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ABC COMEDIES ARE GAGGING DRAMAS BY BUFFALO WRITERS

CATCHING UP on the headlines:
Buffalo Connection Shut Out by ABC: Buffalo writer-producers David Milch and Patrick Hasburgh didn't find ABC's new fall schedule a laughing matter.

ABC didn't include their new shows on its conservative schedule. Milch and Hasburgh created hour dramas at the same time ABC decided to become the unofficial Comedy Network.

Only two of ABC's nine new fall shows were dramas. ABC's 16 comedies next fall are the most carried by any network.

ABC made "Capital News," Milch's series set inside a newspaper, a midseason backup. Hasburgh feels his proposed new series "The Kids Are All Right" has a remote chance to be a backup.

"They had no place to put it on the schedule," said Hasburgh. "I'm very disappointed because I think the project is good."

He feels the show lost key support when Brandon Stoddard resigned as ABC Entertainment president and was replaced by Robert Iger. Iger, however, gave Hasburgh a commitment to create a different show for midseason.

"At least then I'll be developing the show with the guys who decide things," said Hasburgh.

Hasburgh also is producing shows for NBC, CBS, Fox and Disney. NBC said he is one of the "outstanding writer-producers providing recurring segments" of the Disney Sunday night movie wheel.

Tom Fontana also was disappointed when his latest comedy series, "Nick & Hillary," was canceled by NBC. But that show -- it began as the hour drama "Tattinger's" -- has had so many lives it wouldn't be surprising if Lifetime cable tried to rescue it, as it did last year with "Molly Dodd."

Fontana's proposed NBC fall series set in pre-Revolutionary War times, "1761," has been put on hold because of budget problems. From the looks of all the network schedules, this is hardly the time for anything revolutionary.

Fox "Jumps" to Mondays on Channel 49: "21 Jump Street," the Fox Broadcasting hit co-created by Hasburgh, will move to Monday nights when Fox switches from Channel 29 to Channel 49 next fall.

Fox is using its first hit series as the lead-in for "Alienation," a new series based on "Alien Nation," a recent James Caan science fiction movie. That flick is receiving a home video promotion on television.

Fox is expanding its programming to three nights a week next fall. The move of "Jump Street" means it will battle NBC's "ALF" and "The Hogan Family," ABC's "MacGyver," and two new CBS sitcoms, "Major Dad" and "The People Next Door."

The move is a gamble for Fox because "Jump Street" gave its other Sunday shows a strong lead-in. "Booker," a spinoff of "Jump Street," will air at 7 p.m. Sundays. In the "Jump Street" season premiere, Booker (Richard Grieco) will "risk his life and job to exonerate rival cop Tom Hanson (Johnny Deep) and will join a high-risk, high-rent security outfit."

"Booker" will be one of three new Sunday night Fox shows. At 8:30, Fox will air "Hidden Video," a modern "Candid Camera." At 9:30, Alison LaPlaca stars in "Open House" (a revised version of "Duet") as "vain, self-centered, money-hungry and utterly ruthless -- in short, the perfect real estate agent."

Or network executive.

"America's Most Wanted," "Married . . . With Children," "The Tracey Ullman Show" and "It's Garry Shandling's Show" all return on Sunday night.

Fox has renewed its Saturday night lineup -- "Cops," "The Reporters" and "Beyond Tomorrow." Channel 49 may play those series on other nights because it often televises Buffalo Sabres games on Saturday night.

Incidentally, although WNYB-TV doesn't officially become a Fox affiliate until Sept. 1, it carried Fox's "American's Most Wanted," "Married . . . With Children" and "The Tracey Ullman Show" last Sunday because WUTV pre-empted them to air a 1986 NBC miniseries "The Deliberate Stranger."

Penny Daniels in National Spotlight: Remember the former Channel 7 anchor and reporter? Daniels is the host of "Inside Report," a local investigative news show in Miami that will be syndicated nationally next fall. MCA-TV, the distributors, took out a two-page advertisement for the show in Broadcasting Magazine, a trade publication.

Channel 4 is Closed-Captioning News: Starting June 5, WIVB-TV is closed-captioning its 6 p.m. newscasts for the hearing impaired. Viewers will need a decoder to read the news. Channel 4 Program Director Ron Gates believes only 36 stations nationally are closed-captioning local news.

Finally: So, CBS is going to give us a 3 1/2 -minute synopsis of the missing minutes in the "Dallas" season finale tonight. Why not do it right? Take five minutes and recap the entire season.

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