Taking Guesses on How New Fall TV Series Will Fare
HERE is a rundown of the new comedy, drama, and adventure series being launched this fall on the three commercial networks. The premiere or preview date in parentheses after the show title is sometimes different from the regular weekly date or time slot, so be sure to consult your local listings.
Following each format description, I offer my general impression of how a few professionals in the field - in advertising agencies, for instance - size up the show's likelihood of ratings success, and therefore of renewal. These thumbnail predictions are not to be mistaken for judgments of quality, and they are light years from being infallible or even highly dependable. They just record some informed guesses. (New fall shows on Fox were discussed here Aug. 27.) ABC
* ``Lois & Clark'' (premieres Sept. 12): An updated take on the pop figures, with Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Superman becoming involved in romantic and action story lines. Mixed predictions.
* ``Phenom'' (premieres Sept. 14): A teenage tennis star and her single-parent mother face career and life questions. Fairly strong prospects for success.
* ``NYPD Blue'' (premieres Sept. 21): A grim police drama by producer Stephen Bochco that uses words not normally heard in prime-time drama and is at times unusually explicit. Even chances.
* ``Moon Over Miamai'' (previews Sept. 15): Romantic comedy set in Miami's South Beach section. Faint hopes.
* ``Thea'' (previews Sept. 15; premieres Sept. 22). Single-parent comedy about an independent-minded African-American mother struggling to hold down jobs and raise four kids. Pretty good odds for this one.
* ``Joe's Life'' (premieres Sept. 22): Comedy about a blue-collar worker, now unemployed, who raises the kids while his wife works. A maybe; reactions somewhat mixed.
* ``Grace Under Fire'' (premieres Sept. 22): The much-used format features a stand-up comedian (Brett Butler) in the title role. She is still another single parent trying to support three kids and maybe get a life. Probable hit.
* ``Missing Persons'' (Sept. 23). Police drama with a reality-show feeling. Future not very bright.
* ``Boy Meets World'' (Sept. 24): An 11-year-old boy and his life. Strong potential.
* ``George'' (premiere to be announced): Former heavyweight champion George Foreman plays a retired boxer who counsels high-school kids. Faint hopes.
* ``The Paula Poundstone Show'' (Oct. 30): A kind of hybrid variety-comedy-talk show starring the title comedian. Tough sledding. CBS
* ``Dave's World'' (Sept. 20.): Harry Anderson (of ``Night Court'') stars as the real-life Dave Barry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper humor columnist. Probable success.
* ``The Trouble With Larry'' (premiered Aug. 25): Comedy about a long-disappeared husband who returns to find his wife has a new husband and children. Not much hope.
* ``The Nanny'' (premiere to be announced): Cosmetics saleswoman becomes a nanny to a Broadway producer's three kids. So-so future.
* ``South of Sunset'' (premiere to be announced): Detective drama about a Los Angeles private eye and his world. Quite a long shot.
* ``Angel Falls'' (premiered Aug. 26): Drama about about a single mother who returns to her hometown to make a new life for herself and her son. Modest prospects.
* ``It Had to Be You'' (previews Sept. 19): Faye Dunaway plays a socialite businesswoman who marries a carpenter. Mixed-to-negative prospects.
* ``Family Album'' (Sept. 24): A married couple and three kids move back to their hometown to be near the kids' grandparents. Faint but not hopeless future.
* ``Harts of the West'' (Sept. 25.): Family comedy-drama starring Beau Bridges as salesman Dave Hart, who moves his family to Nevada to operate a dude ranch. Looks like a winner. NBC
* ``seaQuest DSV'' (Sept. 12.): Stephen Spielberg's futuristic action series about a high-tech submarine and its crew. A maybe.
* ``Saved by the Bell: The College Years'' (Sept. 14.): The Bayside high school students of the Saturday-morning series ``Saved by the Bell'' are now in college. A slight chance.
* ``The John Larroquette Show'' (previewed Sept. 2): A recovering alcoholic becomes manager of a run-down bus depot in St. Louis. Modest chances.
* ``The Second Half'' (premiered Sept. 7): Stand-up comedian John Mendoza stars as a Chicago sports columnist adjusting to life as a divorced father. Fairly good chances.
* ``Frasier'' (Sept. 16.): Kelsey Grammer stays in his ``Cheers'' character as the pompous psychiatrist of the title, but he is now divorced, back in Seattle, and working as a radio-talk-show dispenser of advice. A hit.
* ``Against the Grain'' (previews Sept. 30): Domestic drama about a former high school football star, his closely knit family, and his new job coaching the high school team in a small Texas town. Dim future, despite good material.
* ``Mystery Movie'' (Oct. 22.): Anthology of existing two-hour made-for-TV movie formats. Pretty fair shot.
* ``The Mommies'' (previews Sept. 18): The comedy team of Marilyn Kentz and Caryl Kristensen play neighbors raising kids and facing life in the 1990s. Mixed reactions.
* ``Cafe Americain'' (previews Sept. 18): Valerie Bertinelli plays an American divorcee who moves to Paris and manages a small, colorful cafe. Not much hope.