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ABC Begins To Rebuild

5/23/2004 08:00:00 PM Eastern

There's something to be said for volume. While ABC's comedy orders are minimal this year, its overall orders are many, with the network picking up two comedies, four dramas, and two unscripted shows. Three dramas will be added midseason.

Much has been made of ABC's need for a mega-hit, but Stephen McPherson, ABC's new entertainment president, says once is not enough. "I disagree that it takes one show and that's it. It has to be about using blocks to rebuild the network. I worry about a network that's entirely about one show. You need to create solid performers and build."

McPherson agrees that programming must stay fresh year-round. Yet, with only 29 days on the job, he has one goal for now: getting the fall schedule right.

What's New

THE BENEFACTOR
(reality, Monday, 8)—ABC's answer to The Apprentice, featuring Internet billionaire Mark Cuban in search of the country's best ass-kisser. David Young, Clay Newbill, and Todd Wagner executive-produce. From 12 Yard Productions and 2929 Productions.

WIFE SWAP
(reality, Wednesday, 10)—Moms change families for two weeks in this British import from Super Millionaire's Michael Davies. Davies, Stephen Lambert, and Jenny Crowther executive-produce. From RDF Media and Diplomatic.

RODNEY
(sitcom, Tuesday, 9:30)—Blue-collar comedy set in Oklahoma, starring standup comic Rodney Carrington. Executive-produced by Ric Swartzlander and David Himelfarb. From Touchstone Television.

LOST
(drama, Wednesday, 8)—Gilligan's Island
meets Jurassic Park, starring Party of Five's Matthew Fox. By Alias
and Felicity
creator J.J. Abrams, with executive producers Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk. From Bad Robot and Touchstone.

LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (drama, Thursday, 9)—All teenage boys think about is sex. In this show, they give voice to it. Executive-produced by Gabe Sachs, Jeff Judah, Stu Bloomberg, Francie Calfo, and Michael Engler. From Sachs/Judah, Cabloom!, and Touchstone.

SAVAGES (sitcom, Friday, 8:30)—Keith Carradine stars as a single dad raising five messy sons. Executive-produced by Mel Gibson, Mike Scully, Julie Thacker Scully, and Bruce Davey. From Nothing Can Go Wrong Now Productions and Icon Productions in association with NBC Universal Television.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
(drama, Sunday, 9)—ABC's best hope for a hit next season, a soapy prime time drama with hot stars Teri Hatcher, Nicolette Sheridan, Felicity Huffman, and Marcia Cross. Executive-produced by Marc Cherry, Charles Pratt Jr., Michael Edelstein, and Tom Spezialy. From Touchstone.

THE PRACTICE: FLEET STREET (drama, Sunday, 10)—James Spader joins William Shatner in a high-end civil-law firm. Executive-produced by David E. Kelley and Bill D'Elia. From David E. Kelley Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.

GREY'S ANATOMY (drama, midseason, Monday, 10)—Surgical residents start their brutal training. Executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes, Mark Gordon, James Parriott, and Betsy Beers. From Touchstone.

BLIND JUSTICE (drama, midseason, Tuesday, 10)—Ron Eldard loses his sight on the job, but he continues to fight crime anyway. Executive-produced by NYPD Blue's Steven Bochco, Nicolas Wootton, Matt Olmstead, and Bill Clark. From Steven Bochco Productions and Paramount.

EYES (drama, midseason)—High-tech mercenary crime-fighters, led by Tim Daly. Executive-produced by John McNamara. From McNamara Paper Products and Warner Bros. Television.

September
October