How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, or, if you’re an aspiring CBS pilot producer, emulate ”CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” CBS’ fall slate, which was announced at the New York City concert venue on Wednesday, seemed like an attack of the clones — that is, clones of the network’s Thursday night hit. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, just a few blocks down the road at the New Amsterdam Theater (home of ”The Lion King”) ABC’s upfront presentation showed a different strategy: a return to the family fare that used to mark its Friday ”TGIF” block.
With a 23 percent drop in viewers this year, ABC is the network with the greatest need for restructuring its schedule. Given the boot are ”Spin City,” ”Dharma & Greg,” and ”Philly,” while ”Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” will return only as an occasional special. Arriving are five and a half hours of new shows, spread across every weeknight. All seven nights will feature a family-friendly ”happy hour” from 8 to 9 p.m.
The new ABC shows are:
? ”8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” John Ritter stars as a paranoid papa. ”Married… With Children”’s Katey Sagal is his wife.
? ”Less Than Perfect” One of two ABC comedies set behind the scenes at a TV news show, starring ”NewsRadio” vet Andy Dick.
? ”Life With Bonnie” The other TV workplace show, with Bonnie Hunt (”Jerry Maguire”) as a TV host and working mom.
? ”Push, Nevada” Another contest from ”Project Greenlight” producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon; this one is an interactive mystery that viewers can help solve in order to win prizes.
? ”Dinotopia” A spinoff of the hit CGI mini-series about human/lizard coexistence. Along with ”Push,” it’ll take on NBC and CBS’ powerful Thursday lineups.
? ”Meds” A ”M*A*S*H”-like comedy-drama about doctors fighting HMO bureaucrats. It stars a guy who knows from gauze, ”Mummy” movie rogue John Hannah.
? ”That Was Then” A guy gets a chance to fix his life by returning to his high school years. It’s like a drama version of the WB’s comedy ”Do Over,” which has the very same premise.
In midseason, after ”Monday Night Football” ends, ABC will introduce more new shows, including ”Dragnet” (a remake of the classic cop show, from ”Law & Order” producer Dick Wolf). Then there’s ”Miracles,” starring Skeet Ulrich (”Scream”) as an investigator of paranormal phenomena; unlike Fox Mulder, he doesn’t work for the FBI — his employer, believe it or not, is the Vatican. One other notable mid-season addition: Arnold Vosloo, another ”Mummy” alum (he played the title character), will play an archaeologist in ”Veritas.”