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NBC adds big names to new fall lineup

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Ed" is not dead. And, more surprisingly, neither is "Good Morning, Miami." NBC announced its fall schedule yesterday, which includes the addition of several marquee stars in new series, including Alicia Silverstone, Rob Lowe, Whoopi Goldberg and James Caan. In addition, Vanessa L. Williams will join the cast of returning drama "Boomtown."

NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker called fixing the network's low-rated Tuesday night lineup "our biggest priority." To that end, NBC will move "Law & Order: SVU" from Friday to 10 p.m. Tuesday and introduce two new comedies from 8 to 9 p.m. leading into "Frasier."

Series that didn't make the cut for another year include "A.U.S.A.," "Just Shoot Me," "In-Laws," "Hidden Hills," "Hunter," "Kingpin," "Let's Make a Deal," "Mister Sterling," "Providence" and "Watching Ellie."

"Crossing Jordan" will return in January after series star Jill Hennessy gives birth to her first child.

NBC also announced a deal that will keep "ER" in production through the 2005-06 season.

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

Sunday

7 p.m.: "Dateline NBC"

8 p.m.: "American Dreams"

9 p.m.: "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"

10 p.m.: "The Lyon's Den" -- Rob Lowe stars as the son of a political family who must take the reins of his family's 150-year-old law firm if he wants his pro bono legal clinic to remain in operation. Kyle Chandler ("Homefront"), Matt Craven, David Krumholtz, Elizabeth Mitchell, Frances Fisher and James Pickens Jr. also star.

Monday

8 p.m.: "Fear Factor"

9 p.m.: "Las Vegas" -- James Caan ("The Godfather") stars as the head of security for one of the largest casinos in town. In the pilot, he discovers his protege (Josh Duhamel, "All My Children") in bed with his only daughter (Molly Sims). Nikki Cox ("Nikki") and Vanessa Marcil ("Beverly Hills, 90210") also star.

10 p.m.: "Third Watch"

Tuesday

8 p.m.: "Whoopi" -- The producers of "3rd Rock From the Sun" created this comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg as a one-hit-wonder singer who operates a small New York City hotel. She plans to open a lounge next door where she can sing and rents out space to her conservative younger brother (Wren T. Brown, "Biker Boyz") for his law practice. Omid Djalili ("Spy Game") stars as the hotel's Iranian handyman.

8:30 p.m.: "Happy Family" -- Empty nesters hoping for peace and quiet find their twentysomething children boomeranging back into their home. John Larroquette and Christine Baranski star as the harried parents. Tyler Francavilla ("Boston Public") plays their youngest son, who is having an affair with his mom's tennis partner (Susan Gibney, "Crossing Jordan"). Eldest son Todd (Hamish Linklater, "Gideon's Crossing") is engaged but sleeping with another woman. Overachieving daughter Sara (Melanie Deanne Moore, Joyce DeWitt in last night's "Three's Company" movie) is having an emotional meltdown.

9 p.m.: "Frasier"

9:30 p.m.: "Good Morning, Miami"

10 p.m.: "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"

Wednesday

8 p.m.: "Ed"

9 p.m.: "The West Wing"

10 p.m.: "Law & Order"

Thursday

8 p.m.: "Friends"

8:30 p.m.: "Scrubs"

9 p.m.: "Will & Grace"

9:30 p.m.: "Coupling" -- Based on the BBC hit of the same name, which itself was inspired by "Friends," this raucous, racy comedy follows the lives of six twentysomethings who are, have been or will be in romantic relationships with each other. Series stars include Rena Sofer ("Ed"), Colin Ferguson ("The Opposite of Sex"), Sonya Wagner ("The Mind of the Married Man") and Lindsay Price ("Beverly Hills, 90210").

10 p.m.: "ER"

Friday

8 p.m.: "Miss Match" -- Alicia Silverstone stars in this light, romantic drama as a lawyer with a reputation for matchmaking. Ryan O'Neal stars as her father, and Pittsburgh native David Conrad plays Silverstone's potential love interest.

9 p.m.: "Dateline NBC"

10 p.m.: "Boomtown"

Saturday

8 p.m.: "NBC Saturday Night Movie"

Midseason

"The Apprentice" -- Already announced, this "reality" show from executive producer Mark Burnett ("Survivor") follows young business people in New York City who vie for the chance to become "apprentice" to a business "master" and earn a six-figure salary. Donald Trump serves as the master.

"The Tracy Morgan Show" -- "Saturday Night Live" regular Tracy Morgan takes a stab at sitcomdom with this series about a Brooklyn family man who runs an auto garage business.

Peeking ahead

Today ABC and The WB will announce their fall schedules, which are expected to contain good news for fans of two "on the bubble" shows.

The Washington Post reports ABC will renew "The Practice" and return it to 10 p.m. Sunday, and Daily Variety says The WB will renew "Angel," although co-star Charisma Carpenter will probably not return as a series regular. Instead, James Marsters will bring his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" character, Spike, to "Angel."


You can reach Rob Owen atrowen@post-gazette.com . Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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