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ABC, WB set fall premiere dates


© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 9, 2001

Want to turn a regular ol' returning show into a TV event this fall?

Just stretch it out.

At least that seems to be the lesson in debut schedules released Wednesday by the WB and ABC, including elongated season premiere episodes for The Practice, Gilmore Girls, Charmed, Dharma and Greg, Spin City and My Wife and Kids.

Under the new schedules, Charmed and Gilmore Girls return to new episodes with two-hour premieres on the WB on Sept. 27 and Oct. 9, respectively (Scream star Rose McGowan also debuts as Shannen Doherty's replacement on Charmed). ABC hands The Practice a two-hour debut Sept. 23, and half-hour comedies Dharma and Spin City return with hourlong episodes Sept. 18.

Damon Wayans' My Wife and Kids also gets an hourlong debut on ABC on Sept. 18. (All the network's hourlong comedy debuts likely will feature two half-hour episodes aired seamlessly back-to-back, according to an ABC spokeswoman.)

About half of ABC's shows debut the week of Sept. 17, when the fall season officially begins. Exceptions include a Sept. 25 start for Joan Cusack's What About Joan and Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander's Bob Patterson; a Sept. 26 premiere for Jim Belushi's According to Jim, The Drew Carey Show and Denis Leary's The Job; and a commercial-free debut of the spy drama Alias on Sept. 30 that will last 66 minutes.

At the WB, executives totally avoided the Sept. 17 week, debuting their Friday comedy block (including Reba McEntire's Reba and Bob Saget's Raising Dad) Sept. 14.

The network's Monday shows, 7th Heaven and Angel, return Sept. 24; Dawson's Creek and Felicity come back Oct. 3; the Sunday comedy block (including The Steve Harvey Show) debuts Oct. 7; and the highly anticipated Superboy series, Smallville, debuts last, on Oct. 16.

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