James Garner, star of the old "Rockford Files," will return in "Man of the People," a comedy series about a con artist named to fill a city council seat. Academy Award-winner Marlee Matlin will play a hearing-impaired assistant district attorney in "Reasonable Doubts," a dramatic series about Chicago's criminal justice system. Mark Harmon will be her co-star.

Sam Waterston, who won an Oscar for "The Killing Fields," will play an attorney in "I'll Fly Away," a drama set in a small southern town in the 1950s. The show, which deals with civil rights, is produced by Joshua Brand and John Falsey, makers of "St. Elsewhere" and "Northern Exposure."

Gone from next fall's schedule will be Carol Burnett's "Carol & Company," Andy Griffith's "Matlock," Fred Dryer's "Hunter," "Midnight Caller," "Shannon's Deal," "The Fanelli Boys," "Ferris Bueller," "American Dreamer" and "Grand." In fact, only two of the new shows presented last fall by NBC made the cut yesterday -- "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" and "Law & Order."

Midseason replacement shows that earned a spot for next fall are: "Real Life With Jane Pauley," "Expose," "Blossom," "Seinfeld" and "Sisters."

Fans of Burnett and Griffith should know that neither is totally gone. It is expected that Burnett will find a new home on the CBS schedule for next fall, which will be announced later this week. And "Matlock" will stay in production as a back-up series for midseason replacement at NBC, Warren Littlefield, president the entertainment division, said in announcing the new schedule yesterday.

In addition to "Man of the People," "I'll Fly Away" and "Reasonable Doubts," the other new series are:

*"Flesh 'n' Blood," a comedy series from the producers of "Cheers" about a young district attorney in Baltimore. The series, which stars Lisa Darr, will not be filmed here.

*"Pacific Station," a comedy starring Robert Guillaume as a police detective whose beat includes the "eccentric beach community of Venice, California."

*"The Torkelsons," a sitcom starring Olivia Burnette as a sensitive 14-year-old "mortified by her crazy-quilt suburban family."

*"Nurses," a comedy about five nurses -- four women and a man. It's from Susan Harris, the creator of "Soap" and "The Golden Girls."

*"The Adventures of Mark and Brian" is about two radio deejays who get to fulfill "daredevil dreams."

*"Eerie, Indiana," described as a "fantasy-adventure," stars Omri Katz as a 13-year-old "with an imagination that runs rampant with visions of unspeakable horrors in the seemingly idyllic town of Eerie."

NBC fall schedule

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(New series in bold face; * indicates new time period.)

MONDAY

8 p.m.: "Fresh Prince of Bel Air"

p.m.: "Blossom"

9 p.m.: Monday Night at the Movies

TUESDAY

8 p.m.: "I'll Fly Away"

p.m.: "In the Heat of the Night"

p.m.: "Law & Order"

WEDNESDAY

8 p.m.: "Unsolved Mysteries"

p.m.: "Night Court"

9:30 p.m.: "Seinfeld"*

10 p.m.: "Quantum Leap"

THURSDAY

8 p.m.: "The Cosby Show"

p.m.: "A Different World"

9 p.m.: "Cheers"

9:30 p.m.: "Wings"

10 p.m.: "L.A. Law"

FRIDAY

8 p.m.: "Real Life with Jane Pauley"*

p.m.: "Expose"*

9 p.m.: "Dear John"*

9:30 p.m.: "Flesh 'n' Blood"

10 p.m.: "Reasonable Doubts"

SATURDAY

p.m.: "The Golden Girls"*

p.m.: "The Torkelsons"

9 p.m.: "Empty Nest"*

9:30 p.m.: "Nurses"

10 p.m.: "Sisters"

SUNDAY

7 p.m.: "Adventures of Mark & Brian"

p.m.: "Eerie, Indiana"

8 p.m.: "Man of the People"

8:30 p.m.: "Pacific Station"

9 p.m.: Sunday Night at the Movies

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