Mel Torme's son is producing a comedy series starring Howard Stern.


Tracy Torme has created an animated show about a family that survives the apocalypse and travels across America "in search of traditional family values and a new home," says UPN, which has picked up "Doomsday" for its prime-time schedule next season.

Stern will provide the voice of the family dog, Orinthal.

In its travels, the family encounters mutated humans, a band of barbaric road warriors, 50-foot hillbillies and IRS agents who are "the only branch of the government to survive," UPN says.

The network has committed to buy 13 episodes of the series, on which Stern will also get executive producer credit.

Stern dusted off his usual joke for UPN's news release announcing the project: "My only regret is there are no lesbians in the story," he said.

And UPN insists that Stern did not broker a deal requiring the network to refer to him as the "notorious king of all media" in the news release--in much the same way that ABC had to agree to refer to Michael Jackson as the "king of pop" in every news release it put out regarding his notorious interview with Diane Sawyer.

Stern already does a weekly syndicated broadcast TV show that airs in late-night on CBS-owned TV stations and other stations around the country. Cable channel E! Entertainment also carries a TV version of his daily radio program.

Torme's credits include the short-lived drama series "Sliders" as well as "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Saturday Night Live."

ABC has ordered a pilot for a period cop series based on writer Walter Mosley's character Easy Rawlins, last seen on the big screen in "Devil in a Blue Dress."

In that movie, which was released in 1995, Rawlins, an unemployed black World War II vet, is thrown into a world of corruption and racism when he's hired to track down the missing fiancee of a mayoral candidate. "Devil" starred Denzel Washington and the new series would give ABC a program with a strong black lead, trade paper Variety reports.

ABC and the other major broadcast networks are under fire these days because of the lack of minority representation in their new prime-time series--both in front of and behind the camera--as well as in their executive suites.

The drama project would be executive produced by Thomas Carter and former Washington Post staff writer David Mills, both of whom are African American. The pilot will be directed by Carter and written by Mills.

Mills, who was a producer on "ER" and "NYPD Blue" and also wrote for "Homicide: Life on the Street," is also writing and producing "The Corner," a six-hour miniseries that is in production for HBO.

The project is based on book of the same name by David Simon and Edward Burns. Simon, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, is writing and acting as a producer on the series. He also wrote "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," the book that eventually became the NBC series. Burns, a former Baltimore policeman, is now a schoolteacher.

Changes are brewing for the weekends at CBS News.

Thalia Assuras is joining Russ Mitchell as the new co-host of "CBS News Saturday Morning"; they will take turns anchoring the "CBS Evening News" on Saturday nights. John Roberts, who anchored the evening newscast on Saturday, was recently named chief White House correspondent; he still anchors the Sunday newscast.

Assuras replaces Dawn Stensland, who has been anchoring "CBS News Saturday Morning" with Mitchell since July '98 while continuing to anchor the news at the CBS-owned TV station in Philadelphia. Assuras has been co-anchor of "This Morning" since June, when Jane Robelot bowed out. Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson are taking over that time slot with their new "Early Show" on Nov. 1.

Mitchell, who has co-anchored "CBS News Saturday Morning" since its debut in August '97, is moving from Washington to New York.

Then, on Sundays, Rand Morrison has been named executive producer of "CBS News Sunday Morning," replacing Missie Rennie, who's been doing the job since '92. Rennie will executive-produce the "CBS Evening News" weekend broadcasts until the end of the year, while regular executive producer Lyne Bowens Pitts works on CBS News's millennium projects.

CAPTION: Denzel Washington played Easy Rawlins in "Devil in a Blue Dress"; ABC has ordered a pilot series based on the Walter Mosley character.