ABC Moving ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to Thursday at 9 p.m.

May 16, 2006  •  Post A Comment

ABC plans to bolster its Thursday night lineup by transplanting hit medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” from Sundays.

The move represents ABC’s most aggressive bid for supremacy on Thursdays, which CBS now dominates and NBC used to lead. Shifting “Grey’s” strengthens ABC’s pitch to advertisers, who prize Thursdays as a chance to reach weekend consumers.

Moving “Grey’s Anatomy” from Sundays at 10 p.m. (ET) to Thursdays at 9 p.m. for the 2006-07 season was predicated on the network’s building up the series this past season, ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Mr. McPherson also said it was important to have enough quality new shows ready to be launched off of “Grey’s” on Thursday and off of Sunday 9 p.m. hit “Desperate Housewives.”

“It would open up a lot of launching pads,” he said of breaking up the Sunday night powerhouses “Grey’s” and “Housewives.”

ABC is replacing Thursday 10 p.m. newsmagazine “Primetime” with the new drama “Six Degrees” from “Lost” executive producer J.J. Abrams. “Primetime” is not currently scheduled but will be used to “fill holes throughout the season,” Mr. McPherson said.

“Desperate Housewives” remains at 9 p.m. on Sundays, and will now be followed by the debuting drama “Brothers & Sisters.”

The network will not air repeats of Wednesday night performer “Lost” during the new TV season. “Lost” will run for seven episodes in the fall, Mr. McPherson said, before making room on the schedule for new drama “Day Break.” “Lost” will then return in late January or early February and run all originals for the rest of the season.

Despite not having “Monday Night Football” for the first time in 35 years, ABC will still have football on its fall schedule with “ABC Saturday Night College Football.” ABC Sports will televise 12 games, concluding with the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship on Dec. 2.

ABC’s Schedule:

Monday: “Wife Swap,” “The Bachelor”/”Set for the Rest of Your Life,” “What About Brian”

Tuesday: “Dancing With the Stars/”Set for the Rest of Your Life,” “Let’s Rob…,” “Help Me Help You,” “Boston Legal”

Wednesday: “Dancing With the Stars” results show, “Lost,” “The Nine”

Thursday: “Big Day,” “Notes from the Underbelly,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Six Degrees”

Friday: “Betty the Ugly,” “Men in Trees,” “20/20”

Saturday: “ABC Saturday Night College Football”

Sunday: “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Brothers & Sisters”

The network’s biggest casting coup is securing rocker Mick Jagger for the new Tuesday night comedy “Let’s Rob…,” which profiles a group of amateur thieves trying to rob Mr. Jagger’s Central Park apartment. Mr. Jagger will guest star in some episodes.

“He had a tremendous sense of humor about it,” Mr. McPherson said.

Shows slated for midseason include drama “Traveler,” comedy “In Case of Emergency” and reality series “Greg Behrendt’s Wake-Up Call” and “Just for Laughs.” The comedy “According to Jim” will return to the Wednesday schedule when “Dancing” concludes.

Canceled shows include ABC’s entire rookie slate, with the exception of midseason drama “What About Brian” and the reality series “American Inventor,” which is expected to return next midseason. Series not returning next season include “Rodney,” “Freddie,” “Commander in Chief,” “Invasion,” “Hope & Faith,” “Sons and Daughters,” “The Evidence” and “In Justice.”

Two seasons ago ABC pulled itself out of a protracted programming and ratings slump with the debut of “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” The network also has had success in the reality genre with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Supernanny” and “Wife Swap,” but has failed to see similar results in its half-hour comedy offerings.

ABC was the No.1 network for the 2005-06 season in the sought-after demographic of adults 18 to 49 through the beginning of May, but an “American Idol”-fueled Fox is expected to push ABC back to second place by the close of the season.

ABC is the second network so far this week to reveal its fall schedule. MyNetworkTV elaborated on its already announced fall schedule Tuesday morning at a presentation in New York’s Times Square. CBS and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision are scheduled to make their presentations in New York Wednesday.