Arnolds vs. ABC: The saga goes on

May 11, 1993|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

ABC announced a fall schedule yesterday with 11 new shows, but there was no place for Tom Arnold or "The Jackie Thomas Show" on it.

Also getting the ax from ABC were: "Civil Wars," "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles," "Life Goes On," "Homefront," "Doogie Howser, M.D.," "Delta," "Sirens" and "Jack's Place." "Dinosaurs" lost its regular time slot, but was allowed to remain in production as a midseason replacement.

The network seemed braced for Tom and Roseanne Arnold's next move in the high-stakes poker game they've been playing with ABC in an effort to keep "The Jackie Thomas Show" alive. In retaliation for the cancellation of her husband's show, Roseanne Arnold is expected to announce she's taking her own Top 10-ranked comedy to CBS in the fall of 1994. "Roseanne" is contractually committed to ABC through the 1993-'94 season.

" 'The Jackie Thomas Show' will not be returning to ABC in any way, shape or form next year," said Janice Gretemeyer, vice president for public relations at ABC. "As for the situation with 'Roseanne,' it will be in the 1993-'94 lineup on ABC. Beyond that we have no further comment."

The unconfirmed word from the Arnold camp yesterday was that Tom Arnold already has signed to do a CBS sitcom with Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason for midseason next year.

The battle with the Arnolds took the spotlight off other ABC changes, including movement away from the expensive hourlong, drama form. In keeping with a larger industry pattern, ABC announced yet another newsmagazine show. "Moment of Crisis," which will be produced by ABC News and will focus on turning points in people's lives, is to join the prime-time lineup at midseason.

Besides "Day One," this season's only other new series' renewals were "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" and "Where I Live." Both feature African-American stars and are targeted at African-American viewers.

Overall, the network will continue its strategy of targeting young viewers, Ted Harbert, president of ABC Entertainment, said. ABC finished second to CBS in the '92-'93 TV season but was first with viewers 18 to 49 years old, its target group.

Seven of ABC's 11 new shows will be comedies. They include:

* "Phenom" -- A battle between a mom who wants to keep her 15-year-old tennis champion daughter as normal as possible and an overbearing tennis coach. Judith Light and William Devane star.

* "Joe's Life" -- Peter Onorati, from "Civil Wars," stars as an out-of-work electrician who suddenly has his hands full tending to his house and kids during the day while his wife is at the office.

* "George" -- Former world heavyweight champion George Foreman stars as a retired boxer who starts a youth center for the neighborhood's toughest kids.

* "NYPD Blue" -- A police drama from Steven Bochco.

* "Missing Persons" -- A drama of lost friends and family in the Missing Persons Bureau of the Chicago Police Department. Daniel J. Travanti stars.

* "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" -- A '90s version of the American classic, with Dean Cain as Clark Kent and Teri Hatcher as Lois Lane.

* "Thea" -- Stars Thea Vidale a Thea, a widow with four children trying to make ends meet.

* "Grace Under Fire" -- Produced by Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, producers of "Roseanne" and "The Cosby Show," this new comedy explores single motherhood.

* "Do the Strand" -- A comedy about a soft-spoken private eye named Walter and the young woman who enters his life.

* "Boy Meets Girl" -- Comedy about life as seen through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy played by Ben Savage, younger brother of Fred.

* "The Paula Poundstone Show" -- A comedy hour with Paula Poundstone as host.

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