Nets unveil 38 new shows for season

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On the parched island of network television, only one in 12 shows has a chance of succeeding, according to TV programming executives. For next season's 38 new shows, that works out to only 3.2 survivors.

Early thumbs-up go to CBS's "CSI" spinoff show, "CSI: Miami," starring David Caruso, The WB's "Everwood," with Treat Williams as a disillusioned doctor, and NBC's 1950s period piece "American Dreams," according to an informal survey of advertising executives. On the comedy side, the hope is for ABC's "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," starring John Ritter, and CBS's working-class comedy "Still Standing."

As networks go, Viacom's CBS could be the most likely candidate to improve, according to advertising executives, especially in the 18-49 demographic. Fox stands to improve as well.

crime and justice

Three of CBS's four new dramas, including "CSI: Miami," are crime/justice related, which forced Stacey Lynn Koerner, senior VP-program analysis at Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media North America, New York, to remark: "It's seems like they are the justice and crime network."

Trying to recover from substantial ratings drops this year, Fox added another David E. Kelly show, this one called "Girls Club," about three lawyers in San Francisco, to follow its other Kelly show, "Boston Public." "They have strengthened their Monday night," said John Rash, senior VP-director and broadcast negotiations for Interpublic's Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis.

NBC changed very little in its lineup. Choosing to be conservative, it is launching only five new shows. The conservatism extended to its always-troubled 8:30 p.m. Thursday slot, where, instead of putting in a new show, the network chose to run this season's strong rookie program "Scrubs" behind "Friends."

Humbled ABC executives made bold efforts to link the network with strong family comedies. But beyond the network's "8 Simple Rules" on Tuesday, advertising executives said there was little to crow about. "Do they have to have every [sitcom] be the same," asked Jon Mandel, co-managing director, Grey Global Group's MediaCom, New York. "They went to excess with it."

Advertising agency analysts had good things to say about some dramas for the AOL Time Warner's WB and Viacom's UPN. `"Everwood' looks like a great companion piece to `7th Heaven,"' said Shari Ann Brill, senior VP-program analysis for Aegis Group's Carat North America, New York, concerning WB, "and `Haunted' looks like a great companion piece to `Buffy' [for UPN]."

contributing: david goetzl

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