Welcome back, Kramer! Insiders say Michael Richards will join David Alan Grier and Steven Weber as NBC’s comedy stars this fall while Oliver Platt will headline one of the dramas ordered for a September launch.
Sources say the Peacock, which is set to announce its fall schedule on Monday in New York, has ordered four new comedies and three new dramas for fall. Sure to generate the most interest is the Richards project, which features the former ”Seinfeld” costar as a novice detective. It’s produced by Castle Rock TV, the same company that brought us ”Seinfeld.”
Other sitcoms picked up for fall are ”The Steven Weber Show,” which focuses on a guy who’s cursed after a blind date; ”DAG,” in which Grier stars as a bumbling secret service man who protects the First Lady; and ”Tucker,” about a 15-year-old who moves in with her aunt and cousin.
On the drama side, NBC gave a thumbs-up to ”Deadline,” a Dick Wolf series that stars Platt as a New York reporter. The net also tapped Spelling Television for a ”Dynasty”-style soap in Beverly Hills called ”Titans” and David Letterman’s production company for ”Ed,” which follows a newly divorced man home to Ohio.
Conspicuously absent from the fall talent pool is Wayne Knight, another ”Seinfeld” alum who was set to headline a family comedy. Sources say Knight’s sitcom from the Carsey-Werner Co. tested poorly. Also missing from the fall lot is ”Semper Fi,” Steven Spielberg’s drama about young marines. Insiders say the military drama may be retooled and relaunched in early 2001.
Meanwhile, Hollywood has been abuzz over the possibility that NBC may push the seven year old ”Frasier” out of the plum 9 p.m. Thursday time slot to make room for the two year old ”Will & Grace.” Frasier could be relegated to Tuesdays — where new comedies like the Richards project and ”DAG” also could end up — while ”Will & Grace” may provide a strong lead-in for ”Just Shoot Me,” which may snag the 9:30 p.m. spot on Thursdays. That could mean a much deserved bye-bye to ”Stark Raving Mad,” the freshman show that occupied (and struggled) in the 9:30 p.m. Thursday slot this year.
An NBC spokeswoman said the network has yet to set its schedule and declined further comment.