March 12, 1984 12:00 PM

Let no one tell you that American TV viewers have no taste. They were discriminating enough to desert AfterMASH. The sequel borrowed on the considerable affection for M*A*S*H and started with huge hype and a tremendous audience—47 million for the premiere. But its scripts were smarmy, its acting amateurish; it was bland and boring and just plain bad. After only 17 weeks, the audience dropped to 28.7 million, 38th in the ratings. So CBS is pulling AfterMASH off the air for now; unfortunately, the network says it will be back. (It’s replaced next week by Kate & Allie, a new show for Susan Saint James and Jane Curtin). Sad to say, CBS also is pulling off two fine sitcoms that never had a fair chance: Empire, a Soap-like serial set in the executive suite, and Domestic Life, which flaunted all the tongue-in-cheek talent of its executive producer, Steve Martin, and its star, Martin Mull. “It’s sorta like Leave It to Beaver on acid,” Mull said of his show. “We don’t have cars that talk; we don’t wreck cars; we don’t have wet T-shirt contests, anything you’d think you’d need for a hit.” Life also didn’t have a good time slot. It and Empire—both of which still could come back—fought and lost to ABC’s Fall Guy and NBC’s Real People on Wednesdays. And now CBS is putting another new sitcom in that killer slot: Mama Malone, reviewed below, a show the network held onto for two years before its debut March 7. It’d be a shame to see Mama also fall victim to the grim ratings reaper.

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