ABC officially canceled the beloved but low-rated “My So-Called Life” and hoped to fend off hard-charging NBC by moving “Roseanne” to the 8 p.m. anchor position on Tuesdays as the network announced its 1995-96 prime-time schedule on Tuesday.
The new slate includes eight new series - five comedies and three dramas - and just two returning news-magazines with the surprise axing of “Day One.”
While the bouncing of “My So-Called Life” can hardly be seen as unexpected, the teen-angst drama had inspired a powerful cult following and a loyalty that sprouted a save-the-show campaign on the computer Internet. But in the end, its microscopic ratings spelled its demise.
One reason ABC reportedly decided not to renew “My So-Called Life” was word that Claire Danes, the actress who starred in the show as Angela Chase, had expressed a desire not to return to the show and that ABC was aware she likely wouldn’t be back.
Also given their pink slips Tuesday were the long-running dramas “Matlock” and “The Commish” as well as “Full House,” “AllAmerican Girl,” “Sister, Sister,” “Me and the Boys,” “Extreme” and “Thunder Alley.”
Only a single ABC series that premiered this past season - the drama “The Marshal” - is returning next season, a stark contrast to NBC’s five freshman shows given renewals.
The network moved five shows to new time periods for next fall, headed by the switching of “Roseanne” from 9 p.m. Wednesdays (where it was moved last season to get away from NBC’s “Frasier”) to 8 p.m. Tuesdays opposite NBC’s “Wings.”
“Roseanne” again will air the same night as “Home Improvement” (9 p.m.), separated on Tuesdays by the new Tony Danza comedy “Hudson Street.”
Curiously, ABC also opted to reschedule its long-running “Coach” to the post-“Home Improvement” slot (9:30 p.m.) rather than use the prize position behind ABC’s top-rated show to launch a new series, as is customary.
The other big move was pushing “Ellen” back to 8 p.m. Wednesdays from its former 9:30 perch as ABC premieres two new comedies on the night: “The Drew Carey Show” starring stand-up comedian Drew Carey at 8:30 and “Wilde Again” featuring Tea Leoni (formerly of Fox’s “Flying Blind”) at 9:30 after “Grace Under Fire.”
ABC appears to be more or less conceding Thursdays to NBC, slotting three new dramas. One of those is “Murder One,” which follows a single murder trial throughout the season. It’s from producer Steven Bochco (“Hill Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue), and ABC is doing him no favors by slating his show at 10 p.m. opposite the hottest new series to come along in decades: NBC’s “ER.”
That’ll teach him to sign with CBS.
The new ABC shows feature such stars as Danza, Carey, comedian Jeff Foxworthy, William Devane, Mark Harmon, Marie Osmond and Betty White.
The new comedies are:
“Hudson Street,” starring Danza as a divorced police detective who gets romantic with an idealistic crime reporter (Lori Loughlin).
“The Drew Carey Show,” casting the crewcut comic (last seen in NBC’s short-lived “The Good Life”) as one of a working-class ensemble of friends struggling to stay romantically and financially afloat.
“Wilde Again,” with Leoni as a onetime photojournalist and socialite forced to get a job as a tabloid photographer covering the rich and famous.
“Maybe This Time,” starring Osmond as a divorced mom struggling to survive and meet Mr. Right while living with her mom (White) and daughter (Ashley Johnson).
“Somewhere in America,” featuring standup Foxworthy as a happily married father of two who likes to amuse his friends and family.
The three new dramas - all running on Thursday - are:
“Charlie Grace,” starring Harmon as a tough-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside cop turned private eye who shares his life with a 12-year-old daughter (Leelee Sobieski).
“The Monroes,” featuring Devane as the patriarch of a large, wealthy, rambunctious and powerful family with political aspirations. Does the name Kennedy come to mind? It should.
“Murder One,” Bochco’s drama that follows a single murder trial throughout the season and features unknowns Daniel Benzali and Stanley Tucchi.
The 1995-96 ABC prime-time schedule follows:
Monday: “ABC’s NFL Monday Night Football” (6 p.m.) and “The Marshal” (10 p.m.)
Tuesday: “Roseanne” (8 p.m.), “Hudson Street” (new series, 8:30), “Home Improvement” (9 p.m.), “Coach” (9:30) and “NYPD Blue” (10 p.m.)
Wednesday: “Ellen” (8 p.m.), “The Drew Carey Show” (new series, 8:30), “Grace Under Fire” (9 p.m.), “Wilde Again” (new series, 9:30) and “PrimeTime Live”(10 p.m.)
Thursday: “Charlie Grace” (new series, 8 p.m.), “The Monroes” (new series, 9 p.m.) and “Murder One” (new series, 10 p.m.)
Friday: “Family Matters” (8 p.m.), “Boy Meets World” (8:30), “Step by Step” (9 p.m.), “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” (9:30) and “20/20” (10 p.m.)
Saturday: “Maybe This Time” (new series, 8 p.m.), “Somewhere in America” (new series, 8:30) and “The ABC Family Movie” (9 p.m.)
Sunday: “America’s Funniest Home Videos Hour” (7 p.m.), “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” (8 p.m.) and “The ABC Sunday Night Movie” (9 p.m.)