For the new TV season we have . . . more of the same
The three commercial networks have made the preliminary announcements of their new schedules for fall 1984 and the word is: more of the same - 171/2 hours of more of the same.Skip to next paragraph
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Although these spring announcements of fall schedules are subject to much shifting of time slots, substituting of titles, changes in story-line direction, and even total disappearance before the September debuts, the fact is that early announcements pretty much herald the general direction viewers can expect in the television year ahead.
ABC, which announced first, will be presenting eight new series, totaling 61/ 2 hours.
CBS, with a first place for the current season, was second to announce: five new series totaling 31/2 hours, the smallest new-season total of hours in recent CBS programming history. Well, when you're No. 1 . . . .
NBC, the last to announce, and the last in the ratings race this year, has scheduled nine new shows, totaling 71/2 hours.
Here's a quick rundown of the new shows that have been announced. But bear in mind that by the time the new season starts in late September, everything, including the title, concept, and stars, may have gone through a metamorphosis that could turn caterpillar into butterfly . . . or, more likely, vice versa.
2 ONE-HOUR DRAMA SERIES:
* Cover Up (Saturdays, 10-11 p.m.). Two private investigators (he, a former Special Forces officer and she, the widow of a murdered intelligence officer) form a private investigation team. The big switch is this: They pose as a model and fashion-photographer team and he is the model. Well, in prime-time entertainment television that constitutes a Big Switch.
* Murder, She Wrote (Sundays, 8-9 p.m.). A celebrated mystery writer named Agatha . . . sorry, Jessica Fletcher, played by Angela Lansbury, has a penchant for solving crimes. She gets involved in bizarre situations that occur all over America, and she's helped by a chain of cross-country relatives. Our heroine, however, like her Miss Marple prototype, lives in a small coastal village - but in Maine rather than Devonshire.
3 HALF-HOUR SITCOMS:
* E.R. (Tuesdays, 8:30-9 p.m.) stands for Emergency Room, and you can guess what it's all about - Elliott Gould is a doctor and Conchata Ferrell a nurse in a Chicago hospital. Comedy and tragedy share the same ward on the night shift. This one emerges from the Norman Lear Embassy production center, so there's always a chance it will somehow prove to be innovative.
* Charles in Charge (Wednesdays, 8-8:30 p.m.) stars Scott Baio as a college student who serves as a live-in family helper to three frenetic teens and pre-teeners. It's a Scholastic Production, so maybe there will prove to be a little teen sensitivity. But count on lots of adolescent problem-solving, mixed in with lots of music - both loud.
* Dreams (Wednesdays, 8:30-9 p.m.). Five Philadelphians struggle for success as a rock band. By day, they work at blue-collar jobs; at night they play in Uncle Frank's nightclub. The producers plan to integrate lots of music in rock video style. So be prepared for sometimes irrational sound-and-image inserts. And keep one hand on the volume dial - if not on the off switch.
6 ONE-HOUR DRAMA SERIES:
* Streethawk (Mondays, 9-9 p.m.). Rock star Rex Smith plays a motorcycle cop recruited by the federal government to fight crime, riding the world's fastest cycle, ''Streethawk,'' which is equipped with supersophisticated weapons. This show, however, is not for the supersophisticated.
* Paper Dolls (Tuesdays, 9-10 p.m.). Rich and powerful people fight to control the glamorous and competitive world of high fashion. Morgan Fairchild and Lloyd Bridges star in this series, a spinoff from an ABC Movie for Television. Ugliness in the world of beauty.
* Jessie (Tuesdays, 10-11 p.m.). Lindsay Wagner (you remember, the Bionic Woman) plays a police psychiatrist. Except for her ''old fashioned'' mother, Celeste Holm, you can guess the rest.
* Glitter (Thursdays, 9-10 p.m.). That's the name of a celebrity-oriented magazine that probes glamour with David Birney and Morgan Brittany as reporters. Sounds as if it will have just about as much depth as People magazine.
* Honolulu Run (Fridays, 10-11 p.m.). Two street cops from Chicago start a new life in Hawaii as, you guessed it, private detectives. Well, at least there'll be lots of sand and surf scenes.
* Finder of Lost Loves (Saturdays, 10-11 p.m.). This one is a switch - detective Tony Franciosa, instead of finding grounds for divorce, dedicates his life to reuniting separated people. Producers could save on script money by simply reversing story lines of most TV detective-agency cases.
2 HALF-HOUR COMEDIES
* People Do the Craziest Things (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m.). Still another ''reality based'' series. Bert Convy hosts this new one, which sounds like a combination of ''Real People'' and ''Candid Camera.'' The genre, however, seems to be on its last legs. Enough!