CBS turns to familiar faces

Network: The lineup for fall includes a star vehicle for Bette Midler and a show for Christine Baranski as well

Radio and Television

May 17, 2000|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

Staying with its we-love-baby-boomers formula of the 1990s, CBS will announce a new fall lineup today in New York that features Bette Midler, Christine Baranski and a remake of "The Fugitive" among its seven new series.

Midler will star in a sitcom titled "Bette," loosely modeled on her own larger-than-life life as an actress and singer.

Star appeal won't be a problem, but it will be interesting to see how the Divine Miss M adapts to the physically demanding grit-and-grind of carrying a weekly television series.

Baranski will not have to carry hers. She'll co-star with Jim Gaffigan in "Mr. New York," a sitcom about a small-town weatherman from the Midwest who suddenly finds himself working in New York, the nation's largest television market.

Co-produced by David Letterman's Worldwide Pants production company, it appears that "Mr. New York" could get the choice scheduling spot at 9: 30 p.m. Wednesdays after another Worldwide show, "Everybody Loves Raymond," one the highest-rated sitcoms on television.

The only other sitcom expected to be ordered for a fall or midseason debut on CBS is "Yes, Dear," starring Mike O'Malley and Anthony Clark. Last fall on NBC, "The Mike O'Malley Show" had the dubious distinction of being the new series canceled most quickly.

In addition to "The Fugitive," the network will add three other dramas: "The District," a police show about a new commissioner trying to rid the Washington, D.C., force of corruption; "C.S.I.," a look at the lives of the men and women who investigate crime scenes; and "That's Life," which features Heather Paige

Kent as a woman in her 30s who returns to school at a prestigious women's college.

In terms of possible cancellations, the picture at CBS was less clear yesterday. "Family Law" had been ordered for another season. But it looked as if "Ladies Man" would not be back.

What a superstar

As for this network season, someone has finally managed to beat Regis Philbin and ABC's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" on Sunday nights: Jesus.

Part One of CBS "Jesus" miniseries starring Jeremy Sisto beat "Millionaire" by about a million viewers Sunday. "Millionaire" has made ABC the year's big winner, and, in its official rollout of next fall's schedule, the network yesterday announced four nights of "Millionaire" instead of three starting in October.

Truth is out there

The Fox network won't unveil its schedule before the New York advertising community until Thursday.

But one of the larger backstage stories at Fox concluded in Hollywood yesterday when Chris Carter, creator of "The X-Files," and 20th Century Fox, the production company that makes the series, agreed to a deal that will keep Carter at Fox for another year.

So "The X-Files" will likely be back for another year, despite co-star David Duchovny's vow not to continue and Carter's repeated suggestions that the end was near.

Duchovny has filed a lawsuit alleging that Carter and Fox have cheated him out of profits from syndication of the series.

But what's a lawsuit among Hollywood friends? According to the Hollywood Reporter trade journal, Duchovny is, in fact, negotiating with Fox to appear in up to nine episodes of "The X-Files" next season.

One strike for Dr. Laura

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the radio talk show host, got some bad news yesterday regarding her future in broadcasting .

Procter & Gamble Co., one of the nation's largest advertisers, is pulling its support from both her radio show and a syndicated television talk show scheduled to launch in the fall.

The decision came in response to protests by gay, lesbian and civil rights groups nationwide. Protesters object to Schlessinger describing gays and lesbians as "biological errors" and other derogatory references.

The pull-out by Procter & Gamble could be a huge set-back for Schlessinger. The manufacturer of such products as Pampers and Tide detergent, P&G was the first major advertiser to sign on for Schlessinger's new television show and has been a long-time advertiser on her radio show.

TV's top shows Here are last week's top TV shows, according to A. C. Nielsen Co. figures:

Rating

1 ER NBC 22.1

2 Frasier NBC 15.6

2 (tie) Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Tues. ABC 15.6

4 Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Wed. ABC 15.1

5 CBS Sunday Movie: Jesus Part 1 CBS 15.0

6 Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Sun. ABC 14.8

7 Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Thurs. ABC 14.5

8 Friends NBC 14.4

9 Friends NBC 14.0

10 Frasier NBC 13.8

11 Law & Order NBC 13.5

12 The Practice ABC 12.0

13 Touched by an Angel CBS 11.0

14 Everybody Loves Raymond CBS 11.1

15 ABC Monday Night Movie: My Best Friend's Wedding ABC 10.9

16 Judging Amy CBS 10.8

17 The Drew Carey Show ABC 10.6

18 The West Wing NBC 10.3

19 Becker CBS 10.1

20 Dharma & Greg ABC 10.0

21 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NBC 9.8

22 NYPD Blue ABC 9.6

22 (tie) Providence NBC 9.6

24 Spin City ABC 9.5

25 60 Minutes CBS 9.3

26 JAG CBS 9.1

27 20/20 Wednesday ABC 8.7

27 (tie) 60 Minutes II CBS 8.7

29 Dateline Friday NBC 8.5

30 Family Law CBS 8.4

30 (tie) Will & Grace NBC 8.4

The rating is the percentage of homes equipped with a TV in use.

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