Wednesday, Fall 2001

ABC, 8-8:30 PM
Get ready for The Wayans Family: The Next Generation. Executive producer-star Damon Wayans cast two of his four kids in the season premiere as his TV son’s high school basketball teammates. (On-screen wife Tisha Campbell-Martin just started her own next generation, so she’ll appear in a flashback to her daughter’s birth, then vanish for several episodes.) Wayans’ other children are working behind the scenes on the show, along with a niece and two nephews. ”I’ve got to constantly separate them,” says Damon. ”Because I know anytime I see more than two Wayanses together, they’re up to something.” As long as it’s not Scary Movie 3. (Sept. 19)

THE WB, 8-9 PM
”It’s a huge turning point at the Creek,” says exec producer Paul Stupin, as the fifth season sees the high school grads leaving Capeside. Dawson (James Van Der Beek) heads for USC film school, while the rest end up in Beantown. Joey (Katie Holmes) goes to elite Worthington University, Jen (Michelle Williams) and Jack (Kerr Smith) study at more downscale Boston Bay College, and Pacey (Joshua Jackson) gets a job. So is this the end of the Dawson-Joey-Pacey imbroglio? ”It’s time to blow up that triangle,” says Stupin. ”The Dawson and Joey relationship will continue beyond that kiss [in the season finale].” At least until they get the long-distance bills. (Oct. 3)

FOX, 8:30-9 PM
That ’70s Show’s Danny Masterson guests in the sitcom’s second-season premiere as a shady character who helps teens Lily (Lynsey Bartilson) and Brad (Bret Harrison) fix the wrecked family car before her parents (Donal Logue and Megyn Price) find out she stole it. More adolescent high jinks ensue when Lily accidentally gets drunk on cider that’s started to ferment. Cocreator Mike Schiff makes a preemptive strike: ”Before Joe Lieberman makes an outrageous comment about this, we don’t approve of teenagers drinking turned cider.” Echoes cocreator Bill Martin, ”There are hangovers and stern words.” And thus, another national crisis is averted. (Sept. 19)

ABC, 9-9:30 PM
After getting picked up for three more seasons (not to mention surviving angioplasty), Carey is ready to party. The season starts with a rock & roll bash featuring Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, and Peter Frampton. But wait — wasn’t Drew committed to a mental hospital at the end of last season? ”We’re going to have a big dance number that will explain how he gets out,” says exec producer Bruce Helford. There’ll also be an interactive Halloween special and another live episode in November, but no more April Fool’s Day contests. ”That’s run its course,” says Helford. With Carey earning a reported $750,000 an episode, ABC must hope the same can’t be said for his show. (Sept. 19)

FOX, 9-9:30 PM
”If you can’t decide between West Wing and my show, you need help,” says star-executive producer Christopher Titus of his precarious new time slot. Well, chances are Aaron Sorkin won’t be adding a ”drug-addict metal freak” to his show like Christopher’s 15-year-old niece (Rachel Roth), who we’ll find out was molested. Is this really the stuff of comedy? Titus thinks so: ”I always say everything’s funny as long as the p-side is right — the punchline.” Which explains the role of Phyllis Diller as Christopher’s Alzheimer’s-addled grandma, whom he finds in the boys’ locker room of her old school. ”We’ve got Phyllis Diller wrapped in a towel, naked, which may not sound funny, but it really was,” he says. ”She’s, like, a thousand and five years old and still nailed her lines.” He’s not worried about people protesting the Alzheimer’s jokes: ”They won’t remember they’re p—-d off.” Joe Lieberman on line one… (Nov. 7)

The District
  • TV Show