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Returning

The Nights' Entrees (and Exits)

September 20, 1998|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The fall season is arriving with departures--exits, that is, of many series stars.

"NYPD Blue" has to cope with the loss of Jimmy Smits as Det. Bobby Simone. "Homicide: Life on the Street" has lost its rock, Andre Braugher, as well as Reed Diamond. Carey Lowell is leaving "Law & Order" to spend more time with her young daughter, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas is departing "Home Improvement" to concentrate on his education.

Here's a look at some of the other changes in store this season on returning series:

ABC

"Boy Meets World": Maitland Ward joins the network's "TGIF" comedy as the new college roommate of Eric and Jack. Premieres Friday.

"NYPD Blue": Smits will be departing the cast after the first few episodes. Rick Schroder will become Andy's new partner, a narcotics detective. Oct. 20.

"The Practice": Marla Sokoloff portrays a new secretary in the Boston-based law firm. Sept. 27.

"Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place": David Ogden Stiers, who portrayed the somewhat eccentric patron of the pizza parlor, has left the series. Wednesday.

CBS

"Chicago Hope": Eric Stoltz joins the staff as an Eastern philosophy physician. Sept. 30.

"Early Edition": Kristy Swanson is joining the cast as the new manager at Gary's bar. Myles Jeffrey will be playing her young son. Billie Worley is also on hand as a college student and new bartender. Richard's friend Chuck (Fisher Stevens) has left Chicago for the bright lights of Hollywood. Saturday.

"The Nanny": Fran gets pregnant. Oy vey. Sept. 30.

"Nash Bridges": Kelly Hu will be leaving the cast as inspector Michelle Chan after the third episode because she's joining CBS' "Martial Law." The series will be adding Yasmine Bleeth to the cast. Friday.

"Promised Land": After two seasons on the road, the Greene family will settle in Denver. Russell will become a probation officer and Clair will teach. Oct. 1.

Fox

"Ally McBeal": Portia de Rossi joins the quirky law firm as a stunning and sharp new lawyer hired to bring in lucrative clients. Already premiered.

"Beverly Hills, 90210": Jason Priestley will remain as executive producer of the series and will only be doing a handful of episodes. Departing by season's end will be Tiffany Amber-Thiessen. Luke Perry will be rejoining the cast as Dylan during the November sweeps. Laura Leighton, late of "Melrose Place," appears in the first six episodes as an ambitious aspiring actress. Vanessa Marcil ("General Hospital") also will join the long-running series as a former professional ice skater who returns to Beverly Hills to figure out her future. Daniel Cosgrove is coming on board as a former big-city lawyer who comes to Beverly Hills to set up his own storefront office. Already premiered.

"Millennium": Klea Scott of "Brooklyn South" joins Chris Carter's low-rated series as an FBI agent who will become Frank Black's protege. Megan Gallagher has departed. Oct. 2.

"Party of Five": Scott Bairstow joins the popular series as Julia's college roommate's boyfriend. Julia's roomie will be played by Heather McComb. Already premiered.

NBC

"Caroline in the City": Caroline and Richard are expected to finally consummate their relationship, and Annie is at long last fired from "Cats." Caroline is forced to work out of an office after Del sells his greeting card company to a huge conglomerate. Monday.

"ER": Maria Bello has checked out of the hospital and Kellie Martin checks in as a third-year medical student. Thursday.

"Homicide: Life on the Street": Joining the squad are Michael Michele, as an ex-beauty pageant winner, and Giancarlo Esposito, as an Arizona FBI agent who is Giradello's estranged son. Friday.

"Law & Order": The revolving cast door continues on the Emmy-winning series. With Lowell gone, Angie Harmon is coming on on board as the headstrong Asst. Dist. Atty. Abbie Carmichael. Wednesday.

"NewsRadio": With the death of Phil Hartman as Bill McNeal, Jon Lovitz will join the offbeat ensemble comedy as the radio station's new on-air personality. Wednesday.

"Veronica's Closet": Ron Silver joins the comedy in its sophomore year as Veronica's new business partner and personal nemesis. James Wilder appears this season as his stepson. Thursday.

"Working": Series hopping Debi Mazar joins Upton/Webber as a saucy, ambitious office worker, and Rebecca McFarland has been added as an Ivy League-educated but underachieving secretary. Sarah Knowlton, Kate Hodge and Dana Gould are history. Tuesday.

WB

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer": Seth Green graduates from recurring to regular as Willow's love interest Oz. Sept. 29.

"Dawson's Creek": Meredith Monroe and Kerr Smith, who play siblings, move to Capeside. Sept. 29.

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