UPFRONT & CENTER: ABC Family Solidifies Summer, Fall Shows

Cable Network Devloping 'Uplifting Content Targeted at Milennials' 5/01/2008 11:04:00 AM Eastern

ABC Family nailed down its summer and fall scheduling, premiering new original series The Middleman and The Secret Life of the American Teenager this summer and six-hour, three-night limited series Samurai Girl this fall.

ABC Family

The “millennial-targeting" cable network also ordered a third season of Lincoln Heights, a second season of Greek and a third season of Kyle XY, and added basic-cable premieres of The Chronicles of Narnia and Cars, as well as an original movie and special to its 25 Days of Christmas stunt.

Middleman, an hour-long series based on the graphic novels by writer/producer Javier Grillo-Marxauch, follows a 20-something young woman who gets recruited by a top-secret agency to fight criminals. It debuts June 16.

Secret Life comes from Seventh Heaven creator Brenda Hampton and focuses on family and friend relationships. It debuts July 1.

Summer will also include original movies The Circuit (June 8) and Picture This (July 13).

Heights and Greek debut in the fall and Kyle XY comes back in January. Samurai Girl, based on the young-adult novels, will run Sept. 5-7, telling the story of a 19-year-old Japanese girl, Heaven, who leaves her adopted family when she finds out her father heads the mafia and learns to become a Samurai to fight them. Looking to 2009, the network plans the half-hour comedies Roommates and Sophie.

The program scheduling came with ABC Family’s upfront pitch to advertisers -- that it is the top place to go for brands seeking uplifting content targeted at millennials. Advertisers are being offered 30-second shorts following a character named “Nikki in the City,” a hip young woman who uses the products featured in the spots. The network is citing proprietary research it commissioned from Nielsen showing that its ads have the highest recall of its competitive set, including The CW and MTV.

“Our message is, ‘Look how our optimistic environment is really good for ads and recall,’” ABC Family president Paul Lee said. “Relatabiliy and optimism are really key for our viewers, and we’ve found our voice with programming that speaks to that.”

For complete coverage of the upfronts, click here.