September 09, 1996 12:00 PM

>The Jeff Foxworthy Show

BACK IN THE RACE

WHEN THE JEFF FOXWORTHY SHOW flamed out on ABC last season, fans may have reckoned that prime time wasn’t ready for rednecks. But NBC picked up the down-home sitcom and will relaunch it on Sept. 23. (In addition, NBC’s Brotherly Love and JAG will appear this season on WB and CBS respectively, and ABC’s The Naked Truth will move to NBC as a mid-season replacement.)’ Meanwhile, NBC’s Foxworthy promos cackle like a moonshiner who has swiped a neighbor’s still; in one, Haley Joel Osment, who returns as Foxworthy’s son, asks his TV dad, “Where’s Mom?” His reply: “She’s being recast.”

If only the series is as funny as the promo campaign. This time around, Ann Cusack will replace Anita Barone as Foxworthy’s wife, the star has gained a father and new best friend, and now Foxworthy plays a Georgia loading-dock foreman instead of an Indiana air-conditioner repair shop owner. NBC execs are hoping that those changes, coupled with the star’s popularity—Foxworthy won a People’s Choice Award last year for favorite male actor in a new series, and his No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem and You Might Be a Redneck If…are bestsellers—will carry the show. Says NBC executive vice president John Miller: “It will be the same Jeff, better show.”

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