To revamp lineups


Television: The WB is making major changes to its fall programming schedule.

May 15, 2001|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

Four more reality series, an evening of family programming, a new night for "Angel," and a series about Clark Kent before he became Superman. Those are among the moves the WB is expected to announce today in a seriously revamped fall schedule aimed at proving there is life after the loss of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

ABC also will announce a new fall schedule today, likely featuring only two nights a week of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" while adding at least one new reality series and shows starring Jason Alexander, Jim Belushi and Kim Delaney.

The WB (Warner Bros.) network will make changes on every night of its schedule next fall, according to network sources and production studios, and reports in the Hollywood Reporter and Variety. The networks routinely refuse to confirm their fall schedules until they announce them to advertisers.

Not returning are: "Roswell," "Popular," "Jack & Jill," "Grosse Point," "The PJs" and "The Jamie Foxx Show." UPN is expected to announce later this week that it will pick up "Roswell." Here's the likely daily breakdown for the WB:

Sunday night will lead off with two new reality series, "Lost in the USA" and "No Boundaries." The sitcom, "The Steve Harvey Show," will return, but it will be joined by two new comedies: "Off Centre," featuring an American student who finds himself rooming with a sophisticated Englishman, and "Men, Women and Dog," a relationship comedy about men who communicate better with dogs than women.

Monday, "Angel" joins "7th Heaven" at 9 p.m. ("Angel" had been paired with "Buffy" on Tuesday, but the network will lose "Buffy" next fall to UPN.)

Tuesday, "The Gilmore Girls" will take over the old "Buffy" slot, followed by newcomer, "Smallville," a drama about the early days of Superman.

Wednesday, "Dawson's Creek" and "Felicity" will return, but "Felicity" will split the season with "Glory Days," a new drama from "Dawson's" creator Kevin Williamson.

Thursday features the reality series, "Pop Stars"; a new reality game show, "Elimidate Deluxe"; and "Charmed" - minus Shannen Doherty, who announced her departure from the series last week.

Fridays will revisit the TGIF strategy ABC employed so successfully in the 1980s and '90s by programming sitcoms with a family theme appealing to kids and adults. "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," returns, followed by three new sitcoms: "Deep in the Heart," starring country singer Reba McIntyre as the mother of a large family; "Raising Dad," featuring comedian Bob Saget as a single dad; and "Maybe I'm Adopted," about a teen-age girl who feels desperately out of step with her family.

The WB does not program Saturday nights.

ABC to make changes

ABC's schedule does not appear as locked in as the WB's, but decisions may have been made affecting several shows with big name stars.

Regis Philbin will see his "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" cut back to two nights a week, instead of the current four or five. Among those stars whose series won't be renewed are: Geena Davis ("The Geena Davis Show"), Andre Braugher ("Gideon's Crossing"), and Gabriel Byrne ("The Madigan Men").

ABC will add three new dramas: "Alias," from J.J. Abrams who co-created "Felicity," will be broadcast on Mondays and features Jennifer Garner as a secret agent. "Thieves," a drama starring John Stamos, will air on Fridays. And "Philly," a new legal drama showcasing "NYPD Blue" star Kim Delany, will air on Tuesday nights.

Jason Alexander, formerly of "Seinfeld," will play a motivational speaker in "Bob Anderson," a sitcom that will air Tuesdays. It will be part of a lineup featuring "Philly"; "Dharma & Greg," and two spring tryout series - Joan Cusack's "What About Joan" and Denis Leary's "The Job."

"Blue" moves to 10 p.m. Wednesdays, bumping "Once and Again," to Friday nights. "Blue" will join a Wednesday night lineup featuring the return of "Spin City" and "The Drew Carey Show," a new family sitcom starring Jim Belushi, and a tryout series, Damon Wayans' "My Wife and Kids."

ABC will lead off Fridays with either "The Mole" or "The Runner," both reality series.

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