Nets sweeping minis into formation

Thinking about November sweeps? That’s so 2000. CBS is already making plans for May 2001.

The Eye has placed its May pole firmly in the scheduling sand, announcing plans to kick off that month’s sweeps contest with the miniseries “Blonde.”

The four-hour “Blonde,” which stars Poppy Montgomery as Norma Jean Baker/Marilyn Monroe, will air at 9 p.m. Sunday, April 29, and Wednesday, May 2.

Ann-Margret, Patricia Richardson, Kirstie Alley and Patrick Dempsey also star in the mini, which is based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates.

Plans for NBC, ABC

At the other webs, big events lined up for May — although not set in stone — include NBC’s “First to Die” mini and ABC’s “South Pacific” and “Battle of the Sexes.”

As for more current events, the Eye has also finalized its November sweeps lineup. As previously scheduled, CBS will lead the month with the mini “Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis” (at 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5 and Wednesday, Nov. 8).

“American Tragedy,” the four-hour mini based on Lawrence Schiller’s account of O.J. Simpson’s legal team, is set for Sunday, Nov. 12 and Wednesday, Nov. 15. The following Sunday (Nov. 19), the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” presentation “Looking for Lost Bird” airs.

CBS rounds out sweeps with the Della Reese telepic “The Moving of Sophia Myles” on Nov. 26.

Sweeps specials

NBC, meanwhile, will end sweeps on a big note with “Titanic,” airing Sunday, Nov. 26. Other November events include an election “Saturday Night Live” special on Nov. 5, replacing “Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot,” which was moved to the first weekend of the February sweeps after Edward Kennedy expressed concerns (Daily Variety, Aug. 15).

Other NBC Sunday night events include “In the Beginning” (Nov. 12) and “Lethal Weapon IV” (Nov. 19).

As for ABC, the network will stick with original “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “The Practice” episodes on the night, given that the season will still be only a few weeks old. Same goes for Fox, which isn’t even debuting its Sunday night lineup until the first week of sweeps.

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