ABC announced a fall prime-time schedule yesterday which contains six new programs, all of them comedies, and revealed that the plug will be pulled on "Bionic Woman," who will go the way of all plastics.
"Bionic Woman," the fifth most popular show in its premiere season two years ago, slipped to the teens in the Nielsen ratings this year.
"Here batteries are running out," quipped Fred Silverman, ABC entertainment president, in explaining the programming changes to 500 representatives of major advertising agencies in the grand ballroom of the New York Hilton.
The fall season will also see the debut of "The Company," a 10-episode series set in Washington and based on John Ehrlichman's novel. It will star Jason Robards as a president in many ways reminiscent of Richard M. Nixon.
ABC is the network that ran away with the ratings this past season, so it is noteworthy tht all the new programs are comedies in half-hour and hour forms. Said Silverman, "This is the first time in memory that a network has introduced exclusively comedic form programs in its new fall schedule."
The new shows:
"Soap" - A prime-time soap opera about two upper-middle-class families in Connecticut. Silverman claims this satirical comedy-drama could become the most talked about show of the new season.
"Carter Country" - A Southern version of "Barney Miller" in which a white police chief and a black deputy cope with events, and each other, in a rural Georgia town.
"San Pedro Bums" - The story of five fellows who do a lot of cutting up when they're not operating their tuna boat.
"Operation Petticoat" - A comedy based on the movie of the same name (nurses aboard a submarine, and what have you).
"Love Boat" - AN anthology that will center on a cruise ship captained by Gavin McLeod, who used to play Murray on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show."
"The Redd Foxx Comedy Variety Hour" - Thursday night will be ABC's big comedy night, according to Silverman, with "Welcome Back, Kotter," "Barney Miller" and "Carter Country" leading into the Foxx hour.
ABC also announced 80 hours of specials during the 1977-78 season, including 10 episodes of "How the West Was Won" starring James Arness, to begin in January.
NFL Football will be back on Monday night and movies on Sunday and Friday nights.
The daily schedule:
7 p.m. - Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
8 p.m. - The Six Million Dollar Man
9 p.m. - The ABC Sunday Night Movie
8 p.m. - San Pedro Bums (new program)
9 p.m. - NFL Monday Night Football
8 p.m. - Hayy Days
8:30 p.m. - Laverne and Shirley
9 p.m. - Three's Company (new time period)
9:30 p.m. - Soap (new program)
8 p.m. - Eight is Enough (new time period)
9 p.m. - Charlie's Angels (new time period)
10 p.m. - Baretta (new time period)
8 p.m. - Welcome Back Kotter
8:30 p.m. - What's Happening
9 p.m. - Barney Miller
9:30 p.m. - Carter Country (tentative title - new program.)
10 p.m. - Redd Foxx (new program)
8 p.m. - Donnie and Marie
9 p.m. - ABC Friday Night Movie
8 p.m. - Fish
8:30 p.m. - Operation petticoat (new program)
9 p.m. - Starsky and Hutch
10 p.m. - Love Boat (new program)