In an effort to keep viewers interested in network television during the summer rerun doldrums, CBS said Monday it has given production commitments to four new series that will be broadcast from August until the fall season begins in late September.
Three of the shows are entertainment series that had been developed as candidates for the 1985-86 TV season, while the other is a magazine show from CBS News. All were given orders for six episodes.
"As media competition increases and viewers are given more choices, we have been looking for ways to extend our schedule of original programming beyond the traditional borders of the television season," said Gene F. Jankowski, president of the CBS Broadcast Group. "This aggressive strategy to offer a mix of entertainment and news programming in a special summer first-run schedule will provide viewers with fresh network fare at a time when repeats have been the norm."
All three networks have been spicing up their summer schedules with original programming for the last few years to try to stem the erosion of viewers to cable TV, independent stations and home video, although they didn't do much in the way of entertainment programs last year because of the Olympics and the presidential nominating conventions. But ABC did introduce "Call to Glory" last summer and, based on the encouraging early response, decided to carry it over into the regular season (where it ultimately was canceled).