It was ABC's turn to outline its upcoming fall lineup today, and the alphabet did so with 12 new shows--seven dramas, four comedies, and one "alternative series." As previously announced, the network is also returning several programs, including big hits Grey's Anatomy, Lost, and Ugly Betty.
"Seventeen returning shows is really key for us--some of which are breakout hits and some of which we are building. We're confident they're going to be big assets for us," said Stephen McPherson, president of ABC, in a conference call with the press. "To me, it's all about good programming. If we could do 47 Desperate Housewives, we would, but we can't," he said later.
Word on most of ABC's new pickups got out before today's announcements, but the network confirmed it has added the comedy Miss/Guided starring Two and a Half Men's Judy Greer and the renewals of midseason series October Road and Notes from the Underbelly.
Not included in the in network's announcement today--and presumed canceled--were a pair of long-running comedies, the Jim Belushi vehicle According to Jim and George Lopez.
Another laugher that didn't make the cut, but which ABC loved and many thought could be revived with Ray Romano as the mark, was the freshman comedy Knights of Prosperity. "It was a show that we all really loved, and [there were] a lot of factors [that led to the decision to cancel it]," said McPherson. "In the end, [it was] performance that we were baffled by. We thought they did a great show."
McPherson also touched on ABC's shift from heavy dramas to more escapist fare, such as Heroes and Ugly Betty. Speaking about gritty serial dramas, such as last year's failed The Nine and Daybreak, he said, "People just didn't show up for these shows. It wasn't a matter of seeing a show and rejecting the show...The Nine was very dense...it was compelling, but it was demanding. We felt there may be a tonal shift in the viewers in terms of what they have a thirst for."
Wednesday will see the biggest change for ABC, as its primetime slot will be filled with three new dramas. Pushing Daisies, which is produced by Bryan Fuller (Heroes) and stars Lee Pace as a man whose touch can bring the dead back to life, will air at 8 p.m. Filling the 9 p.m. hole is the Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice, starring Kate Walsh as Addison and featuring the Grey's team behind the camera. Airing at 10 p.m. will be Dirty Sexy Money--which ABC president Stephen McPherson compares to Falcon Crest--starring Six Feet Under alum Peter Krause as a lawyer to a very wealthy family with suspicious doings.
Big Shots, a male-bonding drama starring Dylan McDermott, Christopher Titus, Joshua Malina, and Michael Vartan as high-powered execs, gets the money slot behind Grey's Anatomy. Christina Applegate's amnesia comedy Sam I Am is sandwiched between reality shows Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor on Monday. It looks as though ABC is targeting Tuesday as comedy night, with Cavemen and Carpooling airing back-to-back.
When asked about a new time slot for Lost, McPherson joked, "Saturday morning at 7:30." The exec didn't confirm any changes, but made it clear that he would like it to move up from its current 10 p.m. slot to an 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. period. Lost is expected to return in January for a 16-episode season with no interruptions.
Returning shows to ABC: Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Ugly Betty, Boston Legal, Brothers & Sisters, Men in Trees, Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Bachelor/Supernanny, America's Funniest Home Videos, Wife Swap, Jimmy Kimmel Live, October Road, Notes from the Underbelly, 20/20, Saturday Night College Football
New shows to ABC: Big Shots, Cashmere Mafia, Eli Stone, Dirty Sexy Money, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Women's Murder Club, Cavemen, Carpoolers, Miss/Guided, Sam I Am, and Oprah's Big Give.
The following is ABC's 2007-2008 fall lineup. (New shows in bold, shows picked up but not on the schedule will air later in the season.)
8:00 p.m. Dancing with the Stars
9:30 p.m. Sam I Am
10:00 p.m.The Bachelor
(Cashmere Mafia, Notes from the Underbelly, and October Road will air after Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor conclude.)
8:00 p.m. Cavemen
8:30 p.m. Carpoolers
9:00 p.m. Dancing with the Stars the Results Show
10:00 p.m. Boston Legal
8:00 p.m. Pushing Daisies
9:00 p.m. Private Practice
10:00 p.m. Dirty Sexy Money
8:00 p.m. Ugly Betty
9:00 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy
10:00 p.m. Big Shots
8:00 p.m. MEN IN TREES
9:00 p.m. Women’s Murder Club
10:00 p.m. 20/20
8:00 p.m. Saturday Night College Football
7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos
8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives
10:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters