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On the Air

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Spring Fling With the fall season just a month old it’s time to think about … mid-season replacements!

CBS’ Tom Selleck comedy has the highest profile; the oft-delayed sitcom, as yet untitled, would star Selleck as a playboy publisher and might test on Mondays soon after the Winter Olympics in February. Also in the CBS comedy hamper, most likely in Wednesday slots: Style & Substance, starring former Designing woman Jean Smart as a Martha Stewart type; and The Simple Life, Judith Light‘s first sitcom since the failed Phenom. As for drama, expect a series remake of the classic 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven, starring Michael Biehn (The Terminator).

Next spring, media-obsessed NBC (NewsRadio, The Naked Truth, Suddenly Susan) will offer Lateline, a half-hour spoof of a Nightline-esque show, created by and starring Al Franken. You Send Me should show up sooner —the comedy, about three couples, is from Living Single exec producer Yvette Lee Bowser.

ABC’s got two oldies ready to go: a rehabbed Brett Butler in Grace Under Fire, and Something So Right, snagged from NBC last summer. New stuff includes the tentatively titled romantic comedy Raise the Roof, from film director Ed Burns (She’s the One). And Debra Messing (Ned and Stacey) will get serious in Prey, a one-hour drama about a new species threatening man.

At Fox, there’s a wealth of sitcom development — and some speculate the network is considering bagging its Tuesday movie franchise to make room for various projects: a buddy comedy from In Living Color alums Damon Wayans and David Alan Grier; a workplace half hour starring Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day) and Jon Cryer; and Ask Harriet, about a writer (Anthony Tyler Quinn, Boy Meets World) impersonating a woman to land an advice-columnist job.

Which of the networks’ fall shows will be axed to make room for this embarrassment of riches? Early word has NBC’s Built to Last, ABC’s Hiller and Diller, and Fox’s 413 Hope St. exiting swiftly. In fact, only a few newcomers have gotten full-season orders so far, including Fox’s Ally McBeal, ABC’s Dharma & Greg, and NBC’s Veronica’s Closet.