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ABC gambles; WB puts stock in comedy

Wednesday, May 16, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

ABC will keep low-rated shows "Once and Again" and "The Job," and The WB will retain "Angel," despite the defection of the series it spun off from ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which moves to UPN).

Those were the most noteworthy moves by the two networks as each announced its fall schedule yesterday.

ABC canceled "Norm," "The Geena Davis Show," "Gideon's Crossing" and "Two Guys and a Girl." As expected, The WB canceled "Roswell," "Popular," "Jack & Jill," "Grosse Pointe" and "The PJs." "For Your Love" will return at midseason.

Cutting "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire" to twice a week, ABC will look to several household names -- Jason Alexander, Jim Belushi, John Stamos, Kim Delaney -- to launch its new series. "NYPD Blue" will move to 10 p.m. Wednesday but won't debut until November. Until then, "20/20" will air in that time slot.

"Once and Again" will move to 10 p.m. Friday, where it will air until "20/20" reclaims its traditional time slot in December.

Long successful with its teen dramas, The WB will again try to get a foothold in comedies, adding laughers to its Sunday and Friday schedules. Following the success of "Popstars," the Frog network is adding several reality series and building a new musical group in "Popstars 2."

"Gilmore Girls" inherits the "Buffy" time slot.

Here's ABC's fall schedule, with new series in bold:

SUNDAY

7 p.m.: "Wonderful World of Disney"
9 p.m.: "Alias" -- The creator of "Felicity" spins a web of intrigue for Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner), a grad student and secret agent. Michael Vartan ("Never Been Kissed") also stars.
10 p.m.: "The Practice"

MONDAY

8 p.m.: "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire"
9 p.m.: "Monday Night Football"

TUESDAY

8 p.m.: "Dharma & Greg"
8:30 p.m.: "What About Joan?"
9 p.m.: "Bob Patterson" -- Jason Alexander ("Seinfeld") plays a self-absorbed, self-important motivational speaker.
9:30 p.m.: "Spin City"
10 p.m.: "Philly" -- Kim Delaney moves from "NYPD Blue" to another Steven Bochco drama where she'll play a divorced Philadelphia defense attorney with a young son. Tom Everett Scott ("That Thing You Do!") plays her new law partner. Kyle Secor also stars.

WEDNESDAY

8 p.m.: "My Wife & Kids"
8:30 p.m.: "The Dad" -- Jim Belushi plays a couch potato dad with a much younger wife (Courtney Thorne-Smith, "Ally McBeal").
9 p.m.: "The Drew Carey Show"
9:30 p.m.: "The Job"
10 p.m.: "20/20"/"NYPD Blue"

THURSDAY

8 p.m.: "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
8:30 p.m.: "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
9 p.m.: "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire"
10 p.m.: "PrimeTime Thursday"

FRIDAY

8 p.m.: "The Mole II"
9 p.m.: "Thieves" -- John Stamos and Melissa George play high-class thieves who get busted by the FBI and are forced to work for the government to avoid imprisonment.
10 p.m.: "Once & Again"/"20/20"

SATURDAY

8 p.m.: "The ABC Big Picture Show"

ABC announced the long-in-development "reality" series "The Runner" won't debut until January. "The Court," a drama starring Sally Field as a liberal Supreme Court justice, also will debut at mid-season.

"The Wayne Brady Show," a new variety series starring the "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" improv comic, will have a limited run in August.

Here's The WB's fall schedule, with new series in bold:

SUNDAY

Note: Pittsburgh's WCWB may again push this night's lineup up an hour, with shows starting at 8 p.m.

7 p.m.: "Lost in the USA" -- From the producers of MTV's "The Real World" and "Road Rules," this competition series pits four teams against one another each week as they spar in tests, tasks and time trials.
8 p.m.: "The Steve Harvey Show"
8:30 p.m.: "Men, Women & Dogs" -- Former MTV VJ Bill Bellamy stars as one of four twentysomething guys whose lives involve their careers, their women and their pet dogs (not necessarily in that order). Shot single-camera style (no laugh track), the comedy also stars Mike Damus ("Brutally Normal").
9 p.m.: "Nikki"
9:30 p.m.: "Off Centre" -- The writers of the movie "American Pie" executive produce this buddy comedy about a neurotic guy and his less neurotic British friend. Casting is not complete.

MONDAY

8 p.m.: "7th Heaven"
9 p.m.: "Angel"

TUESDAY

8 p.m.: "Gilmore Girls"
9 p.m.: "Smallville" -- It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman before he knows he's Superman! Teen-age Clark Kent (Tom Welling) is just discovering his superpowers in the town he's lived in since plummeting to Earth in a meteor shower. Michael Rosenbaum ("Zoe ...") plays Lex Luthor and Kristen Kreuk is Lana Lang.

WEDNESDAY

8 p.m.: "Dawson's Creek"
9 p.m.: "Felicity"

THURSDAY

8 p.m.: "Popstars 2"
8:30 p.m. "Elimidate Deluxe" -- It's "Chains of Love" all over again as one guy or girl goes on a date with four singles, voting off the unwanted one by one.
9 p.m.: "Charmed"

FRIDAY

8 p.m.: "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"
8:30 p.m.: "Maybe I'm Adopted" -- A family comedy about 15-year-old Molly (Reagan Dale Neis), who feels like she's been born to a family of freaks (Julia Sweeney plays her mom; Fred Willard is cast as her dad). Andrew Walker, Patrick Levis ("So Weird") and identical twins Danielle and Deanna Cantermen star as Molly's eccentric siblings.
9 p.m.: "Deep in the Heart" -- Country singer Reba McEntire plays a Texas soccer mom in the midst of a divorce who discovers her 17-year-old daughter (Joanna Garcia) is pregnant by a dim-bulb high school football star (Steve Howey). Scarlett Pomers ("Star Trek: Voyager") plays another one of Reba's daughters.
9:30 p.m.: "Raising Dad" -- Bob Saget ("Full House," "America's Funniest Home Videos") returns to series television as a widower who teaches English at the same school his 15-year-old daughter (Kat Dennings) attends.

The WB will finally air a series announced a year ago. "Dead Last" will air Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. this summer. It chronicles the misadventures of a rock band whose members get the power to see spirits that walk the Earth.

As it did this past season, The WB will air "Felicity" episodes without any reruns, giving the show a break at midseason to make way for "Glory Days," from "Dawson's Creek" creator Kevin Williamson.

In "Glory Days," Eddie Cahill (Rachel's love interest/secretary early this season on "Friends") plays a young writer whose first novel about his hometown became a best seller and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. He hasn't written anything since and at 27 returns to his hometown of Lake Glory seeking a cure for writer's block but encounters resentful residents instead.

Other mid-season programs:

"Reality" show "No Boundaries" will follow contestants as they cross more than 1,000 miles of North America's most rugged terrain on a 30-day journey.

Single-camera comedy "A Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star" is adapted from a popular British series about an aspiring rock star (Oliver Hudson) with a heavy metal dinosaur dad (John Lydon, a k a Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols).

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