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Fall TV season goes back to the future

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Bob Moon: If it's the first week in September, must be a new TV season and time for our regular look at show biz. Stuart Levine of Variety is joining us. And there still is a fall TV season?

Stuart Levine: The cable shows do launch at different times during the year, a lot of stuff in the summer, whenever they see a hole in the programming and they want to fill that. But broadcast has traditionally and they continue to mostly launch in the fall.

Moon: I think a lot of the buzz I've been hearing is about "90210." I thought that show died a long time ago.

Levine: It did, but it seems to have a nice rebirth. CW, one of the smaller networks, launched it again this week, and it got great numbers for it. They also had a nice launch with the second season of "Gossip Girl." So, CW, which is a network that was formed a couple of years ago, is off to a pretty good start this year. There was talk that if it didn't do well, that network might not be around in the next few years, but as of right now, they're looking pretty good.

Moon: How about the traditional three-letter networks?

Levine: ABC has a show called "Life on Mars," which is an import from the BBC, which co-stars Michael Imperioli, who is from the Sopranos, so that might get some interest. CBS has a really funny comedy called "Worst Week," which I think is gonna get really good play; I think the reviews are going be really, really strong for that. And NBC, I'd say, of all the networks, theirs are the shows that I think are the most questionable. Talk about "90210," shows that have died and are coming back again, they're redoing "Night Rider," so we'll see how that does. And they have Christian Slater, who's more of a movie star, is coming to TV for "My Own Worst Enemy." So, I think all those shows, we'll see how they go.

Moon: This time last year, we were all concerned about the writers' strike. That having any after effects?

Levine: Well, the after effects it's having is that a lot of the pilots that should have already been seen at this point, haven't even been seen by network executives and even critics. Nobody's seen "Night Rider." Nobody's seen "My Own Worst Enemy." "Life on Mars," I don't even know if the pilot's actually been even completed yet. So, I think that's where the writers' strike effect is coming into play. Whether that works again for the networks or against them, probably too soon to say.

Moon: No news is good news, right?

Levine: Could be.

Moon: Stuart Levine assistant managing editor of Variety, thanks for coming in.

Levine: Thank you.

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