CBS adds five new dramas, two comedies to prime-time schedule this fall

Wednesday, May 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ CBS will add two new comedies and five new dramas to its schedule in the fall, including a spinoff of the red-hot ``CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'' set in Miami and starring David Caruso.

Four of the new dramas are variations on cop or investigation shows, and another is a medical show created by original ``ER'' producers John Wells and Lydia Woodward.

The network is cancelling ``Family Law,'' ``First Monday'' and ``The Education of Max Bickford.'' The comedy ``Baby Bob'' will return in midseason.

Two shows thought to be on the fence for returning, ``Touched By an Angel'' and ``The Agency,'' will be on CBS' Saturday night schedule.

CBS has been a solid No. 2 behind NBC this television season. With ABC and Fox having off years, CBS is also No. 2 in the lucrative 18-to-49-year-old demographic that advertisers crave, its best showing in nine years.

Trying again to establish another night for comedies besides Monday, CBS is moving ``Becker'' to Sundays. It will be paired with a new comedy, ``Bram and Alice,'' about a novelist and a devoted fan who suddenly learn they are father and daughter.

The network is also trying to bolster its lineup of dramas in the 10 p.m. time slot, and has scheduled new ones for four of the five weeknights. Before re-signing with CBS, David Letterman complained that the network's weakness in that hour cost him viewers later in the night.

The 70-year-old Dan Rather is reducing his workload by quitting as host of ''48 Hours,'' CBS President Leslie Moonves said. The show will be renamed ''48 Hours Investigates,'' and no new host has been named.

Besides ``Bram and Alice,'' CBS' new shows are:

_``CSI: Miami,'' which stars former ``NYPD Blue'' actor Caruso leading a group of forensics investigators. The spinoff was set up on an episode of ``CSI: Crime Scene Investigation'' last week.

_``Presidio Med,'' the medical drama, which stars Blythe Danner among a group of doctors in a San Francisco practice. It competes directly on Wednesdays against a new medical drama on ABC, also set in San Francisco.

_``Without a Trace,'' starring Anthony LaPaglia, a drama about the missing person's squad in the FBI.

_``Hack,'' which stars David Morse and Andre Braugher, a drama about an ex-cop turned taxi driver who seeks redemption after a fall from grace.

_``RHD/LA,'' a drama about robbery and homicide detectives in the Los Angeles Police Department, starring Tom Sizemore.

_``Still Standing,'' a blue-collar comedy about a Chicago couple trying to raise three children.

This is the week when all of the broadcast networks are presenting their fall schedules to advertisers.

On Wednesday, struggling ABC announced that it is remaking its schedule every weeknight and is leaving ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,'' once the hottest show on TV, off its regular schedule.