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CBS, ABC, and Fox made the news this week
Network scheduling czars are scrambling to lock in next season’s lineups in time for their May presentations to advertisers. Herewith, our two cents for CBS, ABC, and Fox (we’ll take on NBC, The WB, and UPN next week).
With CBS’ Mondays on an upswing thanks to The King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond, the net can turn its attention to Wednesdays. Axing The Nanny was a good start. Now fill its slot with Cosby, and transfer King to Cos‘ Monday leadoff spot. Why? Crotchety Cos could thrive against younger-skewing hump-day rivals (Beverly Hills, 90210; Dharma & Greg), and the spot between King and Raymond could be the perfect launching pad for a new sitcom.
ABC’s in the unusual position (for it anyway) of having too many high-performing shows for too few time slots. Early returns on mid-seasoners It’s like, you know… and The Norm Show have been promising, but neither show is currently strong enough to fill the Tuesday-leadoff void left by the retiring Home Improvement. Although Spin City seems an obvious candidate for that hole, moving it into a fourth time slot in four years may totally alienate fans. Perhaps the net should play it conservative and put surprise success Whose Line Is It Anyway? there, since the improv show is cheap to make — hence there’s not so much to lose. Monday Night Football’s return to its 9 p.m. slot gives the Alphabet the chance to counterprogram CBS’ and NBC’s 8-9 p.m. comedies with a drama. Unfortunately, the net will likely play it safe and go with yet another edition of 20/20.
The biggest hole Fox must fill is the one Melrose Place‘s exit leaves on Monday nights at 8. Although 9 p.m. denizen Ally McBeal would make a strong leadoff for the evening, it’s risky to tinker with success. The better bet — since the net’s had such bad luck with sitcoms on this night — would be Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Party of Five spin-off. And in keeping with Fox’s traditionally dark Fridays, Chris Carter’s Harsh Realm and the alien-themed Roswell High could make a great end-of-the-week pairing. Of course, that’s what some thought about Brimstone and Millennium.