Just 7 new shows get passing marks

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Only seven of the 26 new series scheduled by the Big 3 networks for the 1995-96 prime-time season received passing grades, according to an Advertising Age composite of preliminary agency share estimates. Assuming a passing grade is something greater than the 18-plus share average for the 1994-95 prime-time season, ABC's "Hudson Street" (22 share) and "Wilde Again" (23); CBS' "Almost Perfect" (19) and "Can't Hurry Love" (19); and NBC's "Pursuit of Happiness" (19), "The Single Guy" (23) and "Caroline in the City" (25) all will perform better than the prime-time average this season. Four borderline shows with projected 18 shares are ABC's "Murder One" and CBS' "Bless This House," "The Client" and "If Not For You." Among the new prime-time series on Fox, only "The Preston Episodes" and "Too Something," with a 12 share each, are considered as deserving passing grades, with most others borderline.

break into 2 companies
Promus Cos. took a major step toward splitting into two companies when shareholders overwhelmingly approved the move at the company's annual meeting May 26. Promus will become Harrah's Entertainment Co. and operate Harrah's casinos. A new company, Promus Hotels Corp., will operate Hampton Inn, Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites. Shareholders will receive one share of the new hotel company for each two shares of Promus they own.

investigates sale
Soft Sheen Products, the nation's largest African-American-owned haircare company, has hired investment banker CS First Boston to explore a possible sale of the company, Crain's Chicago Business reported. Those familiar with the arrangement say the $97.2 million company is examining other financial alternatives, but an outright sale is seen as the most likely outcome for the family-owned company. Possible suitors include Alberto-Culver Co. and Revlon.

way out
Insiders at Cahners Publishing Co. said Michael Wisner, senior VP-publishing director of the computer/electronics group, is out as of May 31. The move has sparked renewed speculation that parent company Reed Elsevier might be getting ready to spin off all or parts of Cahners. A Cahners spokesman offered "no comment" on Mr. Wisner's status and denied any part of the company is in play.

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