Last season, Fox played musical time periods with its prime-time schedule, shifting Melrose Place, Martin, Living Single, and The Simpsons. This season, only Martin's moving to a new night. Even the low-rated Party of Five and New York Undercover are coming back in their old slots. Getting the heave-ho are Models Inc., VR.5, Medicine Ball, and House of Buggin'. (Sliders, The Critic, and Dream On may return at midseason.) Joining the network are six sitcoms and two fantasies:
Two Friends producers are responsible for this comedy about a pair of architects (Love Potion #9's Tate Donovan and The Famous Teddy Z's Jon Cryer). ''I'm not thrilled to be up against Monday Night Football,'' confesses Cryer. '' 'Cause I watch Monday Night Football.''
Ned and Stacey
Wings grease monkey Thomas Haden Church alights in this sitcom about a New York City advertising executive who marries a stranger (Debra Messing, NYPD Blue's Dana Abandando) to advance his career. Church says he'll probably never return to Wings: ''Fox is not keen on me going back and doing a farewell episode.''
The Five Mrs. Buchanans team produces this lowbrow farce about flight attendants, including a cranky New Yorker (Rose Jackson) and a snide homosexual (David Burke).
Air-crash survivor Chance Harper (Roommates' D.B. Sweeney) stumbles into bizarre circumstances on a daily basis. ''If he goes to buy a stamp, somebody does a shoot-out at the post office,'' explains Sweeney, who calls Luck ''a karma-dy.''
The Preston Episodes
In Living Color's David Alan Grier plays a divorced English professor who lands a job at a gossip rag. ''It's the kind of show I'd want to watch,'' says Grier. ''Intelligent, yet still hip and edgy.''
Military cadets battle against an alien race in this Top Gun-Star Wars hybrid from a trio of X-Files vets. Full Metal Jacket's R. Lee Ermey reprises his hard-ass drill-instructor routine in the pilot.
Art-film auteurs/stars Eric Schaeffer and Donal Lardner Ward (My Life's in Turnaround) take their act to the small screen as two slackers toiling in a corporate mailroom.
Misery Loves Company
The Jackie Thomas Show's Dennis Boutsikaris, ER's Rick Rossovich, Doctor, Doctor's Julius Carry, and Animal House's Stephen Furst star as four guys dealing with divorce. Boutsikaris says shooting the pilot for Misery was a pleasure after working with Tom Arnold on Jackie: ''When it was time for rehearsal, we rehearsed. When lunch hour was over, we came back. To me, this was some exotic experience.''
Bruce Fretts, with reporting by Gary Walk