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September 06, 2001 - Image 9

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Writing for life ...
Anyone interested in writing for
Daily Arts, be sure to come out to
the mass meetings next week on
Tuesday and Thursday, 7 p.m.
michigandaily.com /arts

ARTS

THURSDAY
SEPTEMBER 6, 2001

9A

FANTASTIC FALL FEATURE

Networks spend the big bucks for TV
shows, Hollywood stars as season begins

By Jennifer Fogel
Daily Arts Editor

Break out the finger exercises, couch potatoes, because
the fall television season is finally upon us. It is time once
more to forego the threatening sea of summer re-runs and
network leftovers to wade through a whole mess of new
shows among our returning favorites. Almost thirty new
shows are making their first appearance on the fall sched-
ule and it's clear they aren't all going to last through the
season. Does anyone even remember "Tucker?" Didn't
think so.
But after an entire summer where cable basically kicked
the life out of the big networks, the Powers That Be must
have gotten together and decided to spend the big bucks.
Why else would A-fist movie stars like Richard Dreyfuss,
Sally Field, Kiefer Sutherland and Lou Diamond Phillips
settle for the small screen. OK, so maybe the last two don't
count, but after taking a long look at the fall season it is
definitely clear that Hollywood as taken over television.
Diane Keaton is producing "Pasadena," while University
alum Adam Herz ("American Pie") brings us the college
comedy "Undeclared." ABC's "Alias" is a Gen-Y rip-off of
"Le Femme Nikita" (both the movie and the now defunct
TV show.), another "Star Trek" spin-off graces our televi-
sion screens in UPN's "Enterprise" and the WB tries anoth-
er spin on Superman with "Smallville." s
Of course, we also can't forget the resurgence of reality
TV Not only will "Survivor: Africa" premiere in October,
but all six of the networks are pulling out varying versions
of real TV to compete and hopefully duplicate the success
} of "Survivor." Plus, some network hopping has left UPN
picking up the WB's leftovers as "Buffy the Vampire Slay-
er" and "Roswell" leave their teen network to hit it big on a
network only WWF fans are watching.
All this grand excitement begs the question: Are the net-
works spending money oh good shows or good talent?
Looking at HBO's past endeavors it's clear that it is possi-
ble to have both, i.e. "Sex in the City," "Six Feet Under"
and this fall's "Band of Brothers." But whether or not the
networks actually get it right this season will be up to you,
the viewing public. So for your reading pleasure, here is a

simple introduction to the fall television season for all six
of the major networks.
The WB: After losing the burgeoning network's first big
hit "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the WB has decided to
infuse more half-hour comedies into the line-up. Unfortu-
nately, half of them seem to cater more to the teen crowd
than to the college crowd, focusing on-single parent fami-
lies. Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) returns to TV with "Rais-
ing Dad" and Reba McEntire gets her own show ironically
named "Reba." The WB is obviously hoping to bring in a
different crowd along with fans of returning favorites.
Relationships also seem to be a big theme as "Off Centre,"
"Men, Women & Dogs" and "ElimiDate" all focus on dat-
ing. "ElimiDate" is the WB's new reality show, and if you
can't get the gist from the name, just think "Survivor"
meets "Blind Date." THE ONE TO wATCH: The WB's saving
grace isn't from the college 'Creekers but "Smallville," fea-
turing a coming of age Clark Kent, who just happens to be
friends with his future archenemy, Lex Luthor.
UPN: Still reeling from last place in the network race,
UPN is hoping to draw in the female and teen crowds by
acquiring "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Roswell," and
adding a single dad comedy "One on One." Losing "Star
Trek: Voyager" doesn't seem so big since there is already
another proverbial bun in the oven with the Scott Bakula-
driven "Enterprise" which, oddly enough, is set 150 years
BEFORE the original "Star Trek" movie. BITTERSWEET VIC-
TORY: UPN may have scored a two-fer from the WB, but
the networks have already given it a "Smackdown."
ABC: Finally, ABC has smartened up and lowered the
Regis volume. Now they actually have to put TV shows on!
Taking the place of Regis is Jason Alexander as a guru with
a bad home life in "Bob Patterson," Uncle Jessie (John Sta-
mos) as a government-hired thief in "Thieves"- and Jim
Belushi in the family comedy "According to Dad" Also,
Kim Delaney switches from Steven Bochco's cop drama
"NYPD Blue" to Bochco's lawyer drama "Philly." Damon
Wayans and Joan Cusack-led comedies "My Wife & Kids"
and "What About Joan" will also return, along with a new
"The Mole" challenge. THE ONE TO WATCH: "Felicity" cre-
ator J.J. Abrams brings the "Le Femme Nikita"-esque
"Alias" to ABC. Murder, intrigue and another female ass-

kicker, what more could you ask for?
CBS: After another high ratings year, CBS may just have
what it takes to lead the Big Three. Additions to the lineup
include three Oscar winners (Richard Dreyfuss and Marcia
Gay Harden in "The Education of Max Bickford" and
James Cromwell in "Citizen Baines") and Emmy winner
Ellen DeGeneres in "The Ellen Show." Tim Matheson
("The West Wing") and Gil Bellows ("Ally McBeal") do
some network hopping and move up to lead actor status in
their respective dramas "Wolf Lake" and "The Agency."
Keeping with their move from the "old person's network"
to that of a highly rated one, CBS is hoping to bring in
more viewers with their family friendly' shows. "The
Guardian," "Citizen Baines" and "Danny" all feature some
aspect of a male figure dealing with kid issues, whereas last
year it was a female figure dealing with kid issues. HIT OR
Miss: Too busy promoting another "Survivor" due out in
October, CBS may fail to father its new lineup, making it
very evident that the oldies will always be the goodies.
However, like last season's breakout hit "C.S.I.: Crime
Scene Investigators," C.I.A. thriller "The Agency" stands to
make a great first impression.
FOX: With "Beverly Hills: 90210" finally graduated to
syndication hell and Mulder officially M.I.A. from "The X-
Files" can Fox finally be free of stale television? Unless the
addition of James Marsden ("X-Men") can breathe life
back into "Ally McBeal" it might be too late. Fortunately,
Fox has a stellar returning crew with "Boston Public,"
"That '70s Show" and of course "The Simpsons." Unfortu-
nately, viewers still have to deal with reality schlock "Love
Cruise" and "Temptation Island 2." THINGS TO WATCH
BESIDES "THE SIMPSONS:" "American Pie" creator Adam
Herz brings a scaled down version of "American Pie 2" to
television with the college comedy "Undeclared." Mean-
while Kiefer Sutherland stars in the C.I.A. thriller -yes,
CBS also has one - "24" where each of the episodes
unfold in real time. Hopefully the show will last 24 hours!
NBC: You heard it here folks: This will be the last season
the "Friends" will have together. A collective sigh goes
here! But before we say our goodbyes, we should say hello
to some interesting new shows. Fear of an impending Holly-
wood strike gave Dick Wolf plenty of motivation to create
another "Law & Order" series. This time "Law & Order:
Criminal Intent" takes its cue from the criminal's perspec-
tive. If that doesn't suit your rebel instincts, "U.C.: Under-
cover" would be more than happy to take you to the depths
of undercover crime fighting. If that's not enough, you could
spend some time in the kitchen with "Emeril," on the streets
with a medical examiner in "Crossing Jordan" or with some
hospital interns in the screwball comedy "Scrubs." HE
SCORES: It may come off as "Ally McBeal" for the male per-
suasion, but "Inside Schwartz" seems the most promising
of season. Of course having a prime network spot will also
helps - "Jessie" was on for more than one season!

Courtesy of ABC
(TOP)"Fellclty" alum, Jennifer Gardner, stars In the "Le
Femme Nikta" rip-off "Alias," (BOTTOM) while Kim Delaney
and Tom Evertt Scott get legal in "Philly."

'1

Breckin Meyer (LEFT) stars in the male, sports-themed versior of "Ally McBeal" in NBC's "Inside Schwartz," while Jill
Hennessy ditches her law degree from "Law & Order" for a Medical Examiner's liscense in "Crossing Jordan."

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HOW GENEROUS CAN WE BE?
HOW MUCH
DO YOU LOVE PASTA?
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Right now at Olive Garden, you can enjoy all kinds o
delicious pastas, all you want.
Because for a short time, we're offering our Never Er
Pasta Bowl for just $7.95 for a limited time.
So come, pick the pastas you love.
And enjoy a taste of generosity this Italian can't
wait to share with you.

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nding

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