'Homefront' beats the odds in move to Wednesdays

March 21, 1992|By Fort Worth Star-Telegram

&TC Normally, when a TV series is nudged out of its time slot by a ratings-hungry network, the shrieks of discontent are piercing.

Nothing, short of bad execution, can bury a series faster than shuffling the nightly lineup. It causes confusion on the part of the viewer and heartburn for the producers.

But in the case of "Homefront," the ABC series about the post-World War II years in middle America, the change from Tuesday nights to Wednesdays has been as soothing as an effervescent elixir. There is no distress, no pain, no need for the plop-plop-fizz-fizz.

"We are very happy with the move," says Lynn Marie Latham, creator and executive producer of the hourlong series. "We kept our numbers, we didn't slip. We took our core audience with us."

Ms. Latham would like to see the ratings grow for her freshman series, but she is happy to have come this far in an environment where hour dramas have to stumble along in the shadow of the more popular half-hour comedies.

The networks want instant gratification, immediate results. There is no time for a series to slowly build, slowly define itself. Sitcoms are cheaper, faster and more disposable.

"I think we beat the odds," Ms. Latham says. "I think it was Ad Age magazine that picked us as the first series to be canceled this season, and we have received an order for two more episodes, making it 24 total for the season."

When "Homefront" first aired, the network was concerned that the demographics would be ancient. The viewers, ABC worried, would be pimple-free and peppered gray.

There was fear that only those who remembered World War II would care about the series and identify with the characters.

That hasn't been the case. "What we found is that people who didn't live through it are the ones who are fascinated by the period," Ms. Latham says. "It's been exciting."

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