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Jockeying for Prime-Time Position

September 19, 1996|BRIAN LOWRY

The new television season is here. The flurry of new shows plus the rescheduling of old favorites can leave one feeling disoriented and confused, not knowing which remote button to push or when.

Television programming is not brain surgery, but you would never know it judging from the calculated juxtapositions and last-minute changes wrought by network execs determined to gain a perceived advantage over the competition.

After all the fakes, premieres, playoffs, the World Series, presidential debates and elections, the prime-time schedules will look something like this (as far as we can tell).

Cut this out and tape it near the couch.


NBC, the current ratings leader, has scheduled the premiere of its fall prime-time season this week (Monday-Monday, Sept. 16-23).

Exceptions: Television's No. 1 show, "ER," will have its season premiere Sept. 26. "The Pretender" will premiere at 10 tonight in the regular "ER" time slot, but will air regularly at 9 p.m. Saturdays starting Sept. 28. "Dark Skies" will have a two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. Saturday.

After all is said and done, NBC's regular prime-time schedule will look something like this:


8 p.m.: "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," new on NBC

8:30 p.m.: "Mr. Rhodes," a new sitcom starring Tom Rhodes as a teacher

9-11 p.m.: NBC Monday Night Movie


8 p.m.: "Mad About You"

8:30 p.m.: "Something So Right," a new sitcom starring Mel Harris and Jere Burns

9 p.m.: "Frasier"

9:30 p.m.: "Caroline in the City"

10 p.m.: "Dateline NBC"


8 p.m.: "Wings"

8:30 p.m.: "The John Larroquette Show"

9 p.m.: "NewsRadio"

9:30 p.m.: "Men Behaving Badly," a new sitcom starring Rob Schneider, Ron Eldard and Justine Bateman

10 p.m.: "Law & Order"


8 p.m.: "Friends"

8:30 p.m.: "The Single Guy"

9 p.m.: "Seinfeld"

9:30 p.m.: "Suddenly Susan," a new sitcom starring Brooke Shields

10 p.m.: "ER"


8 p.m.: "Unsolved Mysteries"

9 p.m.: "Dateline NBC"

10 p.m.: "Homicide: Life on the Street"


8 p.m.: "Dark Skies," a new, one-hour serial about an ongoing extraterrestrial invasion

9 p.m.: "The Pretender," a new, one-hour drama starring Michael T. Weiss about a super genius who can do almost anything

10 p.m.: "Profiler" a one-hour drama starring Robert Davi and Ally Walker about a clairvoyant murder investigator


7 p.m.: "Dateline NBC"

8 p.m.: "3rd Rock From the Sun"

8:30 p.m. "Boston Common"

9 p.m.: Movie of the Week


ABC has also slated this week and next for the start of most of its shows for its new prime-time season.

Exceptions: "Relativity" will bow at 10 p.m Tuesday, but will regularly air at 10 p.m. Saturdays starting Sept. 28. That day will also see the season premiere of "Coach" and the series premiere of "Common Law." Two drama series will premiere later: "Murder One" on Oct. 10 and "NYPD Blue" on Oct. 15. "Dangerous Minds" will premiere at 10 p.m. Sept. 30.

Here's ABC's prime-time schedule:


6 p.m. to conclusion: Monday Night Football

10 p.m.: "Dangerous Minds," based on the feature film and starring Annie Potts


8 p.m.: "Roseanne"

8:30 p.m.: "Life's Work" a new sitcom starring Lisa Ann Walker

9 p.m.: "Home Improvement"

9:30 p.m.: "Spin City," a new sitcom starring Michael J. Fox

10 p.m.: "NYPD Blue"


8 p.m.: "Ellen"

8:30 p.m.: "Townies," starring Molly Ringwald

9 p.m.: "Grace Under Fire"

9:30 p.m.: "The Drew Carey Show"

10 p.m.: "Primetime Live"


8 p.m.: "High Incident"

9 p.m.: "Murder One"

10 p.m.: Turning Point


8 p.m.: "Family Matters"

8:30 p.m.: "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," a new sitcom starring Melissa Joan Hart

9 p.m.: "Clueless," a new sitcom based on the feature film

9:30 p.m.: "Boy Meets World"

10 p.m.: "20/20"


8 p.m.: "Second Noah"

9 p.m.: "Coach"

9:30 p.m.: "Common Law," a sitcom about a lawyer starring John Alvarez

10 p.m.: "Relativity," a one-hour drama from the same people who produced "thirtysomething"


7 p.m.: "America's Funniest Home Videos"

8 p.m.: "Lois & Clark"

9 p.m.: "The ABC Sunday Night Movie"


CBS, drawing up the rear among the three majors, staggered many of its fall openings, but most will premiere this week. Exceptions: "Ink" will premiere Oct. 21. Until then, "Pearl" will screen in the regular "Ink" time slot, 8:30 p.m. Mondays. It is undetermined at this time what will screen in the "Pearl" time slot, 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Also, the premieres of two other new Wednesday night shows, "EZ Streets" and 'Public Morals," will be later in October. "Pearl" will return to its regular time slot also in October. Until then, that air time will be taken up by specials.


8 p.m.: "Cosby," a new sitcom starring guess who

8:30 p.m.: "Ink" a sitcom starring Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen

9 p.m.: "Murphy Brown"

9:30 p.m.: "Cybill"

10 p.m.: "Chicago Hope"


8 p.m.: "Promised Land," a new one-hour drama starring Gerald McRainey

9 p.m.: CBS Tuesday Night Movie


8 p.m.: "The Nanny"

8:30 p.m.: "Pearl," a sitcom starring Rhea Perlman and Malcolm McDowell

9 p.m.: "Almost Perfect"

9:30 p.m.: "Public Morals," a sitcom about New York vice cops

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