ABC Family sets eyes on teens

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ABC Family is eyeing teen-age viewers who aren't hip enough for MTV: Music Television.

To that end, the Walt Disney Co.-owned cable network is rolling out a
teen-oriented fringe block May 26 with youthful acquired dramas and original
reality shows.

MTV viewers are more trendsetters, ABC Family president Angela Shapiro said,
and "We're looking more for the middle-of-the-road teens, the adapters." She
added, "MTV is not for everyone."

ABC Family said it already draws the second-largest teen audience of
adult-targeted networks, second only to MTV.

New shows coming May 26 include The Brendan Leonard Show, starring
19-year-old college freshman Leonard and his friends in their daily antics, and
Switched, where two teens swap lives for four days.

ABC Family intends to add fresh programming year-round.

Off-net acquisition 7th Heaven will air in the block, with
Gilmore Girls joining the schedule in the fall.

ABC Family presented its new programming at an upfront presentation for
reporters Monday in New York.

The network is also ramping up scripted development for fringe and prime time.

ABC Family's new programming chief, Linda Mancuso, said she's armed with more
than double the programming dollars of the past two years.

Six sitcom pilots are in development and up to three may go to series,
Mancuso said.

ABC Family plans eight original movies per year, with three already on the
way for this summer.

For now, acquired theatricals will make up about 80 percent of the prime-time
schedule. There will also be some repurposing of ABC shows, like The
Bachelor
, spruced up with bonus "wrap-around" programming like outtakes and
interviews.

Two original reality shows bow in July. ABC Family is reviving Dance Fever, based on the old Merv Griffin
series, and, from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire's Michael Davies, a new
Manhattan-based match-making series, Perfect Match: New York.

ABC Family is also plotting a host of specials, including Tying the Knot, following actress Melissa Joan Hart through her engagement and upcoming
wedding in Italy, and music specials that mix behind-the-scenes looks at an
artists' life with performances. The first, featuring Avril Lavigne, airs in
June.

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