Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Shows Sending Hits onto Hiatus

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Shows Sending Hits onto Hiatus

Article excerpt

THURSDAY night without "ER"? Tuesday night without "NYPD Blue"? Unthinkable, you say? Think again.

Taking a cue from college kids everywhere, NBC and ABC are trying a new programming tactic: spring break. Each network will send its biggest hit on vacation to make room for new series, while also giving viewers a vacation from spring reruns.

Just how grateful viewers will be remains in doubt, but nevertheless, come March you won't be able to tell the TV players without a scorecard. More than a dozen series will make their debuts as the networks shuffle schedules. Consider it their version of spring training, in which - in the lull between the February and May ratings sweeps periods - they try out rookie shows in that perennial search for a hit. This year, the game is more serious. Audience drift to cable continues, and ratings are down again, 6 percent since last year. Although a few new series can be considered successful, most of those ("Suddenly Susan," "Spin City") have benefited from big stars and plum time slots. The most-watched new drama is CBS' "Early Edition," and its ratings are middling at best. NBC's highly promoted Saturday night "thrillogy" essentially tanked, as did ABC's critically praised "Relativity." Even Fox's "Millennium," from the revered "X-Files" factory, has faltered. And the only truly innovative new drama of the season, CBS' "EZ Streets," was pulled off the schedule after two episodes. The return of "EZ Streets" is one of the changes expected for spring, although no date has been announced. So far, here's what we know: ABC As of March 4, "NYPD Blue" goes on hiatus for eight weeks, to be replaced by "The Practice," a legal drama from David E. Kelley ("Picket Fences," "Chicago Hope"); Dylan McDermott stars. "NYPD Blue" returns in May to wrap up its season. As of March 5, "Ellen" gives up its time slot, also for eight weeks, to a still-untitled sitcom starring Arsenio Hall and Vivica Fox ("Independence Day"). During the hiatus, "Ellen" producers will work with the network to determine whether the Ellen DeGeneres character will come out as a lesbian when the show returns. "Relativity" leaves the air temporarily during February sweeps, replaced by movies. "Murder One" departed with Thursday's two-parter, but will return April 13, 14 and 17 packaged as a miniseries, with two-hour installments each night. A reality-based medical series called "Vital Signs" will air at 8 p.m. Thursdays beginning Feb. 27. Two other dramas will premiere in March or April. The most-anticipated, "Gun," from Robert Altman, is an anthology series with a rotating cast, following the path of a single handgun. The other, "Spy Game," is an action drama about undercover agents. Also likely for midseason on ABC are the sitcoms "Leaving LA," set in the Los Angeles coroner's office, and "Father's Day," a "Home Improvement" spinoff. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.