''Lois and Clark,'' ''3rd Rock from the Sun,'' and more are back on TV Sundays this fall

By Bruce Fretts
Updated September 13, 1996 at 04:00 AM EDT

Touched by an Angel
CBS, 8-9 P.M.

How do you top Kathie Lee Gifford’s instant-kitsch-classic guest-starring gig last season? Start with John Ritter as ”a teacher who gets carjacked by two Natural Born Killer types,” says executive producer Martha Williamson. Proceed to Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis as an archangel. And top it off with the casting coup of the century: O.J. prosecutor Christopher Darden as a minister in a gang-ridden hood. Why’d they pick Darden? ”Jesse Jackson wasn’t available,” says Williamson. But there’s another, even more dramatic possibility. ”Charlton Heston is very interested in doing a cameo,” reports Williamson. ”We’re trying to find the right role.” May we suggest Moses?

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
ABC, 8-9 P.M.

This season, producers swear Dean Cain’s Hunk of Steel and Teri Hatcher’s skinny reporter will finally tie the knot. (Of course, they swore the same thing last year and then pulled a switcheroo, with Clark marrying an evil Lois clone.) ”He will lose his virginity,” confirms executive producer Eugenie Ross-Leming. ”He has been saving himself for the perfect woman.” Not that the show will be all Supersex. ”They still fight injustice wherever they see it,” says Ross-Leming. Among the guest villains: Delta Burke (as the Wedding Destroyer!) and possibly Drew Carey (with his Drew Carey Show nemesis, Kathy Kinney). As for next spring’s cliff-hanger, here’s a sneak peek: It’ll involve pregnancy.

3rd Rock From the Sun
NBC, 8-8:30 P.M.

Expect lots of Independence Day gags as Dick (John Lithgow) and his fellow space invaders go see a sci-fi movie and decide aliens are unfairly stereotyped by Hollywood. Also, Dick’s romance with Dr. Albright (Jane Curtin) hits a snag when he discovers she’s not a virgin, Sally (Kristen Johnston) takes some temp jobs, Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) joins a garage band, and Harry (French Stewart) gets amnesia. ”The show’s like a toddler now,” says cocreator Terry Turner of the sophomore (and often sophomoric) sitcom. ”It’s going to open a few drawers you hope it doesn’t.” That means more bodily-function humor. Adds Turner, ”Hopefully, we’ll continue to make people angry.” Shouldn’t be a problem.

The Simpsons
FOX, 8-8:30 P.M.

Crossover alert: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson lend their monotones to an upcoming X-Files parody, which will feature Leonard Nimoy. Also joining the roster of guest voices: Jack Lemmon, Johnny Cash, John Waters, and Rodney Dangerfield (as the bastard son of Mr. Burns). In other plotlines, neighbor Ned Flanders suffers a nervous breakdown, Lisa has her first romance, and Bart gets a job — working in a strip joint. And in the annual Halloween episode, aliens Kang and Kodos kidnap Clinton, Dole, and Homer in a misguided quest to take over the U.S. presidency. Doing such a timely story line (it’s set to air about a week before the election) makes executive producer Bill Oakley a little nervous: ”If Perot becomes a serious candidate, then we’ll have to redo it.”

3rd Rock From the Sun

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