Thanks to a mix of high-profile projects and high-quirk oddities, the next 12 months should provide plenty of reasons to reserve space on the couch.
THEY GOT NAME
Jason Alexander’s much-hyped show won’t start until 2001, but former costar Michael Richards debuts his NBC series, in which he plays a goofy inspector (several ex-Seinfeld scribes are onboard as well), this fall…. Oliver Platt (Lake Placid) portrays a gossip columnist in an NBC series by Law & Order creator Dick Wolf…. Bette Midler is aiming for CBS’ schedule, though the show’s format and concept have yet to be determined.
Sex, violence, and lavish costumes mean one thing: Sweeps! CBS’ Perfect Murder, Perfect Town is based on Lawrence Schiller’s 1999 best-seller about the JonBenet Ramsey killing (Feb. 27)…. Jason London (Dazed and Confused) plays the titular Greek hero in NBC’s two-part Jason and the Argonauts (April 30, May 1), described by exec producer Robert Halmi as ”The Dirty Dozen in classic times.”… CBS’ The Memoirs of Sally Hemings portrays the slave who had a love affair with Thomas Jefferson (Feb. 13, Feb. 16).
COPS AND DOCS
Baltimore lovers rejoice. The much-missed Homicide: Life on the Street returns for a two-hour movie on NBC (Feb. 13). ”It was a love-fest,” says exec producer Tom Fontana of the reunion. ”Psychologically, emotionally, spiritually — everyone in the cast and crew needed to do this.” Meanwhile, Fontana and exec producer Barry Levinson move on to the NYPD with The Beat, set to bow in the spring (UPN)…. Actor-director Peter Berg (Chicago Hope) helms NBC’s Wonderland (March), about docs at an NYC psychiatric hospital…. And NBC’s The Others (Feb. 5) centers on a college kid gifted with a sixth sense to see ghosts. Now, where have we seen that before?
It’s not an official Dawson’s Creek spin-off, but The WB’s Young Americans will use Dawson’s final May episodes to introduce its group of fresh-scrubbed, oversexed kids before launching this summer.
It’s a camp aficionado’s dream: Shannen Doherty and Kate Jackson in an Aaron Spelling TV movie. And even if ABC’s Satan’s School for Girls (spring) fails to live up to the 1973 original featuring, yep, Ms. Jackson, we can’t get enough of that title…. In addition to the ever-fetching Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach), there’s one surefire incentive to watch CBS’ The Dukes of Hazzard — Hazzard in Hollywood: John Schneider sings! (spring).
Alec Baldwin headlines TNT’s four-hour court-room drama Nuremberg (July). Also on TNT’s roster are lavish adaptations of Don Quixote, with John Lithgow (April), and David Copperfield, with Sally Field and Michael Richards (December)…. George Clooney returns to TV — sans scrubs — for CBS’ live remake of the 1964 Cold War drama Fail-Safe (April 9).
ROCK AND ROLE
May sweeps could include CBS’ retelling of the life of Linda McCartney. That’s not to be confused with VH1’s Two of Us (Feb. 1), which imagines a post-breakup meeting between Paul McCartney and John Lennon (the now-hip music net will also go back to its boomer roots, with biopics on the Monkees and Meat Loaf premiering this summer)…. In CBS’ Take Me Home: The John Denver Story, Chad Lowe portrays the late, Rocky Mountain-lovin’ songwriter (spring)…. And let’s not forget those demo-grabbing cameos: ‘N Sync’s Justin Timberlake makes his prime-time acting debut on ABC’s Cover Girls (Feb. 20).