Demographics won't be issue

TV: While two broadcast networks turn to seasoned producers to create new dramas and comedies for fall, their approaches are different. ABC still tries to appeal to a young audience while CBS continues to aim at an older one.

May 19, 1999|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

The producers, not the stars, are the big names in the new fall series that will be announced by CBS today. That is also the story at ABC, which rolled out its fall -primetime lineup yesterday in New York.

CBS will add three new dramas and three sitcoms to a schedule that finished second overall in viewership this year but had the oldest audience. Producers for its new dramas include Glenn Gordon Caron, of "Moonlighting," and Paul Haggis, of the critically acclaimed but quickly canceled "EZ Streets."

ABC, meanwhile, will offer new dramas from Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, of "thirtysomething"; Kevin Williamson, of "Dawson's Creek"; and David E. Kelley, of "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice."

While ABC looks to win younger viewers with its new shows from the likes of Williamson and Kelley, that does not appear to be the case for CBS.

The three new CBS dramas are: "Family Law," about a lawyer who rebuilds a law firm when her husband/business partner leaves with most of their clients; "Judging Amy," about a woman who is a both a single mom and a judge moving back home to live with her mom; and "Now and Again," about a man, killed in an accident, who gets a chance to come back in a younger body.

If "Now and Again" sounds like the same premise as NBC's "Providence," it is supposed to.

The three new comedies: "Work With Me," starring Kevin Pollack and Nancy Travis as married lawyers who work together; "Love or Money," about a building superintendent who is having an affair with the daughter of a wealthy tenant in his building; and "Ladies Man," about a guy living in a house full of women.

With a judge and two legal couples among the leading characters of its six new series, CBS better hope American viewers want to see more lawyers.

ABC is also adding three new comedies and three dramas, as well as moving a number of series around in an effort to improve on its third-place overall finish this past season.

"Spin City," with Michael J. Fox, will move to Tuesdays at 8, with "Dharma & Greg" shifting to Tuesdays at 9 in an effort to keep Tuesdays strong despite the loss of "Home Improvement," which leaves the network as of next week.

"The Hughleys" will move to Fridays at 8, with "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" running at 8 Wednesdays.

The new ABC comedies are: "Then Came You," about a young woman who loves at the worst possible moment in her life; "Oh, Grow Up," about a grown man with a Peter Pan complex; and "Odd Man Out," from Ed Decter and John J. Strauss who wrote "There's Something About Mary."

The new dramas: "Wasteland," from Williamson, features six twentysomethings living in New York; "Snoops," from Kelley, looks at a team of unconventional private investigators; and "Once and Again," from Herskovitz and Zwick, about a recently divorced man and woman who forgot how to date.

CBS declined comment on its night-by-night lineup, which is being released today.

Coming this fall (new shows bold-faced)

ABC's fall prime-time lineup:

Sunday

The Wonderful World of Disney 7

Snoops 9

The Practice 10

Monday

20/20 8

ABC NFL 9

Tuesday

Spin City 8 It's like, you know . . . 8: 30

Dharma & Greg 9

Sports Night 9: 30

NYPD Blue 10

Once and Again 10 (will air here until NYPD Blue rejoins schedule in late October, then will replace a canceled show)

Wednesday

Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place 8

The Norm Show 8: 30

The Drew Carey Show 9

Oh Grow Up 9: 30

20/20 10

Thursday

Whose Life Is it? 8

Then Came You 8: 30

Wasteland 9 20/20 10

Friday

The Hughleys 8

Boy Meets World 8: 30

Sabrina 9

Odd Man Out 9: 30 20/20 10

Saturday

ABC Saturday Night Movie 8

Pub Date: 5/19/99

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