"T.J. Hooker" is not dead after all. The 3-year-old police series, which starred William Shatner, was canceled by ABC two weeks ago. But CBS said Tuesday it has ordered 17 new episodes of the show.
Instead of playing them in prime time, however, as ABC did, CBS plans to broadcast them at 11:30 p.m. as late-night competition for "The Tonight Show" on NBC and "Nightline" on ABC.
In addition to the 17 new installments, CBS has acquired rerun rights to the ABC episodes of "T.J. Hooker" and will mix them together on a weekly basis over the next two years, beginning this fall.
"T.J. Hooker" will get at least one outing in prime time, though. CBS also has ordered a two-hour TV movie for next season with Shatner and co-stars Adrian Zmed, Heather Locklear and James Darren.
While rare, it is far from unprecedented for a TV show to move from one network to another. Even as ABC was canceling "T.J. Hooker" two weeks ago, for example, it was picking up "Diff'rent Strokes," which NBC had dropped the week before after seven seasons.
NEW NEWS: Los Angeles viewers will soon have more choices than ever about when to watch the evening news. KTTV Channel 11 said Tuesday that it plans to introduce an 8 p.m. newscast to its weeknight schedule starting July 1.
The 30-minute news program will be anchored by Marcia Brandwynne and Jay Scott, who will continue to co-anchor the station's hourlong newscast at 10 p.m.
KTTV General Manager Bill White said that the decision to produce an additional newscast was based on a recent survey that showed a strong desire for such a program. "The research indicates that many news viewers are not home for existing early evening newscasts," he said.
The KTTV newscast will mean that Los Angeles viewers will be able to get news on the hour Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. There is local news at 4 p.m. on KNBC Channel 4 and KABC-TV Channel 7, and at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Channels 4, 7 and KCBS-TV Channel 2. Both the "CBS Evening News" and "ABC World News Tonight" air at 7 p.m.
KTTV's "8 O'Clock News" will be followed by KHJ-TV Channel 9's hourlong newscast at 9 p.m., then by local news shows at 10 p.m. on Channel 11, KTLA Channel 5 and KCOP Channel 13. Channels 2, 4 and 7 have their traditional late-night newscasts at 11 p.m.
OFFER NIXED: David O. Ives, chairman of the National Assn. of Public Television Stations, said Tuesday he has turned down an offer to become the interim president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Ives, who also serves as vice chairman of the board of trustees at public-TV station WGBH in Boston, said he was flattered by the offer but declined it after deciding that "my other obligations take precedence."
There was no immediate word from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting about whom it would next approach for the position. The organization, which distributes federal funds to the nation's public radio and TV stations, is looking for someone to serve temporarily as president while the board makes a more extensive search for a permanent successor to Edward J. Pfister, who is departing June 15.
Pfister, a former Dallas TV executive who had been president of the public broadcasting organization since September, 1981, resigned last week after the corporation's board voted to withdraw support for a trip by public-TV executives to the Soviet Union, where they hoped to discuss the possibilities of buying and selling programs. Some public broadcasters have expressed fear that the board was acting out of political considerations, in keeping with the Reagan Administration's hard-line policies toward the Soviets.