NBC announces family programs as 'new' strategy TURNED ON IN LA. -- Fall Preview

July 22, 1993|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

LOS ANGELES -- After a year of last-place ratings, NBC says it's through chasing young viewers.

"We have a new direction," NBC Entertainment President Warren Littlefield said, "broad-based family entertainment."

Broad-based family entertainment is not exactly a new concept. In fact, it's the business all the networks -- except Fox -- had always been in before NBC went all out for the youth market last year.

Littlefield, himself on shaky ground at the network, didn't have a lot of exciting new projects to announce as part of NBC's family entertainment agenda.

Littlefield's worst moments came during the hour when he defended such films as "In the Line of Duty: Ambush at Waco," the David Koresh story, which aired in May.

"I think it was a terrific television movie," he said, comparing it to the Emmy Award-winning "Holocaust."

NBC did have one impressive announcement about a new film in development, "The Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," about the Bronze Star winner who was expelled from the Army for being a lesbian.

Barbara Streisand and Glenn Close will be executive producers, with Close starring in the film.

No air date has been set.

Loni's mixed signals

Loni Anderson set a record for mixed signals during a press session here yesterday to promote her return to series TV in NBC's "Nurses" this fall.

First she said she didn't want to talk about her breakup with Burt Reynolds.

Then she said she would just like to say, "It's very private, and anything you have read that's public is not true."

Anderson was referring to the stories that have graced the covers of supermarket tabloids all summer.

L When asked if she has read the stories, she said she hadn't.

When asked how she knew that they were false if she had not read them, she said, "Because I have not spoken to anyone."

When she was asked if she was sure she hadn't spoken to anyone about the divorce, she remembered a Hollywood columnist to whom she had confided that Reynolds' filing for divorce came as a surprise to her.

It went like that during most of the session.

Anderson will play a character named Casey MacAfee, who winds up running the hospital where "Nurses" takes place.

In the finest tradition of cross-plugging by producers who own more than one show, MacAfee will also become romantically involved with Richard Mulligan's character on "Empty Nest," the sitcom that precedes "Nurses" on NBC on Saturday nights.

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