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CBS' lineup sees increase in crime; 'Greek Life' dies

The network will launch seven shows this fall while moving some proven hits.

May 15, 2003|Brian Lowry | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — CBS will attempt to shore up weak spots in its prime-time lineup by shifting "King of Queens" and "JAG" to new nights this fall. The network's fall schedule, which it formally unveiled Wednesday, also features seven new series and adds three more cop shows to its already crime-laden blotter.

The network, which presented its upcoming programs to advertisers at Carnegie Hall, hopes to mitigate the always risky business of moving hits by replacing "JAG" on Tuesday nights with a spinoff of the series, "Navy CIS," starring Mark Harmon as a Navy criminal investigator. "JAG" shifts to Fridays.

"King of Queens," meanwhile, gives up Monday nights for Wednesdays, where it will follow "60 Minutes II" and precede two new programs: "The Stones," a sitcom about a divorced couple and their grown kids; and "The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.," a drama about three brothers, from producer David E. Kelley.

Both "Yes, Dear" and "Still Standing" will shift to new time periods on Mondays, with a new show starring Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer, "Two and a Half Men," to follow "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Missing from CBS' lineup are "My Big Fat Greek Life," "The Agency," "Star Search" and "Becker," though CBS Television Chairman Leslie Moonves left the door open for the last two to return as midseason replacements.

While "Becker" star Ted Danson could be out of a job, his wife, Mary Steenburgen, joins CBS' lineup. She'll co-star with Joe Mantegna in "Joan of Arcadia," playing the parents of a teenage girl who converses with God.

Asked about reports that "Greek Life," an adaptation of the hugely successful movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," was axed because of differences with star Nia Vardalos, Moonves would say only, "You saw the ratings and you saw the show," declining to comment further.

Sources say "The Agency's" cancellation went down to the wire, with the network opting instead to renew "Hack," the first-year drama with David Morse and Andre Braugher.

The other new shows are "The Handler," starring Joe Pantoliano of "The Sopranos" as a trainer of undercover agents; and "Cold Case," a fourth crime show from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, already responsible for "Without a Trace" and both versions of "CSI."

The former will face NBC's "Boomtown" on Fridays, a night Moonves called "a jump ball" with "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" moving to Tuesdays in the fall.

Moonves expressed hope next season won't be the last for "Everybody Loves Raymond," citing the major payday star-producer Ray Romano just received to continue -- exceeding $1 million per episode -- as a potential incentive for him to stick around.

The executive also said he is "very proud" of the network's "Hitler: The Rise of Evil." The Adolf Hitler miniseries, which premieres Sunday, is a controversial project that led to one of the producers being fired after he referred in an interview to parallels between contemporary America and pre-World War II Germany.

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CBS' fall lineup

New shows are in boldface type; existing shows that are in new time periods are in italic.

Sunday: "60 Minutes," "Cold Case," movie

Monday: "Yes, Dear," "Still Standing," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Two and a Half Men," "CSI: Miami"

Tuesday: "Navy CIS," "The Guardian," "Judging Amy"

Wednesday: "60 Minutes II," "King of Queens," "The Stones," "The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H."

Thursday: "Survivor," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Without a Trace"

Friday: "Joan of Arcadia," "JAG," "The Handler"

Saturday: "48 Hours Investigates," "Hack," "The District"

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