'Frasier' replaces 'Seinfeld' NBC: Network's new fall lineup will include four sitcoms, two dramas and another night of 'Dateline.'

May 19, 1998|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

Radio call-in host Frasier Crane got the big call from NBC yesterday to replace Jerry Seinfeld, as the top-rated network announced its new fall shows and schedule in New York.

"Frasier" beat out "Friends," "Just Shoot Me" and "Mad About You" to bat clean-up at 9 p.m. Thursdays on the network's biggest night.

The move will be a return home for "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammer, who began playing the self-important psychiatrist on "Cheers," NBC's Thursday mainstay before "Seinfeld." The spinoff "Frasier" made its debut on Thursdays before moving to Tuesday nights.

NBC will move "Just Shoot Me" to the Tuesday 9 p.m. time slot vacated by "Frasier."

The network, which suffered a 3 percent overall loss in viewership this season, also announced that "Dateline NBC" will expand to a fifth night, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Starting this fall, the newsmagazine will air on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

NBC executives told advertisers yesterday that they do not feel the saturation point has been reached on newsmagazines -- which are cheap to produce and deliver a steady if not spectacular audience most nights.

All told, NBC will add four sitcoms and two dramas next fall. The sitcoms are:

"All My Life" -- with Christina Applegate ("Married ... With Children") as Jesse Warner, a young single mother whose life is complicated by the men in her family.

"Encore! Encore!" -- starring Tony Award winner Nathan Lane ("A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "The Birdcage") as Joseph Pinoni, a larger-than-life, womanizing opera star whose voice troubles force him to return to the family-owned winery in the vineyards of California's Napa Valley. It is from the producers of "Frasier."

"Will & Grace" -- with Will Truman (Eric McCormack, "Night Visitors") and Grace Adler (Debra Messing, "Ned & Stacey") as best friends and roommates.

"Conrad Bloom" -- starring Mark Feuerstein ("Fired Up") as a single New York advertising executive who is one of the "last nice guys left in the Big Apple," according to NBC.

The two dramas are:

"Trinity" -- about a working-class Irish family -- the McCallisters -- in New York City. The producer is John Wells from "ER."

"Wind On Water" -- set on the big island of Hawaii, this series stars Bo Derek ("10") as the mother of Cole (William Gregory Lee, "Beverly Hills, 90210") and Kelly Connolly (Brian Gross, "Baywatch"), who are world-class surfers and skiers helping to run the family's struggling cattle ranch.

Midseason comedies "Lateline," "House Rules" and "For Your Love" were not picked up by NBC. "For Your Love" is considered likely to be picked up by WB.

Pub Date: 5/19/98

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