In assembling their new fall schedules, CBS and Fox stuck to an old network-TV adage: If you ain’t goin’ broke, don’t fix it. No. 1 CBS is sticking with its winning mix of relationship comedies, older-skewing dramas, and newsmagazines. And though Fox has never risen above fourth place, it has carved out a niche with younger viewers and urban audiences. So the network is serving up more of its bread and butter-lowbrow sitcoms and lunatic-fringe reality-based shows.
After a close call with cancellation, Bob Newhart’s freshman series, Bob, won a 13th-hour reprieve. A retooled version will return at mid-season (when Tom, starring Tom Arnold as a blue-collar father, will also appear). Departing are the sitcoms Brooklyn Bridge, Dudley, The Golden Palace, A League of Their Own, and Major Dad; the dramas Bodies of Evidence and Knots Landing; and the reality-based Top Cops.
NEW PROGRAMS: Dave’s World (Mondays, 8:30-9 p.m.) Night Court’s Harry Anderson impersonates humorist Dave Barry in this domestic comedy based on Barry’s newspaper columns. The Trouble with Larry (Wednesdays, 8-8:30 p.m.) A presumed-dead world traveler (Perfect Stranger Bronson Pinchot) resurfaces in Syracuse and settles down with his remarried ex-wife’s new family. High jinks ensue. The Nanny (Wednesdays, 8:30-9 p.m.) Princesses’ Fran Drescher plays a strident-but-lovable Queens woman who administers tough love to a British Broadway producer’s three stuck-up kids. South of Sunset (Wednesdays, 9-10 p.m.) Ex-Eagle Glenn Frey spreads his acting wings in this slavish copy of 48 HRS. as a down-and-out-near-Beverly-Hills rent-a-cop. Eye to Eye with Connie Chung (Thursdays, 9-10 p.m.) Dan Rather’s new best friend anchors the network’s newest newsmagazine. Angel Falls (Thursdays, 10-11 p.m.) An as-yet-uncast small-town soap angling to fill the TV void (not to mention the time slot) left by Knots Landing. It Had to Be You (Fridays, 8-8:30) Faye Dunaway (her first TV series) and Robert Urich (his 11th) costar as a snide socialite and a salt-of-the-earth carpenter who — can you guess? — fall head over heels for each other. Family Album (Fridays, 8:30-9 p.m.) Another middle-aged crazy-in-love couple (Newhart’s Peter Scolari and Grand’s Pamela Reed) is the focus of this sitcom, from the producers of HBO’s Dream On. Harts of the West (Saturdays, 9-10 p.m.) Beau Bridges is a lingerie salesman who moves his family to a dude ranch in this comedy-drama designed as a segue between the surprise smashes Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Walker, Texas Ranger.
Gone are the sitcoms Down the Shore, Shaky Ground, and Flying Blind; the skitcoms The Ben Stiller Show and The Edge; the dramas Class of ‘96, Key West, and Tribeca; and the reality-based show Sightings.
NEW PROGRAMS: Townsend Television (Sunday, 7-8 p.m.) Hollywood Shuffle director Robert Townsend presides over a hodgepodge of short films, sketches, and musical numbers. My Girls (Sunday, 8:30-9 p.m.) Royal rapper Queen Latifah, In Living Color refugee Kim Coles, ex-Cosby cousin Erika Alexander, and Kim ”Tootie” Fields team up for a homegirl version of Designing Women. Daddy Dearest (Sunday, 9:30-10 p.m.) Don Rickles, the Dalai Lama of insult comedy, shacks up with Richard Lewis, his divorced psychologist hockey puck of a son. Buddy Blues (Tuesday, 8:30-9 p.m.) An action comedy set in Bakersfield, Calif., about a dingdong white cop and his brainy half-black, half-Italian partner. Sinbad (Thursday, 8:30-9 p.m.) The Different World comic stars as a footloose bachelor who takes in two scrappy foster kids. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (Friday, 8-9 p.m.) Army of Darkness’ Bruce Campbell plays an urbane cowboy in this Indy-esque Western. The X-Files (Friday, 9-10 p.m.) The FBI’s most outlandish cases are dramatized. Anything in there about J. Edgar Hoover wearing a muu-muu? Front Page (Saturday, 9-10 p.m.) How about Ron Reagan in a tutu? The former First Son suits up as one of five correspondents for this L.A.-based infotainment hour.