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Picks and Pans Main: Tube

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Here it is the first week of the New Year, and there are already three new series to consider, with plenty more arriving before January is over. Nervous TV executives are wielding a quicker hook than ever before. If a show doesn’t do well right off the bat, it’s pulled—more than a dozen series from last fall’s new season are already history—and a new one is tried. Given that some of the medium’s most cherished shows (e.g., Cheers, Hill Street Blues) took a long time to find their audience, this policy of “Let’s throw a lot of things at the screen and see if anything sticks” may not be too farsighted, but it sure keeps me busy.