Now Here's The News
ABC continues to fiddle with its disastrous Thursday night schedule, announcing on Friday that it has put "The Fall Guy" on "hiatus" . . .
The network said that "Fall Guy" will be replaced sometime in November by a "comedy-adventure" series called "Shadow Chasers," whose story line, the network neglected to add, bears a remarkable resemblance to a movie called "Ghostbusters" . . .
"Fall Guy," after a couple of years in the Top 20, last year slipped slightly against "Highway to Heaven" in the Wednesday schedule. This year the show featuring Lee Majors as a stunt man was put up against "The Cosby Show," one of the biggest prime-time hits in years, and "Fall Guy" fall down and go boom! . . .
In the first three weeks of the new season, it has finished next to last twice and dead last once in the weekly ratings. The series first aired in October 1981 . . .
"Shadow Chasers" stars Trevor Eve and Dennis Dugan as "two very different, very funny guys who have a hair-raising and often hilarious time investigating challenging mysteries" . . .
Eve plays an anthropologist. Dugan is an author of books and tabloid articles about the bizarre . . .
ABC said the pair will "enjoy goose-bump-inducing escapades with mummies, phantoms, poltergeists and other mysteries of the shadows" (their first stop should be at ABC Entertainment to discover which mummies and phantoms put them up against Bill Cosby at 8 p.m. on Thursdays) . . .
"Hiatus" at ABC usually means Gonesville. But Harris L. Katleman, the president of 20th Century-Fox TV, issued a statement Friday saying: "We have a firm commitment from the network for 22 episodes of 'The Fall Guy' and we plan to honor that commitment. We are looking forward to the new time slot that the network will assign the show" . . .
(Loosely translated, that means "we'll probably die at 8 p.m. but we'll get the whole 22 shows in the can and then we'll have the 100-plus episodes needed for a good syndication sale") . . .
Earlier last week, ABC moved "Lady Blue" from the 9 p.m. Thursday time slot to Saturdays at 9, replacing "Lime Street." Because Robert J. Wagner, the "Lime Street" star, has clout at ABC, his series really has gone on "hiatus," probably until January . . .
Another trouble spot, the poor performance so far of "Hardcastle and McCormick" as a lead-in to "Monday Night Football," gets a bandage tonight as the new "MacGyver" is switched from its 8 p.m. Sunday slot to the pre-NFL game slot, ostensibly because the network "couldn't find room for it with the World Series game" on Sunday . . .
In fact, "MacGyver," against "Murder, She Wrote" on CBS, is underperforming "Hardcastle," and both ABC shows may be headed for the sidelines soon . . .
In earlier repairs to its third-place schedule, ABC also has switched time slots for "Spenser: For Hire" and "Our Family Honor," with "Spenser" moving to 10 p.m. Tuesdays and "Our Family Honor" to 10 p.m. Friday . . .
The understanding is that Lorimar Production chief Lee Rich refused to move "Our Family Honor" to Friday up against Lorimar's own "Falcon Crest" on Friday night unless he received a full commitment of 22 shows for "Our Family Honor" from the network. He got it . . .
So far this year, only one of ABC's eight new series, "Growing Pains," has managed to finish in the Top 20, and that's more a case of sheer luck than anything else, since "Growing Pains" is "hammocked," as they say in the business, between two of ABC's more popular holdover series, "Who's the Boss?" at 8 and "Moonlighting" at 9 . . . Also in the News
Channel 9 lost pals Friday when it chose to go live just short of 9 p.m. with an inconclusive report from the scene about a Southeast D.C. sniper incident just as the third -- and scariest -- segment of "The Twilight Zone" was about to be resolved . . .
Got back on the air in time for all the commercials though, Channel 9 did . . .
The Airwaves Phone Bank lit up like a Christmas tree after the interruption . . .
Newsweek magazine will report today that Watergate figure G. Gordon Liddy has signed to play a heroin smuggler on a future episode of "Miami Vice" . . .
The peripatetic "Today" show, already booked for South America in February, has taken reservations on the SS Norway, billed as the "world's largest cruise ship," for a week in May . . .
The Todayers will sail from Wilmington, N.C., May 19 as the ship heads south for stops at Charleston, S.C.; Savannah, Ga.; St. Augustine/Jacksonville, Fla.; and finally, on Friday, at Miami, home port of guess which NBC Entertainment hit? (clue: it's on Fridays at 10 p.m.) And in a ratings sweeps month at that!!!
Last year, "Today" ratings zoomed when the show visited Rome and took a train trip through the South . . .
Already announced for early 1986 is the trip, the week of Feb. 10, to Rio de Janeiro for three days of Carnaval before heading to Buenos Aires to wind up the week . . .
Which reminds us, last week, without even leaving town, "Today" tied ABC's "Good Morning America" for first place in the early morning ratings, each compiling a 4.8 Nielsen rating and 23 percent audience shares . . .
That's the second week in a row the NBC program has tied "GMA" for first in ratings . . .
"CBS Morning News" trailed with 3.0/14 . . .
Joel Heller, who has been CBS News' executive producer and director of children's programming, has been named executive producer for special correspondent Walter Cronkite's programming schedule, which includes two documentaries next year . . .
Heller replaces Burton (Bud) Benjamin, who is retiring from CBS News . . .
"60 Minutes" executive producer Don Hewitt and correspondent Diane Sawyer flew to Cairo Thursday to negotiate last night's interview with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak . . .
When the interview was completed Saturday, Hewitt and Sawyer flew to Paris, where the piece was edited down to 12 1/2 minutes and satellited yesterday morning to New York . . .
And from our Tempus Fugit file: eight Mouseketeers, Mickey Mouse ears and all, reassembled at Disneyland this past weekend, 30 years to the month after the debut of "The Mickey Mouse Club," to take part in a music revue . . .
Eared up for the occasion were Cubby, Bobby, Tommy, Lonnie, Sherry, Bonnie Lynn and Darlene, and not a one of them was under 37 . . .
Also from our Tempus Fugit but Hold the Ears file: "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" will celebrate its 10th year on PBS next month . . .