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Tuned In: ABC overhauls its schedule; WB seeks laughs

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

After a season in which ABC crashed and burned in the Nielsen ratings, the network announced a slash-and -burn approach to its fall schedule, scrapping "Philly," a legal drama that showed some ratings and creative potential.

Also gone: "The Job," "Dharma & Greg," "Spin City," "20/20: Downtown," "Once and Again" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (though it may return as a series of specials).

ABC executives also canceled "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher," which will end its run in about a month to be replaced by a news program from the "Nightline" staff. In January 2003, a one-hour late-night show hosted by Jimmy Kimmel (Comedy Central's "The Man Show") will premiere in the 12:05 a.m. time slot.

Over at The WB, the Frog network has given up on its low-rated Sunday comedy lineup, replacing it with reruns of episodes from the first season of "Gilmore Girls" and new episodes of returning fantasy dramas "Charmed" and "Angel."

Instead of comedies on Sunday, the network will build a likely to-be-low-rated Thursday night sitcom lineup. Friday comedies "Maybe It's Me" and "Raising Dad" were canceled along with midseason drama "Glory Days."

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

7 p.m.: "Wonderful World of Disney"
9 p.m.: "Alias"
10 p.m.: "The Practice"

8 p.m.: "The Drew Carey Show"
8:30 p.m.: "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
9 p.m.: "Monday Night Football"

8 p.m.: "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" -- A dad (John Ritter) loses it when his little girl starts dating, based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron. Katey Segal plays the mom.
8:30 p.m.: "According to Jim"
9 p.m.: "Life With Bonnie" -- Bonnie Hunt writes, directs and stars in this series about a local TV show host (Hunt) and her family. Brian Kerwin ("Beggars & Choosers) and David Alan Grier ("In Living Color") also star.
9:30 p.m.: "Less Than Perfect" -- Sara Rue ("Popular") plays a secretary in this office comedy that also features Andy Dick ("NewsRadio"), Andrea Parker ("The Pretender") and Eric Roberts ("Star 80").
10 p.m.: "NYPD Blue"

8 p.m.: "My Wife and Kids"
8:30 p.m.: "The George Lopez Show"
9 p.m.: "The Bachelor II"
10 p.m.: "Meds" -- ABC compares this HMO-set medical drama (with some dark comedy) to "M*A*S*H." And why not? It even has a character named Dr. Quinn (Aunjanue Ellias). There's gotta be a joke in that. William Fichtner ("The Perfect Storm"), John Hannah ("The Mummy Returns") and Edward Herrmann also star (Herr-mann will continue his role on The WB's "Gilmore Girls," according to a WB source).

8 p.m.: "Dinotopia" -- Based on the miniseries that concluded last night, the weekly series picks up where the story leaves off with a new cast as half-brothers Karl (Erik von Detten) and David (Shiloh Strong) adapt to life in a strange dinosaur-filled land.
9 p.m.: "Push, Nevada" -- It's Fox's "Murder in a Small Town" without the murder. In this "reality" show hybrid from Ben Affleck's production company, an IRS agent (Derek Cecil, "The Beat") travels to this remote desert town in search of missing money. Viewers get to play along as the mystery deepens.
10 p.m.: "Primetime Thursday"

8 p.m.: "America's Funniest Home Videos"
9 p.m.: "That Was Then" -- A 30-year-old (James Bulliard) wishes for a "do over" pass and wakes up one morning to find he's 16 again. Bess Armstrong ("My So-Called Life") and Jeffrey Tambor ("The Larry Sanders Show") are also in the cast.
10 p.m.: "20/20"

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


ABC's midseason series include:
"Dragnet" -- Producer Dick Wolf ("Law & Order") revives the classic police drama. "Dragnet" will air at 9 p.m. Monday after "Monday Night Football" ends its season.
"Miracles" -- Paul Callan (Skeet Ulrich) investigates modern-day "miracles," always finding a scientific explanation until the one case that changes his world view. "Miracles" will air at 10 p.m. Monday after "Monday Night Football" ends its season.
"My Second Chance" -- A busy career man (Mitch Rouse) tries to reconnect with his family in this sitcom.
"Veritas" -- It's "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" without Indiana Jones, as a father (Alex Carter) and son (Ryan Merriman) travel the world on archaeology expeditions, encountering danger at every turn.

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

7 p.m.: "Gilmore Girls: Beginnings" (first-season reruns)
8 p.m.: "Charmed"
9 p.m.: "Angel"

8 p.m.: "7th Heaven"
9 p.m.: "Everwood" -- A widower neurosurgeon (Treat Williams) ditches his practice and moves his two children to a small Colorado town where he treats patients for free.

8 p.m.: "Gilmore Girls"
9 p.m.: "Smallville"

8 p.m.: "Dawson's Creek"
9 p.m.: "Birds of Prey" -- Catwoman is dead, Batman has flown the coop and a wheelchair-confined Batgirl christens herself Oracle (Dina Meyer) in this comic book-inspired series that also features the secret daughter of Batman and Catwoman, Huntress (Ashley Scott), and a third woman, Dinah (Rachel Skarsten). Set in New Gotham, the show also stars Sherilyn Fenn and Shemar Moore.

8 p.m.: "Family Affair" -- In a revamp of the late '60s family comedy, Tim Curry plays Mr. French and Gary Cole is Uncle Bill.>8:30 p.m.: "Do Over" -- Consider this the sitcom version of ABC's new show "That Was Then." In "Do Over," a 34-year-old gets sent 20 years into his past to relive his freshman year of high school. Sounds like a nightmare.
9 p.m.: "JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment"
9:30 p.m.: "Off Centre"

8 p.m.: "What I Like About You" -- Amanda Bynes ("Big Fat Liar") stars as the younger sister of Jennie Garth ("Beverly Hills, 90210"). The sibs move in together after their father takes a job in Japan.
8:30 p.m.: "Sabrina the Teenage Witch"
9 p.m.: "Reba"
9:30 p.m.: "Greetings From Tucson" -- The story of an ethnically mixed family (dad's Mexican-American, mom's Irish-American) as seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old (Pablo Santos).


The WB's midseason series include:
"The O'Keefes" -- In this sitcom, eccentric parents (Judge Reinhold, Kirsten Nelson) home school their children in an effort to keep the evils of pop culture at bay.

Rob Owen can be reached at 412-263-2582 or rowen@post-gazette.com. Post questions or comments about TV to www.post-gazette.com/tv under PG Online Talk.

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