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'Will & Grace,' 'Dharma & Greg' wage Tuesday night custody battle

We'll destroy them, 'D & G' actress says

September 1, 1999
Web posted at: 3:34 p.m. EDT (1934 GMT)

From Sherri Sylvester
CNN Entertainment News Correspondent

This is the second installment in a five-part series in which we look at plans for each weeknight of the fall television season.

What's new on

ABC: "Once and Again"

CBS: "Judging Amy"

NBC: "Mike O'Malley"

The WB: "Angel"

UPN: "The Strip"

Fox: "Ally"

See what's on the
schedule this fall:


LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- ABC made viewers fall in love with "Dharma & Greg." NBC courted fans with "Will & Grace."

This fall, the honeymoon is over as the couples go head-to-head, forcing loyalists to choose favorites. There may be more messy battles on Tuesday night, as the networks deploy a divide-and-conquer strategy.

ABC packs a one-two punch with "Spin City" and "It's Like, You Know ..." Those comedies are to compete with NBC's "Just Shoot Me" and "3rd Rock From the Sun."

"Spin City" is adding more ammunition, as it brings on Heather Locklear as the new campaign manager. She says it'll be a shift from her previous role as an advertising executive on FOX's "Melrose Place," which ended its eight-year run this year.

"I have to approach my clothes differently as a campaign manager," Locklear says. "I have to know a little more politics, because they'll just write it (the script) and I'll go, 'What does that mean?'"

8 p.m. plans

In the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) slot, the WB's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" gets new competition from FOX's half-hour version of "Ally McBeal" and "That '70s Show." Jane Krakowski, who plays the promiscuous office secretary Elaine Vassal on "Ally," says she has some concern about putting both versions of the show on back-to-back nights.

"I hope that people don't get overexposed with 'Ally McBeal' because it's on Mondays and Tuesdays," she says. "Maybe a few days in between might have been good to cleanse the palate."

Older viewers may stick with the naval drama "JAG" on CBS. UPN is seeking younger viewers with the animated "Dilbert," based on the comic strip that satirizes corporate America. It's also rolling out "Shasta McNasty," a new series about three guys in a hip-hop band. That one is said to be in the "There's Something About Mary" vein.

9 p.m. doubles competition

At 9 p.m., it's the "Will & Grace" face-off against "Dharma & Greg." Mitchell Ryan and Susan Sullivan, who play Greg's parents Edward and Kitty Montgomery, say they're confident their show will prevail.

"'Will & Grace' is a fine show," Ryan says, "but I think we'll hold our own."

"I think we'll destroy them," Sullivan adds.

FOX is trying to continue its ratings bliss from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. with a "Party of Five" wedding. "Charlie and Kristin are going to get married," says Matthew Fox, who plays big brother Charlie Salinger. "They'll be getting married in the first episode of the year."

The WB will try to capitalize on its "Buffy" craze with a spinoff called "Angel." CBS plans to play its powerful "60 Minutes II" card here, while UPN taps its new series "The Strip" with veteran action producer Joel Silver.

At 9:30 p.m., "Sports Night" returns to prime time on ABC, as NBC offers comedian Mike O'Malley in a self-titled show. "It's a show about a guy who's trying to carve out a philosophy for himself," O'Malley says. "It's a guy who's searching for the right way to live."

10 p.m. skirmishes

It may be "Providence" or the success of that series that puts single white females in two new dramas at 10 p.m.

Amy Brenneman and Tyne Daly lead the cast of "Judging Amy."

"CBS does have an older audience," Brenneman says, "so you have the people who can relate to Tyne. But then I think they thought it was sexy and fun to have this younger energy as well."

Sela Ward plays single-and-sexy in "Once and Again," which gets a multiweek tryout in the "NYPD Blue" time slot.

"Here you have a show that actually is really celebrating age," Ward says, "celebrating starting over, celebrating another chapter in one's life."

Something familiar: Monday night fall TV
August 31, 1999
Looking for the next 'Dawson's Creek'
August 5, 1999
TV shows learn fate as networks reshuffle lineups
May 18, 1999
Broadcast networks say they're adjusting racial mixes on shows
July 28, 1999

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