Small screen, fall screen

Sep 13, 2000 at 12:00 am
Just as the thought of another sandy “Survivor” rerun turns from reliving the fantasy to unbearably droll, the networks gear up for fall TV season 2000 — ready for new shows, new faces and complete overhauls. Of course, “Survivor,” a real-TV mix of “The Real World” and “Gilligan’s Island,” earned its teetering spot on the top of the Nielsen ratings fair and square. But, let’s face it; One more diatribe on homosexuals from that Rudy guy would be anything but fresh.

And when in search of prime-time freshness, look first to the WB on Channel 20. The youth-geared network that launched the definitive high school soap, “Dawson’s Creek,” then packed in a little extra sensitivity and sent it off to college (“Felicity”), is bringing on the adolescence again with “Grosse Pointe.”

This true-to-life teen series stars Irene Molloy and comes from the makers of “Beverly Hills 90210.” Whether or not good-looking rich kids from yet another affluent suburb will succeed in glamorizing various aspects of the adolescent identity crisis in the cellular-phone-toting, Rodeo-Drive-shopping manner of its predecessor remains to be seen. But it sure does have one big pair of Gucci pumps to fill. Watch for the debut on Sept. 22, and on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. thereafter.

For comic relief amid all the drama and emotional chaos, tune in to the aptly named “Hype,” a prime-time comedy sketch show that will attempt whatever it was “In Living Color” was trying to do back when — although nobody remembers what that was.

Anyway, the new show aims its parody and wit at American pop culture, yada, yada, yada. It is the creation of former “Mad TV” writers Scott King, Lanier Laney and Terry Sweeney. Watch for it on Oct. 8 and Sundays at 9 p.m. on Channel 20.

For more serious, grown-up stuff, switch to ABC (Channel 7) every Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. to catch “The Geena Davis Show.” The title is a bit deceptive, as the lanky diva isn’t hosting a talk show. Instead, she makes a surprising move from the big screen to play Teddie, a career woman whose life changes dramatically when she becomes involved with a single dad named Max, played by Peter Horton (ex-”thirtysomething”). Watching Teddie adjust from fast-paced corporate life to a seminormal home life will be the focus of this sitcom.

Davis isn’t the only big actress putting her name and face on a TV show this fall. Check out “Bette” on CBS Channel 62 every Wednesday at 8 p.m. Bette Midler — as herself — promises to pull out all the stops on the self-effacing, quirky comedy — and she may even burst into song once in a while.

CBS will also revive the 1960s action series “The Fugitive.” In this version, Tim Daly plays Dr. Richard Kimble, a man falsely accused of murdering his wife (basically the same story played out in the box office hit starring Harrison Ford). Each episode finds Kimble on the run trying to evade police investigators and track down the real killer. Watch for it Fridays at 8 p.m.

If that isn’t enough to scare you, try “Freakylinks” on Fox 2. The brainchild of Gregg Hale, producer of The Blair Witch Project, the series strays from the beaten path with bizarre episodes about a group of techies on the trail of strange happenings on the Internet. Freaky, indeed. There’s even a Web site for viewers at The show premieres on Oct. 6 and airs on Fridays at 9 p.m.

Straight from the back of a TLC CD jacket comes the ensemble cast of “Girlfriends” on UPN’s Channel 50. Co-produced by Kelsey Grammer, the show appears to feature four very attractive young African-American women — Tracee Ellis Ross (“Hanging Up”), Golden Brooks (“Linc’s”), Jill Jones (“America’s Dream”) and Persia White — posing under the category “comedy.” We’ll see. It airs on Mondays at 9:30 p.m.

Putting a little extra testosterone into the mix, Channel 50 offers up “Level Nine,” an action-adventure series about a top-secret government organization by the same name. Level Nine’s mission is to maintain national security against high-tech crimes and terrorism. Let’s hope they can keep cyber crime interesting for an entire season, as its time slot puts it up against “Freakylinks” on Fox. Level Nine premieres on Oct. 27. Norene Cashen writes about TV and other attention grabbers for the Metro Times. E-mail her at [email protected]