Rosie's 'Trials' include programming


It looks like "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" may be in for the familiar trial-by-neglect treatment from CBS.

As reader Rose Kelly of Baltimore has complained in a recent correspondence, the good 10 o'clock Monday night show starring Sharon Gless as an angst-ridden public defender -- perhaps the season's best new entry -- has not been seen since Jan. 28. It has been pre-empted on successive Mondays by specials featuring Cher, Connie Chung and, tonight, Mary Tyler Moore (in "Mary Tyler Moore: The 20th Anniversary Show.")

"Rosie has been off so frequently some viewers may think it's already gone and not bother to look for it anymore," writes Kelly.

Unfortunately, according to CBS spokeswoman Hali Simon, the show may or may not be back in the Monday lineup this season. A one-hour edition of "Murphy Brown" next week pushes "Designing Women" into the 10 p.m. slot, and on Monday, March 4, the show "WIOU" is scheduled to air there.

"Rosie" has completed shooting its 18-show order from the network, but three installments have not been seen, the spokeswoman says. CBS does intend to air them, "but not necessarily in the regular time slot," and is currently in discussion whether to renew the show for fall.

Clearly, CBS has used the strong followings of "Murphy Brown" and "Designing Women" as lead-ins to February sweeps-month specials. There is irony here, however, for as reader Kelly points out, in its first season "Designing Women" was not highly rated and barely survived CBS' shifting of its air times.

The network implies national ratings for "Rosie" have been disappointing, despite the show's critical praise. In season-to-date numbers from Nielsen, the show is ranked in 51st place. Yet among new shows this season (which has been unkind to fresh fare), it still appears to be among the top half dozen or so.

"I'm tired of the games programmers play. I just want to tune in on Mondays at 10 and see my favorite show," writes Kelly.

"Rosie" fans interested in letting the network know their feelings should write: Jeff Sagansky, CBS Entertainment President, 7800 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90036, or Howard Stringer, President CBS Broadcast Group, 51 West 52nd ST., New York, N.Y. 10020.

A NEW VOICE -- Local residents may remember a couple of years back when actor William Shatner could be seen jogging about northwest Baltimore County. He was taping an environmental documentary series at Maryland Public Television studios in Owings Mills.

That 10-part series, "The Voice of the Planet," finally premieres tonight, but not on MPT. Instead, it's on the TBS basic cable service, at 8:05 p.m., following MPT's separation from the project after the studio shooting sessions here.

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