CBS, which finished behind NBC in last year's ratings race, said Thursday it will jump the gun on the start of the fall season by introducing the first of its new shows on Sept. 9 and loading up the following two weeks with first-run feature films, some season premieres of returning programs and a two-part, four-hour miniseries.
Generally, the week of Sept. 21 has been regarded as the start of the fall season.
"The Wizard," a new fantasy adventure series about a little man with great powers who solves "unsolvable" problems for "Headquarters," will be the first of the new CBS shows to arrive, having its premiere on Sept. 9 (8-9 p.m.). David Rappaport and Doug Barr are the stars.
The first of the new "CBS Tuesday Movie" series also will kick off that night with the first-run "Moscow on the Hudson," starring Robin Williams.
Other first-run films on the schedule include "Deathtrap" with Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve on Sept. 12, and "Raging Bull" with Robert De Niro on Sept. 13.
New TV movies scheduled for early September air-dates include "American Geisha" with Pam Dawber on Sept. 11, and "Oceans of Fire" with Billy Dee Williams on Sept. 16.
"60 Minutes" will launch its 19th season on Sept. 14, followed by the previously announced "The Last Days of Patton," a three-hour "Chrysler Showcase" presentation starring George C. Scott. On Sept. 17, Martin Mull will host "Clue: Motives, Murder and Mystery," a light-hearted entertainment special about America's fascination with mystery.
"Knots Landing" will start its eighth year on Sept. 18 with a two-hour presentation.
The following night, Sept. 19, will bring the fourth season premiere for "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." Airing that same night will be "Many Happy Returns," a comedy movie about the IRS starring George Segal, Ron Leibman and Helen Shaver.
The first CBS miniseries of the season will be the four-hour "George Washington: The Forging of a Nation," to air Sept. 21-22, a project fully sponsored by General Motors as a "Mark of Excellence" presentation. Barry Bostwick and Patty Duke portray George and Martha Washington.