NBC, whose executives were looking for ways to take some attention away from the David Letterman story, announced new sitcom projects in the works with “Cheers’ ” George Wendt and former “Night Court” star John Larroquette.

The latter will be produced by Witt-Thomas Prods. as their first TV production in association with Warner Bros. Inc.

NBC also announced plans to air four different six-episode serials on Friday beginning in August, under the banner “Great Escapes,” with one to be chosen as a prime time series with a 40-episode order. Network executives have cited the need to extend orders on prime time soaps since they have little value in repeat.

The four shows, developed under the auspices of prime time exec VP Perry Simon, are “Lake Success” and “Trade Winds,” from producer Douglas Cramer; “Pretenders,” a previously announced project from Papazian/Hirsch Entertainment; and “La Famiglia,” from Kushner-Locke Co. All four are in association with in-house arm NBC Prods.

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