Ax begins to fall on NBC's weak nights

Television

October 16, 1991|By Michael Hill

The ax has started to fall on the new programs as NBC moves to stem the hemorrhaging of viewers it is experiencing on Friday and Sunday nights.

Already announced was the cancellation of the network's two news shows -- "Real Life with Jane Pauley" and "Expose" -- which will be replaced on Fridays at 8 o'clock by "Matlock."

The network claims that the news programs will be combined into a single hour show that will return to the schedule in March. This is just the latest in a seemingly endless line of vain attempts by NBC to find success in the prime time news business that adds so much cash to the bottom line of the news divisions at CBS with "60 Minutes" and "48 hours," and ABC with "20/20" and "Prime Time Live."

And now comes the word that two of the comedies the network had its highest hopes for -- James Garner's "Man of the People" and Robert Guillaume's "Pacific Station" -- will be yanked off Sunday night after Oct. 27.

A couple of "Unsolved Mysteries" and a "Night Court," plus the movie "Back to the Future III" will fill the time slot for the succeeding three weeks while NBC prepares a country music variety series, "Hot Country Nights," which will go in on Nov. 23.

Meanwhile, CBS has to decide the future of "Royal Family" in the wake of the sudden death of star Redd Foxx, who suffered a heart attack Friday while in rehearsal for the show.

Three episodes featuring Foxx that have been completed have yet to air. Tonight, an episode of "Teech," the show that airs at 8:30, will also air in the "Royal Family" slot at 8 o'clock. It is expected that an episode with Foxx will air on Oct. 30.

After that, the fate of the show is up in the air. Meetings are scheduled in Hollywood this week to decide if it might be rebuilt around Foxx's co-star, Della Reese. In the show, Foxx and Reese play a just-retired couple suddenly faced with raising a second family of children when their daughter moves back in with them.

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