It's survival of the fittest as 'Lois & Clark' battle Darwin, Bart & Jessica

By EW Staff
Updated September 16, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

”I just don’t think there is any competition between us and seaQuest,” sniffs Teri Hatcher, Lois of ABC’s Lois & Clark. ”I mean, nobody was ever really excited about that show—except maybe the people who are in it.”

* The gloves are off. This year, the Sunday-night bout between Lois’ favorite muscleman and the futuristic sub goes to round two-and it promises to get bloodier. Both shows have been revamped for fall, with new characters, new plot directions, and — for NBC’s seaQuest DSV — a new location. And a formidable third contender is entering the fray: Fox’s The Simpsons moves from Thursday back to Sunday, where it hit pay dirt in its 1989 debut. Who’s gonna win? Probably none of them: They’ll all get their keisters kicked by that brainy biddy on CBS’ Murder, She Wrote.

* ”Murder, She Wrote leaves the rest of us to fight it out for the younger viewers,” says Bob Singer, Lois & Clark’s executive producer. ”It’ll probably be a real war of attrition.”

* Lois & Clark‘s strategy: action, action, action. ”The network felt we were a little too ‘interior,’ too ‘talkative,”’ says Singer. Adds dude-of-steel Dean Cain: ”It’s going to be a lot more intense now. I mean, they just dropped me from a 45-foot crane on a bungee cord!”

* Other changes: Evil overlord Lex Luthor (John Shea) will appear only sporadically (he apparently did survive that high-rise dive he took last season), replaced by a bevy of new nogoodniks, including the Sound Man (Michael Des Barres), who wreaks havoc with high-frequency waves. Jimmy Olsen gets a new face (Justin Whalin), and a comely prosecutor (still uncast) falls for Clark, making Lois jealous.

With seaQuest‘s move from L.A. to Florida’s Universal Studios, the crew will occasionally get out of the sub and onto land or into the ocean to try to float their sinking ratings. (”It’s called seaQuest, so get in the water!” says NBC Entertainment chief Warren Littlefield.) ”Last season the show prided itself on doing science fact, not fiction,” says executive producer Patrick Hasburgh. ”But for a while it turned into the Discovery Channel. I look at it this way: There’s a lot of people on this submarine. Who owes who money? Who plays their music too loud? Who’s falling in love?” Michael and Peter DeLuise (sons of Dom) shake up the personnel mix as misfit Tony Piccolo and genetically engineered janitor Dagwood.

Reports that Roy Scheider was leaving were premature-though nobody denies he’s been unhappy. ”He’s just trying to make it the best it can be,” says Jonathan Brandis, seaQuest‘s heartthrob science officer. ”He’s the one who really has a vision.” And we thought the real mastermind was that high-IQ dolphin, Darwin. The Simpsons, on its new old night, will be full of way-cool cameos. Among them: Winona Ryder as a super-smart schoolmate of Lisa’s; Patrick Stewart, who helps Homer get into the Masonic Society of Stone Cutters; and Meryl Streep as a preacher’s daughter who breaks Bart’s heart. (”Meryl was nervous. Can you believe that?” says executive producer David Mirkin.)

But the big news is that Maggie will speak again. Mirkin won’t reveal her words, but it’s a sure bet they won’t be ”Angela Lansbury.” —BS

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