CBS, Pax TV Networks New Schedules

Wednesday, May 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS is sending Bette Midler in to fight ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'' and will retool its Friday and Saturday night lineups in the fall with four new dramas.

Midler's ``The Bette Show'' has the highest profile of the three new CBS comedies, featuring the singer playing a character suspiciously like herself. It's scheduled for 8 p.m. on Wednesdays — opposite ABC's fourth night of ``Millionaire.''

``We're going into the teeth of it with Bette Midler,'' admitted CBS President Leslie Moonves on Wednesday. ``We think we will do OK.''

After watching clips of the upcoming show, advertisers gave it a rousing ovation on Wednesday. ``I'm really looking forward to it,'' Midler said. ``I think we're going to have a sensational time.''

CBS is canceling its long-running medical drama, ``Chicago Hope.'' Three dramas that were on Fridays or Saturdays — ``Martial Law,'' ``Early Edition,'' and ``Now and Again'' — were also canceled. The comedy ``Ladies Man'' was left off the schedule but may make a midseason reappearance.

Bill Cosby is also off CBS's schedule. His ``Cosby'' sitcom has retired and CBS didn't pick up ``Kids Say the Darndest Things,'' which had the comedian as host.

The CBS schedule contains 12 hour-long dramas, with comedies featured only on Monday and Wednesday nights. On Fridays, CBS will air an update of the 1960s action series, ``The Fugitive,'' and a new drama about a team of forensic investigators in Las Vegas.

With ABC and NBC both turning over Saturday nights to movies, CBS will bring back ``Walker, Texas Ranger'' and surround it with two other new dramas. ``That's Life'' is about a New Jersey woman who goes back to college, and ``The District'' is about a Washington police commissioner.

Moonves acknowledged that criticism of the networks for not having enough minority actors in prime-time played a role in CBS's renewal of ``City of Angels,'' a medical drama with a primarily black cast. It will air on Thursday nights.

``If it wasn't good, it wouldn't have been picked up,'' Moonves said. ``I still think it's a very good drama.''

CBS is also shifting the newsmagazine ''48 Hours'' to Thursdays at 8 p.m., and moving ``Diagnosis Murder'' to Thursdays at 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, the fledgling Pax TV network said Wednesday it would introduce three new series later this year. ``Mysterious Ways'' is about a professor driven to uncover the mysteries behind uncanny occurrences, and it co-stars Rae Dawn Chong. ``The Rumfords'' is believed to be the first prime-time series to mix cartoons and live-action comedy. ``Encounters With the Unexplained'' is a reality series that explores some of the mysteries of the universe.

Country star Billy Ray Cyrus will star in ``Doc,'' a series about a country doctor who moves to Manhattan, but it won't debut on Pax until next winter.

Fox and UPN deliver their new schedules on Thursday.

CBS TV Schedule at a Glance

CBS's prime-time schedule for the fall, announced Wednesday:


8 p.m. — ``The King of Queens''

8:30 p.m. — ``Yes, Dear''

9 p.m. — ``Everybody Loves Raymond''

9:30 p.m. — ``Becker''

10 p.m. — ``Family Law''


8 p.m. — ``JAG''

9 p.m. — ''60 Minutes II''

10 p.m. — ``Judging Amy''


8 p.m. — ``The Bette Show''

8:30 p.m. — ``Welcome to New York''

9 p.m. — ``CBS Wednesday Movie''


8 p.m. — ''48 Hours''

9 p.m. — ``City of Angels''

10 p.m. — ``Diagnosis Murder''


8 p.m. — ``The Fugitive''

9 p.m. — ``C.S.I.''

10 p.m. — ``Nash Bridges''


8 p.m. — ``That's Life''

9 p.m. — ``Walker, Texas Ranger''

10 p.m. — ``The District''


7 p.m. — ''60 Minutes''

8 p.m. — ``Touched By an Angel''

9 p.m. — ``CBS Sunday Movie''