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*foot notes

September 29, 2000|JAMES E. FOWLER

The weather is turning cool, the leaves are falling. It's a time for hope, a time for change, a time for something old and something new. It's autumn, but more important, it's a new television season.

* CBS and NBC are each debuting seven shows. Fox is offering five, and ABC is unveiling four shows this fall. But ABC viewers can look forward to four nights per week of Regis Philbin and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and two nights of the news program "Downtown," plus "Monday Night Football."

* This seems to be the year that big stars from other media are moving en masse to the small screen in our living rooms. Bette Midler has her own new sitcom (CBS) as does Academy Award winner Geena Davis (ABC). But they're not the only ones. Charlie Sheen will join the cast of "Spin City" and Robert Downey Jr. will be Calista Flockhart's new love interest on "Ally McBeal."

Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Burstyn are also big-screen veterans coming to television this fall. Along with some old small-screen favorites--John Goodman, Andre Braugher, Craig T. Nelson, Victoria Principal, Michael Richards and others--returning in new shows.

"Designing Women" veteran Delta Burke plays the American first lady and "In Living Color" alum David Alan Grier stars as the Secret Service agent assigned to protect her in a new NBC sitcom "DAG" on Tuesdays.

Tim Daly and Steven Weber, the former stars of the NBC sitcom "Wings," are back in prime time, but not together. Daly stars as yet another incarnation of Dr. Richard Kimble in "The Fugitive" Fridays on CBS, while Weber returns Tuesdays in the NBC sitcom "Cursed."

* Normal seems to be a new, high concept this television season. First we have ABC's "The Trouble with Normal," a Friday night sitcom about two paranoid neighbors, their friends and the therapist trying to help them. And Fox's Wednesday night sitcom "Normal, Ohio" stars John Goodman as a gay man who comes out of the closet in Los Angeles and returns to his Ohio hometown and moves in with his sister and her kids.

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