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FALL TV: ABC Punts 'Sports Night'

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Jul 06, 2001 | 9:39am EDT

You know the TV gods just don't care when "Sports Night" gets the hook, while Jon Cryer gets his umpteenth chance to prove he is, too, more than The Guy Who Played Duckie. But so it goes. Top-rated ABC took its turn at the here's-our-fall-schedule game today, introducing four new series (starring the likes of Geena Davis and, yes, Jon Cryer), axing more than a half-dozen (including the likes of "The Hughleys" and, yes, "Sports Night") and keeping Regis more than fully employed for another TV year.

The network dissed "NYPD Blue" for a second straight year, asking the long-running cop show to again share its longtime Tuesday night time slot with returning drama series "Once and Again."

Among the goners, "Sports Night," which drew lots of praise from reviewers, but little attention from viewers, reportedly is bound for HBO, where things like ratings (or lack thereof) are relative. "The Hughleys," meanwhile, gets booted after two years as ABC guts its "Sabrina"-less "T.G.I.F." lineup.

As for the new shows? Why, they're guaranteed to "capitalize on the stability of [the network's] returning hits." ABC mucky-muck Lloyd Braun said so himself.

The fresh meat: "Geena" (working title; suggested title: "Thanks a Lot, Cutthroat Island"), a sitcom starring Geena Davis just nine years past her "Thelma & Louise" prime; "Gideon's Crossing," a really innovative drama about a sensitive doctor (Andre Braugher) unlike all those other shows about sensitive doctors; "Madigan Men," an hourlong drama about the dating woes of a single parent as played by Gabriel Byrne just six months past his "End of Days" prime; and, "People Who Fear," an "outrageous" sitcom co-starring Jon Cryer just 14 years past his "Pretty in Pink" prime.

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