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Nbc Pulls 'Hell Town' From Lineup

December 17, 1985|JAY SHARBUTT | Times Staff Writer

NBC, currently first in the prime-time ratings, said Monday that it is dropping its low-rated "Hell Town" series and will replace it next month with "Blacke's Magic," co-starring Hal Linden and Harry Morgan.

NBC made no other shifts in its current prime-time schedule, although at least two other current series face the ax or will be put on hiatus early next year to make room for Stephen J. Cannell's new "The Last Precinct" and NBC News' "American Almanac."

An NBC spokesman described "Precinct," from the producer of NBC's hit "The A-Team," as a drama-with-comedy police series. With a cast that includes Adam West, formerly of "Batman," the one-hour series will have a special premiere on Jan. 26, then will start its regular run a week later. The night on which it will regularly appear has not been set yet.

"Almanac," a news magazine series anchored by Roger Mudd, premiered this season, televised on a monthly basis. It originally was to have joined NBC's prime-time lineup as a weekly series in January, but now will do that in March, the network said.

"Hell Town," which starred Robert Blake as a tough, streetwise priest, will have its last broadcast on Christmas Day. "Blacke's Magic" will have a two-hour premiere on Sunday, Jan. 5, then will take over the Wednesday 9-10 p.m. time slot of "Hell Town" Jan. 8, where it will challenge ABC's popular "Dynasty."

NBC described the new show as "a lighthearted mystery series" in which Linden, the former star of ABC's "Barney Miller" series, plays a famed illusionist "who is constantly called on to use his unique talents to demystify seemingly impossible crimes."

Morgan, who portrayed Col. Sherman Potter on CBS' "MASH," plays Linden's father and crime-solving aide.

CBS, hoping to regain the prime-time ratings leadership it has held for six consecutive seasons, unveiled two mid-season shows last week--"Mary" and "Foley Square"--and is expected to announce further schedule changes later this week. It already has axed three first-year series: "Hometown," "Stir Crazy" and "George Burns Comedy Week."

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