ABC will try to avoid getting marooned by the disappearance of Lost from its fall schedule when it launches eight new shows early next season.
The aggressive slate -- the network will add at least three more rookies later in the year -- comes one year after ABC launched two of the very few shows last season to find any traction in Ugly Betty and Brothers and Sisters.
As expected, ABC is staking out Wednesdays at 9 for its most talked-about new show, Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice. That sets up an early rookie showdown with NBC’s prized new recruit, Bionic Woman, should NBC decide not to move the freshman drama.
ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson says the new drama will be reworked from the two-hour back-door pilot that ran recently as a Grey’s Anatomy spin-off.
"We spent a lot of time introducing the characters and not enough time on the stories," he said. "We have to get the stories stronger."
ABC is also staring down the barrel of the industry’s comedy doldrums, rolling out three new half-hours in the fall and another at midseason. The move comes a day after NBC failed to introduce a single new half-hour.
Sam I Am gets the plush post-Dancing with the Stars spot Mondays at 9:30, while Geico commercial spin-off Cavemen and Carpoolers team up for an hour block Tuesdays at 8. Miss Guided is being held for midseason.
Getting the prime post-Grey’s real estate is rookie drama Big Shots, which ironically is a male ensemble drama on a network built on lighter female-skewing shows.
Betty and Brothers are not the only 2006-07 rookies to earn a second season for ABC. Late season 2006-07 additions October Road and Notes from the Underbelly are back, and both will run Mondays in between the network’s fall and spring runs of Dancing with the Stars.
Veteran comedies George Lopez and According to Jim did not make the schedule, though talks are still ongoing about a possible rebirth for the Jim Belushi comedy. Rookie comedy Knights of Prosperity was another show that narrowly missed the cut.
McPherson also said he was "bummed" that NBC decided to keep Scrubs, because had NBC passed the ABC Studios-produced comedy would have jumped to ABC.
ABC’s fall primetime schedule is as follows (all times listed are Eastern, with new shows in bold):
MONDAY:8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
9:30 p.m.“Sam I Am” (new comedy series)
10:00 p.m.“The Bachelor”
TUESDAY:8:00 p.m.“Cavemen” (new comedy series)
8:30 p.m.“Carpoolers” (new comedy series)
9:00 p.m.“Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
10:00 p.m.“Boston Legal”
WEDNESDAY:8:00 p.m.“Pushing Daisies” (new drama series)
9:00 p.m.“Private Practice” (new drama series)
10:00 p.m.“Dirty Sexy Money” (new drama series)
THURSDAY:8:00 p.m.“Ugly Betty”
9:00 p.m.“Grey’s Anatomy”
10:00 p.m.“Big Shots” (new drama series)
FRIDAY:8:00 p.m.“MEN IN TREES”
9:00 p.m.“Women’s Murder Club” (new drama series)
SATURDAY:8:00 p.m.“Saturday Night College Football”
SUNDAY: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”