ABC slots ‘Lois’ vs. ‘seaQuest’

ABC will go mano-a-mano with Steven Spielberg’s giant submarine, premiering Warner Bros. TV’s “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” directly opposite the maiden voyage of NBC’s “seaQuest DSV” on Sept. 12.

The Alphabet network will also offer early premieres and previews of several new series and air a fall preview special, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” both from 8-9 p.m. on Sept. 8 and following the first flight of “Lois & Clark,” with a slightly longer preview airing from 9:45-11 p.m.

That matchup has been seen as a key to the coming season, with both networks going after a similar audience in the high HUT (homes using TV) 8 o’clock Sunday hour vs. CBS’ older-skewing time-period champ “Murder, She Wrote.”

It also bears noting that “Home Improvement,” not “Roseanne,” will be the big launch pad for ABC this season, with the network premiering three shows –“Thea, “”Moon Over Miami” and “Grace Under Fire”– behind the Disney sitcom.

“Thea” turns up in a Sept. 8 post-“Improvement” preview and again after “Family Matters” that Friday before joining the Wednesday lineup. Similarly, “Moon Over Miami” will make its debut directly out of “Improvement” on Sept. 15, while the full Wednesday lineup (“Thea,””Joe’s Life,””Home Improvement,””Grace” and “Moon”) will be in place the following week.

ABC will also preview “Missing Persons” with a two-hour Monday movie on Aug. 30 and repeat that pilot from 8-10 p.m. Sept. 9 prior to the show’s Sept. 23 intro in its regular Thursday time period, leading off the night prior to the season premiere of “Matlock.”

As previously reported, the controversial drama “NYPD Blue” will premiere Sept. 21. The Tuesday comedy four-stack of “Full House,””Phenom,””Roseanne” and “Coach” turns up a week earlier.

ABC won’t discuss clearances for “NYPD Blue” at this time, but the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon’s American Family Assn. — which has lobbied sight-unseen against the show — says that a dozen affiliates in Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Texas, Florida and Ohio have indicated they won’t clear the pilot. Most of those stations are in small markets, and ABC has projected the series will have over 90% U.S. coverage.

ABC will air the 45th annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sept. 19 — using the show as a platform for the next-day start of the fall campaign — with the season premieres of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “America’s Funniest People” as its lead-in.

The “TGIF” sitcom block of “Family Matters,””Boy Meets World,””Step by Step” and “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” arrives together Sept. 24, opposite time-slot premieres of CBS’ new comedies “It Had to Be You” and “Family Album.”

“The Commish” begins its third season Sept. 25, with the rest of the Saturday block expected to be held until Oct. 30.

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