Summing up new season; ABC

“Phenom”– James L. Brooks’ second sitcom under his multiseries deal with the network gets one of TV’s best times, between “Full House” and “Roseanne.” Starring Judith Light as the mother of a teenage tennis phenom, William Devane as the Svengali-like tennis coach and Angela Goethals as the title character. From Brooks’ Gracie Films and Columbia Pictures TV, with Brooks, Dick Blasucci and Danny Kallis as exec producers (Tuesday, 8:30).

“NYPD Blue”– If you haven’t heard of this show you haven’t been following TV’s content debate. Steven Bochco’s latest TV cops don’t sing, but they do cuss and partially undress, enough to warrant a “viewer-discretion” label. That controversy figures to generate initial sampling and has also put financial pressure on ABC for the show to succeed. David Caruso and Dennis Franz star, with Bochco and fellow “Hill Street Blues” alumnus David Milch as exec producers. The show is Bochco’s fifth under his 10-series deal, with a sixth on the way for midseason (Tuesday, 10).

“Thea”– Comedienne Thea Vidale headlines this Castle Rock comedy about a widow raising four kids. The show faces comedies on CBS, Fox’s “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Unsolved Mysteries,” leaving room to succeed if it can tap into residual “The Wonder Years” viewers and capture the African-American audience. Bernie Kukoff and Andrew Susskind are exec producers (Wednesday, 8).

“Joe’s Life”– Peter Onorati (“Civil Wars”) gets another crack at Wednesday night, this time playing a dad forced to be Mr. Mom by day while his wife (Mary Page Keller) works. This ABC Prods. series comes from “Roseanne” exec producer Bob Myer and has been significantly revised since its pilot (Wednesday, 8:30).

“Grace Under Fire”– Carsey-Werner Co. lands another great time period (post-“Home Improvement”) for another comedy built around a female comic — this time Brett Butler, playing a single mom raising three kids. Dave Thomas costars, with Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandabach and Chuck Lorre as exec producers. With the great lead-in, seen as one of the most likely hits of the season (Wednesday, 9:30).

“Moon Over Miami”– Formerly “Do the Strand,” this ABC Prods./Columbia Pictures TV partnership from producer Harley Peyton (“Twin Peaks”) stars Bill Campbell and Ally Walker as a security man and runaway heiress thrown together. The goal is somewhere between “Moonlighting” and “It Happened One Night.” The reality is CBS owns the time period with “48 Hours;” there may be room for some female viewers not drawn in by the newsshow or “Law & Order” (Wednesday, 10).

“Missing Persons”– Daniel J. Travanti stars as the head of a Chicago missing-persons unit in this Stephen J. Cannell Prods. hour, with Cannell and Gary Sherman as exec producers. ABC tries to counter-punch fare on Fox and NBC but also faces CBS’ venerable “In the Heat of the Night,” which may make it tough to find an audience (Thursday, 8).

“Boy Meets World”– Ben Savage takes the torch from his brother Fred and slides into the “TGIF” sitcom lineup between “Family Matters” and “Step by Step, ” in a sitcom that sees through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy. William Daniels also stars in this Disney comedy — seen as highly compatible in its slot — from exec producer Michael Jacobs (“Dinosaurs”) as a persnickety teacher (Friday , 8:30).

“George”– Can George Foreman knock out a place for himself in television? The former heavyweight champ stars opposite Sheryl Lee Ralph as a retired boxer who starts an after-school program for junior high students. With “Dr. Quinn” and “Cops” entrenched, this Columbia Pictures TV comedy from producers Tony Danza, Steve Sauer and Norma Safford Vela may find itself fighting another new sitcom, NBC’s “The Mommies,” (Saturday, 8).

“The Paula Poundstone Show”– Suppliers weren’t too pleased when this ABC Prods. comedy/variety show turned up on the schedule at the last minute, and now its up to the comic (who exec produces along with Bonnie Burns) to deliver. The show will feature remotes, audience interaction and comedy bits, as ABC seeks a low-cost alternative to tackling a night where it’s consistently struggled (Saturday, 9).

“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”– The Man of Steel faces Steven Spielberg in pursuit of an audience opposite “Murder, She Wrote” and “Martin.” Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain play the title roles, with John Shea as Lex Luthor, in this expensive new retelling of the comic book legend from producers David Jacobs and Deborah Joy LeVine. Will the Warner Bros. TV hour or NBC’s “seaQuest DSV” have to seek safer ground elsewhere? To be continued (Sunday, 8).


“Dave’s World”– The only change to the web’s Monday lineup, this in-house sitcom based on the columns of Dave Barry moves into pleasant territory, hammocked between “Evening Shade” and “Murphy Brown.” Harry Anderson joins a list of “Night Court” alumni making comebacks as the title character, with DeLane Matthews as his wife and Shadoe Stevens in a supporting role. Jonathan Axelrod, Fred Barron, James Widdoes, exec producers (Monday, 8:30).

“The Trouble With Larry”– Another show that’s been overhauled since its pilot, this sitcom features Bronson Pinchot as an adventurer missing for 13 years who suddenly pops up at the home of his remarried wife. Courteney Cox and Perry King costar in this Warner Bros. comedy from former “Tonight Show” producers Andrew Nicholls and Darrell Vickers. Series, which just premiered, must overcome CBS’ poor history with sitcoms in its time period (Wednesday, 8).

“The Nanny”– Fran Drescher (“Princesses”) plays the Queens-born nanny to the three kids of an upper-crust theatrical producer (Charles Shaughnessy).Robert Sternin, Prudence Fraser and Peter Marc Jacobson exec producer this TriStar TV series, which faces the same uphill struggle as “Larry” but won’t turn up until October (Wednesday, 8:30).

“South of Sunset”– This detective drama goes after a “48 HRs.” feel, with former Eagle Glenn Frey (he acted previously in “Wiseguy”) playing a down-on-his-luck private eye who teams up with a young thief (Aries Spears) gone legit. Stan Rogow and John Byrum exec produce this Paramount show, which gets the thankless slot opposite “Home Improvement” (Wednesday, 9).

“Angel Falls”– CBS seeks to keep the “Knots Landing” audience in tow with this Konigsberg/Sanitsky Co. serial about a woman who returns to her old home town with her teenage son. The cast includes Jean Simmons, James Brolin, Peggy Lipton and Kim Cattrall, and the series — produced by Frank Konigsberg, Larry Sanitsky and Joyce Eliason — faces a vulnerable “L.A. Law” and new slot champ “PrimeTime Live” (Thursday, 10).

“It Had to Be You”– Faye Dunaway and Robert Urich star as an upscale magazine publisher and down-to-earth carpenter who start an unlikely romance, forcing the driven career-woman to deal with his three boys. Warner Bros. is hoping the show can hold its own against the studio’s established ABC sitcom, “Family Matters.” David Steinberg, Anita Addison, Andrew Nicholls and Darrell Vickers are exec producers (Friday, 8).

“Family Album”– Peter Scolari and Pamela Reed head a large ensemble cast as a couple who, along with their teenage daughter, move back to Philadelphia to be near their aging parents. From the “Dream On” team of Kevin S. Bright, David Crane and Marta Kauffman and Warner Bros., show faces three other new programs in its slot (Friday, 8:30).

“Harts of the West”– Beau Bridges, a Chicago salesman, decides it’s time for a simpler life after a mild coronary and packs up the wife (Harley Jane Kozak) and kids to take over a Nevada dude ranch. Lloyd Bridges appears in a recurring role as the crotchety foreman in this Kushner-Locke Co. hour exec produced by Donald Kushner, Peter Locke, Robert Lieberman and Robert Moloney. The show will seek to bridge the gap between “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and “Walker, Texas Ranger” in a sort-of theme night for CBS (Saturday, 9).


“Saved by the Bell: The College Years”– Can teen heart-throbs Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mario Lopez, as well as exec producer Peter Engel, take their Saturday-morning act to primetime — opposite ABC’s “Full House”? That’s the big question for this NBC Prods. series, which also features Dustin Diamond from the morning show as the three buddies move into the same college dorm, with former Raider Bob Golic calling the shots (Tuesday, 8).

“The John Larroquette Show”– The former “Night Court” star is back on the night shift, playing a recovering alcoholic who becomes the night manager in a St. Louis bus station. This dark comedy from Witt-Thomas Prods. has been fairly well-received but has the thankless task of facing down “Roseanne” to stay on track. Larroquette, Don Reo, Tony Thomas and Paul Junger Witt, exec producers (Tuesday, 9).

“The Second Half”– Actually the last quarter of NBC’s comedy four-stack, stand-up John Mendoza stars as a divorced sportswriter seeking to balance being a weekend dad to two young girls and a single guy again. This Castle Rock comedy promises to be extremely lead-in contingent, needing a hand from the Larroquette show (Tuesday, 9:30).

“Frasier”– Kelsey Grammer stars in this “Cheers” spinoff, as the psychiatrist moves to Seattle, takes over a radio call-in show and gets stuck with his aging father (John Mahoney). David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee exec produce this Paramount sitcom, which NBC is hoping can maintain the web’s winning ways paired with “Seinfeld” (Thursday, 9:30).

“Against the Grain”– Family drama about a small-town football star (John Terry) who, after a sex scandal, becomes the local high school football coach, affecting relations within his family. The Warner Bros. hour, which won’t premiere until October, could become this year’s “quality drama” languishing in a difficult time period. Lee Rich, Bruce Sallan, Jeff Freilich, exec producers (Friday, 8).

“NBC Mystery Movie”– After years of frustration on Friday night the Peacock web will try older-skewing movies, including “Perry Mason,” a revival of “Hart to Hart,” a new vehicle for Larry Hagman entitled “Staying Afloat” and a project casting Kenny Rogers as a Vegas detective. Will it work? Probably as well or better as anything else has for NBC since “Miami Vice” (Friday, 9).

“The Mommies”– Built around the comedy duo of Marilyn Kentz and Caryl Kristensen, series will seek to capture their act about motherhood in the ’90s. David Dukes also stars and Terry Grossman and Kathy Speer exec produce this Paramount sitcom, which NBC hopes can tap into the female audience the web has yielded to CBS’ “Dr. Quinn” (Saturday, 8).

“Cafe Americain”– This well-traveled comedy concept stars Valerie Bertinelli as a divorced American who moves to Paris and becomes a waittress at the Cafe Americain. Warner Bros. comedy could use a hand from “The Mommies,” with Peter Noah and Jack Grossbart as exec producers (Saturday, 8:30).

“seaQuest DSV”– Steven Spielberg and Roy Scheider reunite for the first time since “Jaws” as producer and star of this futuristic (2018) series about a massive submarine and its voyages on one of the final frontiers. After various changes David Burke joins Spielberg as exec producer of this Universal/Amblin TV series, which features Stephanie Beacham and Shelley Hack. Will the sub or Superman survive the time period? (Sunday, 8).


“Bakersfield P.D.”– Giancarlo Esposito plays a D.C. cop forced to move to Bakersfield, where he’s paired with an overzealous partner (Ron Eldard) whose foibles include humming old TV copshow themes. Brian Doyle-Murray co-stars in this one-camera film comedy from Disney and exec producer Larry Levin, which will follow “Roc” and create a three-way comedy logjam in its slot (Tuesday, 8: 30).

“The Sinbad Show”– Sinbad plays the reluctant foster father to two kids, upsetting his bachelorhood. The Disney comedy, from former “Night Court” exec producers Larry Strawther and Gary Murphy, has been plagued by production problems but still has a great timeslolt going for it behind “The Simpsons” (Thursday, 8:30).

“The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.”– Fox Entertainment Group prez Sandy Grushow was quoted as saying that he’ll “eat his desk” if Bruce Campbell doesn’t become the next big star as the title character in this tongue-in-cheek, cliffhanger-style Western drama from Warner Bros. and exec producers Jeffrey Boam and Carlton Cuse. Can Brisco bring in the Nielsens against two sitcoms and a soft drama? Male viewers could be there for the taking (Friday, 8).

“The X-Files”– Two FBI agents (David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson) — one a believer in the occult, the other a skeptic — are assigned to explore paranormal phenomena and other unexplained events in this Twentieth TV drama from exec producer Chris Carter. Faces the same competitive situation as “Brisco County” and may live or die based on how well it holds that lead-in (Friday, 9).

“Townsend Television”– One-hour variety show from writer-producer-director Robert Townsend and his Tinsel Townsend Prods. will feature sketches, music and comedy. Fox hasn’t had much luck in this hour, so show could benefit from low expectations (Sunday, 7).

“Living Single”– Formerly “My Girls,” this Warner Bros. comedy about four African-American women sharing a New York brownstone includes rapper Queen Latifah, Kim Coles, Erika Alexander and Kim Fields. Series gets a good timeslolt behind “Martin” in what’s becoming TV’s toughest hour. Tom Anderson and Yvette Denise Lee, exec producers (Sunday, 8:30).

“Daddy Dearest”– The dream (or nightmare) pairing of Richard Lewis and Don Rickles casts the former as a divorced psychologist trying to raise his young son when his father moves in. Rickles seems a natural lead-out to “Married … With Children” in this HBO Independent Prods. sitcom (one of three on Fox) from exec producers Howard Klein, Jane Milmore and Billy Van Zandt (Sunday, 9:30).

New news series, scheduled earlier this summer: “Eye to Eye With Connie Chung” (CBS), “Front Page” (Fox), “Now With Tom Brokaw & Katie Couric” (NBC).

New to NBC: “Getting By” (Warner Bros./Lorimar).

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