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In the Blink of a Season : CHANGES IN RETURNING SERIES INCLUDE A REUNION OF JEANNIE AND HER MASTER

September 16, 1990|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The fall season doesn't just mean flashy new programs and splashy specials all vying for viewers' attention. The networks have countless changes up their sleeves for returning series, in order to bring back old viewers and, perhaps, capture some new ones.

Here are changes for some of the networks' returning series:

ABC

"America's Funniest Home Videos"--The surprise hit of 1990 will offer three grand prizes of $100,000 each for the best video entries.

"China Beach"--The Emmy Award-winning Vietnam War drama moves to a new time in its fourth season, to Saturdays at 9 p.m. Also, the series will shift back and forth in time, with the opener taking place in 1985. A major character will lose a leg. Marg Helgenberger, who plays the cynical prostitute K.C., is pregnant in real life and her pregnancy will be written into the show.

"Doogie Howser, M.D."--Markus Redmond joins the cast as Raymond Alexander, a.k.a. "Z-Man." A teen-age gang member, Raymond, held Doogie (Neil Patrick Harris) hostage in a convenience store last year. Doogie will get him a job as a hospital orderly.

"Family Matters"--Steve Urkel (Jaleel White) accidently burns down his former job site, Leroy's. Out of the ashes, though, comes Rachel's Place, which will become an important hangout and a new focal point for the series' regulars. Rachel (Telma Hopkins) will become an excellent businesswoman.

"Full House"--Jessie (John Stamos) and Rebecca (Lori Laughlin) will announce their engagement on the fourth season opener. Danny (Bob Saget) will yearn for a permanent relationship after being a widower for three years. He will meet the perfect woman who has a 10-year-old son, also known as "the child from hell."

"Growing Pains"--Ashley Johnson, the current Little Miss America, joins the Seaver household in the sixth season of the comedy as Chrissy Seaver, the youngest member of the family. The series moves to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

"Head of the Class"--In the comedy's fifth season, Scottish comedian Billy Connolly joins the cast as an Oxford-educated history teacher from Scotland who replaces Charlie Moore (the departed Howard Hesseman). The sitcom moves to Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m.

"Life Goes On"--Patti LuPone is pregnant in real life and will be pregnant on the dramatic series.

"Perfect Strangers"--Larry (Mark Linn-Baker) and Jennifer (Melanie Wilson) will finally become engaged in this, the seventh season of the comedy series. Alisan Porter joins the cast as a 7-year-old latchkey kid with whom Balki (Bronson Pinchot) will have great rapport.

"Roseanne"--Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) will have a job as a lunch-counter waitress in a department store at the mall.

"Twin Peaks"--Plot changes are hush-hush, but we can tell you that David Lynch and Mark Frost's cult sensation moves to Saturdays at 10 p.m.

"thirtysomething"--Hope (MMl Harris) and Michael (Ken Olin) will have their baby on the first episode of the fourth season.

"The Young Riders"--Don Franklin joins the cast as a new black Pony Express rider, Noah Dixon, who was raised on his parents' prosperous ranch in Texas. The series gallops from Thursdays at 8 p.m. to Saturdays at 8 p.m.

"Who's The Boss?"--The seventh season finds Tony (Tony Danza) and Angela (Judith Light) dating other people. Samantha (Alyssa Milano) will move out of the house. A young foster child will move into the household.

"The Wonder Years"--The fourth season opener has Arnold (Fred Savage) entering the ninth grade of junior high. His older sister (Olivia d'Abo) has moved out of the house to go to college. Kevin's mother Norman (Alley Mills) will get a job at Kevin's school. The series moves to Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

CBS

"Bagdad Cafe"--Scott Lawrence, who played Whoopi Goldberg's son Juney, has departed the cast. The series moves to 8:30 p.m. Fridays.

"Dallas"--The granddaddy of prime-time soaps enters its 14th season with series regulars Barbara Bel Geddes and Ken Kercheval appearing strictly on a recurring basis. Susan Lucci, the daytime TV queen of "All My Children" fame, joins the cast for five shows as a mysterious woman who becomes involved with Bobby (Patrick Duffy). Barbara Eden is reunited with her "I Dream of Jeannie" co-star Larry Hagman after 20 years when she appears for six episodes as a woman trying to buy Ewing oil. The series moves to 10 p.m. Fridays.

"Designing Women"--Reese Watson (Hal Holbrook), the boyfriend of Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter), will have died.

"Doctor, Doctor"--Audrie J. Neenan, who played the recurring character Nurse Faye, has been promoted to a regular. The series moves to Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.

"The Hogan Family"--Formerly on NBC, this sitcom moves to CBS for its sixth season, airing Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. Sandy and Michael's fun-loving dad (John Hillerman of "Magnum, P.I.") leaves his home in Chicago to move in with his family.

"Knots Landing"--Kathleen Noone joins the the soap opera for its 12th season as Claudia Whittaker, Greg Sumner's (William Devane) estranged sister.

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