CBS and ABC are both heading into the holidays with holes in their primetime schedule and essentially using chewing gum and baling wire to plug the gaps through the calendar year.
ABC confirmed plans to revert to airing movies and specials from 8-10 p.m. Saturday through December — as it did the first six weeks of the season — having struck out with its comedy block of “George,””Where I Live” and “The Paula Poundstone Show.”
A network spokeswoman stressed that “George,” the Columbia sitcom starring George Foreman, was not canceled andwas being considered for a return in a different time period.
Movies performed reasonably well for ABC at the start of the season, and sources say the web may continue with that strategy into ’94. Another hour to watch is 10 p.m. Wednesday, since “Moon Over Miami” hasn’t been picked up for additional episodes. Either the ABC News magazine “Turning Point” or Columbia drama “Birdland,” starring Brian Dennehy, will likely inherit that slot.
CBS’ “various” hours are at 9 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. The Eye network will rely on holiday specials and reality hours like “Shame on You” (airing Dec. 3 and 17) through December, with speculation that Spelling TV’s revival of “Burke’s Law” may be tapped to bridge the gap between “Diagnosis Murder” and “Picket Fences” Fridays beginning in January.
One consideration at CBS is that the network will turn over more than two weeks of primetime to the Winter Olympics in February, with some shows — such as the Tom Arnold sitcom “Tom”– being held until March to capitalize on that promotional platform.
Fox Broadcasting Co. is also mulling a few moves, with Warner Bros.’ George Carlin sitcom expected to bump “Daddy Dearest” in January and reports that TriStar’s Hammer vehicle “City High” may be asked to take over the thankless 7 p.m. Sunday slot currently occupied by the variety “Townsend Television.”
NBC has already announced one substitution, dialing up the action hour “Viper” at 8 p.m. Fridays in place of “Against the Grain” starting Jan. 7 (Daily Variety, Nov. 22).