It isn't easy, is it? Readers were quick to respond when this column asked earlier this year for nominations of television shows to save from cancellation, or shows to bring back from prime-times past. But predicting hits and misses of the new season is apparently another story.
A Labor Day Holiday Sun request for some early clairvoyance on the new arrivals has brought a pretty paltry response. Perhaps that is because all the new shows have not yet hit the airwaves, although the original interest was in projections based on early -- hype.
Today's column, therefore, announces a modification to this informal reader's poll: Watch the new shows, then vote for two favorites which deserve continuation and an equal number of shows you think rate quick cancellation. Send responses to: Media Monitor/Steve McKerrow, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or fax votes to 332-6666.
L In a month or so, we'll explore the reactions in this space.
In the meantime, some readers bold enough to make early predictions (including William Price, Mark McClelland, Flo Collomer and N. Burns) foresee success for: "Parenthood," "Parker Lewis Can't Lose," "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill," "American Dreamer," "Uncle Buck" and "Baby Talk" (although the last has been delayed by ABC for a cast change). Their obvious losers include: "Over My Dead Body," "True Colors," "Cop Rock," "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Good Grief," "Family Man" (previously "Four Alarm Family"), "Sons and Daughters" (formerly "The Hammersmiths") and "E.A.R.T.H. Force."
IN OTHERS' CRYSTAL BALLS -- While we are at it, a couple of viewer organizations have also weighed in with prognostications about the fall season.
For example, Dorothy Swanson, founder of the Virginia-based Viewers for Quality Television, has come up with seven new shows worthy of "quality time" and six shows she suggests as unworthy.
The membership of her group will be asked next month to vote on the season to produce its annual endorsement lists. But Swanson, writing for USA Weekend magazine, suggests that viewers check out these shows:
ABC's "Gabriel's Fire" (with James Earl Jones) and "Cop Rock" (Stephen Bochco's police musical), CBS' "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" (with Sharon Gless as a public defender), Fox's "American Chronicles" (David Lynch's documentary show) and NBC's "Parenthood" (based on the Steve Martin film) and "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (rap music in the Hollywood Hills).
Swanson's shows to miss include: "Babes," "Get A Life," "True Colors" and "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" on Fox and "A Family Man" and "Sons and Daughters" on CBS.
From Maplewood, N.J., comes the annual "fearless forecasts of TV's fall flops" from something called The Boring Institute, otherwise known as commentator Alan Caruba.
Caruba's leading losers include" "E.A.R.T.H. Force," "The Family Man, "Sons and Daughters," "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Lifestories, "Ferris Bueller," "Parenthood," "The Fanelli Boys," "Hull High," "Cop Rock," "Going Places," "Get A Life," "Class of Beverly Hills," and "Parker Lewis Can't Lose."
In fact, Caruba contends the fall's "one discerning trend is the MTV'ing of everything and, if it continues, we're all going to end up with the attention span of fungus!"