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A roundup of replacement shows

”Champs,” ”The Faculty,” and ”3rd Rock From The Sun” head the list of rookie hopefuls

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Though the networks have already retired a number of new shows, there are plenty of hopefuls itching to trot onto the prime-time field. Herewith a look at some of the rookies now warming up:

Champs (ABC) In this debut project from DreamWorks SKG, thirtysomething‘s Timothy Busfield plays an aging dad still hanging around his high school B-ball pals (including SNL alum Kevin Nealon). ”There’s nothing Friendsish about us,” promises Busfield. ”We’re all in our 40s.”

BUDDIES (ABC) Two Home Improvement producers offer us a pair of pals (Dave Chappelle and Christopher Gartin) starting a film company. Friends à deux? ”The title does end up sounding like every other show,” admits exec producer David McFadzean, but he vows to ”set it apart.”

The Faculty (ABC) Eighties TV fixture Meredith Baxter attempts a sitcom comeback as a harried junior high vice principal. ”We already did the kids’ show with Family Ties,” she says. ”This is more about adults.” At least until one of the kids breaks out like Michael J. Fox.

BRIDGES (CBS) Eighties TV fixture Don Johnson (Miami Vice) attempts a TV comeback as a harried San Francisco cop dealing with murderers and two ex-wives. Says exec producer Carlton Cuse, ”If you take Sonny Crockett and project him 15 years into the future, this would be the consequence of that go-go lifestyle.”

The Louie Show (CBS) Stand-up Louie Anderson is a quipping Minnesota therapist; ER‘s Laura Innes is his best friend’s ex-wife. ”It isn’t full of fat jokes,” promises the big-bellied comic. ”There isn’t a doughnut in every scene.”

The Last Frontier (Fox) A swank Los Angeleno (Jessica Tuck) moves to Anchorage, where she rooms with three guys. ”It’s a group of young people having fun in Alaska,” says Tuck. Sorta Northern Exposure meets…Friends?

Kindred: The Embraced (Fox) In this Aaron Spelling drama, C. Thomas Howell (Soul Man) plays a detective who discovers vampires in San Francisco. ”We’re definitely not Vampire in Brooklyn,” says Howell. ”We don’t even have fangs in our show.”

3rd Rock From the Sun (NBC) John Lithgow and fellow aliens marvel at Earth oddities like women (including Kate & Allie‘s Jane Curtin) and cocktail weenies. ”It’s very goofy,” says Curtin. ”And I don’t think we mention the word relationship at all.”

RAISING CAINES (NBC) Judge Reinhold (Beverly Hills Cop) and Mel Harris (thirtysomething) wrassle with their brood. ”It’s a comedy about a functional American family,” says Harris. ”And in each episode we’re going to run across the screen naked.”