ABC: Building on Ratings Momentum From 2004-05

May 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Considering ABC brought back only two of its dramas for the 2004-05 season-“Alias” and “NYPD Blue,” in its swan song season-one agent described the return of at least four one-hour shows for 2005-06 as a “miracle.”

Of course, “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Boston Legal” aren’t just any shows, but are ratings winners that can help strengthen the entire network schedule.

With news that “Anatomy” is staying at 10 p.m. Sunday, “Legal,” which shared the Sunday 10 p.m. time period this season, will move to another night. It may wait for an NFL-free Monday in January.

“They have building blocks now,” another agent said. Still, the agent pointed out, not all of ABC’s news is sunny.

“They’ve got tons of issues,” he said. “Thursday nights are a mess; Friday nights are a mess. The fact that `According to Jim’ is their strongest comedy is weak.”

ABC could move “George Lopez” from Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. to the 8 p.m. anchor spot on Fridays and continue to use “Jim” on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and “Hope & Faith” on Fridays at 9 p.m. to create protected half-hours for nurturing new sitcoms.

New comedy candidates include Warner Bros. Television’s “Hot Properties” and Sony Pictures TV’s “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” with Heather Graham.

But even for a “Housewives”-powered ABC, premiering a quartet of sitcoms is going to be a tall order.

“Launching four new comedies is hard for any network,” the agent said.

On the drama side, the Touchstone Television pilot “Commander-in-Chief” is almost certainly a pickup, sources said. The update of the horror series “Night Stalker” and the alien-themed “Invasion” might make a good Thursday 8-10 p.m. block or a lead-out for “Lost.”