Nearly four months after Kimberly (Marcia Cross) pushed the button, we'll finally see the big bang or at least the after effects on the fourth-season premiere of MELROSE PLACE (Fox, Sept. 11, 8-9 p.m.). Don't expect any regular characters to perish in the blast, though blotto Alison (Courtney Thorne-Smith) is temporarily blinded, and Billy (Andrew Shue) comes to her aid, much to the dismay of his new bride, Brooke (Kristin Davis). Also, building-diving brothers Jake (Grant Show) and Jess (Dan Cortese) hit the ground (guess which one doesn't get up), and frame-up victim Matt (Doug Savant) calls his parents to help get him out of the slammer. And on Sept. 20, look for a special 100th episode, which just happens to air opposite Melrose creator Darren Star's new CBS soap, Central Park West.
His post-Bad Boys status as a bona fide movie star notwithstanding, Martin Lawrence couldn't keep his sitcom, MARTIN (Fox, Sept. 9, 8-8:30 p.m.), from being shunted to a low-profile Saturday slot. In the fourth-season opener, newly wed Martin catches hell from Gina (Tisha Campbell) after he loses a bundle to a pool-hall hustler. Lawrence's Boomerang costar, David Alan Grier, stars in the new sitcom paired with Martin, THE PRESTON EPISODES (Fox, Sept. 9, 8:30-9 p.m.). The In Living Color alum plays a professor on the rebound from a bad marriage who takes a job as a caption writer at ''a People-like, puff-piece magazine called Stuff.'' Fox's words, not ours.
It'll compete with Martin on Saturday nights starting Sept. 16, but THE JEFF FOXWORTHY SHOW (ABC, Sept. 12, 8:30-9 p.m.) gets a one-time-only Tuesday preview. The self-proclaimed redneck comic's new show casts him as a Southerner who's transplanted to the Midwest with his wife (Anita Barone) and young son (Thunder Alley smurf Haley Joel Osment). Meanwhile, COACH (ABC, Sept. 12, 9:30-10 p.m.) kicks off its eighth season (we kid you not) by moving in the opposite direction from the Midwest (Minneapolis) to the South (Orlando), where Hayden Fox (Craig T. Nelson) takes over an NFL team owned by Soap's Katherine Helmond. Pray she's not a love interest for Jerry Van Dyke.
Taking the bold step of adding a second night of programming to its schedule, The WB introduces three nondescript new sitcoms, SIMON (Sept. 10, 8:30-9 p.m.), FIRST TIME OUT (Sept. 10, 9-9:30 p.m.), and CLEGHORNE! (Sept. 10, 9:30-10 p.m.). Simon stars stand-up Harland Williams as borderline idiot savant Simon Himple, who lives in Harlem with his divorced brother (The Hogan Family's Jason Bateman) and works for a Nick at Nite-like TV network. Zaftig Jackie Guerra headlines First Time Out as a receptionist with a pair of Friends-like roomies. In the pilot, Jackie dates a guy with Tourette's syndrome! And Queen Shaniqua meets Chico Escuela as Ellen Cleghorne's self-titled vehicle features fellow SNL vet Garrett Morris as her postal-worker pop.