Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Phil Donahue and Oprah Winfrey will be among the warriors on the front lines of the November sweeps battle, as the networks announced air dates for various movies, specials and miniseries.
Both CBS and ABC will offer five-hour miniseries: ABC’s “The Jacksons: An American Dream” on Nov. 15 and 18, and CBS’ “Sinatra,” which begins the previous Sunday and wraps up Nov. 10.
NBC, meanwhile, has changed its longform sweeps lineup, scheduling the theatrical “Problem Child 2” for Nov. 2 in its Monday movie slot, the made-fors “Fatal Memories” and “A Child Lost Forever” the next two Mondays, miniseries “Deadly Matrimony” Nov. 22-23, a preelection “Saturday Night Live” two-hour special Nov. 1 and the “Donahue” anniversary spec Nov. 15.
ABC will air “TV’s Funniest Commercials” and the latest “Oprah: Behind the Scenes” spec on Nov. 4 as well as its first two-hour “Matlock” movie Nov. 5, preempting its Thursday 8-10 p.m. block.
The web will also use that space for a Museum of Television & Radio special on Nov. 19 and has set a “Columbo” vidpic for Nov. 22.
Two other specials, a Hollywood Palace retrospective and Barbara Walters interview show, have dates yet to be announced.
Fox Broadcasting Co. will offer a number of stunts within its programming (including a three-part romantic triangle arc on “Beverly Hills, 90210”), the repeat theatrical “Die Hard” Nov. 16 in its sporadic movie slot and a one-hour “Saturday Night’s Main Event” wrestling special Nov. 14 at 9 p.m.
The sweeps run from Oct. 29 through Nov. 25 in Nielsen, starting and finishing a day earlier in Arbitron.
ABC should be handicapped by having its Tuesday lineup preempted Nov. 3 due to election coverage, while Fox will counter the webs that night with comedy programming (Daily Variety, Oct. 8).