Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

`Touched by an Angel' Has Been Heavenly News for CBS' Ratings

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

`Touched by an Angel' Has Been Heavenly News for CBS' Ratings

Article excerpt

PASADENA, Calif. -- Touched by an Angel was a slow starter

for CBS on Saturday nights. The show's executive producer

thinks she knows why: A lot of people had lost faith in TV.

"They just sort of gave up on television altogether," said

Martha Williamson. "And finally word got around that it's OK to

come back and watch something, and you can trust your children

with it."

How successful is Touched by an Angel, a distaff version of the

late Michael Landon's Highway to Heaven? After helping CBS

trounce the competition on Saturday nights, the show moves to 8

p.m. Sundays this fall, following 60 Minutes . CBS entertainment

chief Leslie Moonves called it "probably our most important time

period."

The saying is that imitation is the sincerest form of

television. Touched by an Angel has spawned at least two other

series on CBS alone.

Early Edition, which moves into its 9 p.m. Saturday slot, is

about a man who knows what's going to happen in the next 24

hours because of a mysterious newspaper delivered to his

doorstep every morning. Each week, he must choose whether to be

a force for good.

Williamson is the creator of Promised Land (8 p.m. Tuesdays),

in which Gerald McRaney plays a man who travels the country with

his family to unknown destinations. Along the way, they add

wisdom and strength to their own lives and those whose lives

they touch.

Williamson said the copycat syndrome was in such full force

last spring that networks asked producers for Touched shows. Her

wish is that imitators convey there are right and wrong things

in the world and that we need to take stands on them.

"I hope that they don't equivocate on their messages, because

that is what I credit our success with. I believe Touched by an

Angel survives because we don't give the option of believing in

God. …

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