ABC to Split ‘Lost’ Schedule

Jul 18, 2006  •  Post A Comment

ABC will run its mystery drama “Lost” for six or seven episodes this fall, then give its Wednesday 9 p.m. (ET) time period over to debuting drama “Day Break” for 13 weeks before “Lost” returns in first quarter 2007, ABC announced Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour.

If the network could run “Lost” for 22 consecutive weeks in the fall, “W e probably would,” Entertainment President Steve McPherson said at ABC ‘s TCA executive session in Pasadena, Calif. But he said the production schedule for the show makes that too difficult.

Waiting until midseason to debut “Lost,” as Fox does with “24,” “felt like it would be too long off the air,” Mr. McPherson said.

For the third season of “Desperate Housewives,” creator Marc Cherry will be more involved in the Sunday night series, which Mr. McPherson said at “the beginning of last year stumbled a bit.” Executive producer Tom Spezialy is not returning to the series, and the third season’s scripts are “all going through Marc’s typewriter,” Mr. McPherson said.

Mr. McPherson called this year’s Emmy nominations “remarkable” after “Lost,” last year’s best drama winner, was shut out in the category and Felicity Huffman, the 2005 winner for best comedy actress for “Housewives,” also failed to receive a nomination.

“There’s a problem” with the new judging system, Mr. McPherson said. “Everyone would admit there are some odd nominations … and odd nominations in terms of oversights.”

CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler’s comments over the weekend at her network’s TCA session, where she called her Thursday drama “CSI” an “underdog,” amused Mr. McPherson. ABC is moving its medical powerhouse “Grey’s Anatomy” to Thursday to go up against “CSI” this fall.

“I heard Nina was playing the rope-a-dope,” he said, calling her comments “kinda funny.”

“They are the champions without question,” he said. “We are coming on with strong competition. We hope to do some business there.”

ABC’s new comedies, which are all single-camera and include no laugh tracks, weren’t picked up because of the way they were shot, Mr. McPherson said.

“We didn’t make a decision on style,” he said.

ABC did develop traditional multicamera comedies, but “They didn’t turn out the way we liked,” Mr. McPherson said.

The announcement that J.J. Abrams, executive producer of “Lost,” “Six Degrees ” and “What About Brian,” is leaving ABC-owned Touchstone Television for a development deal at Warner Bros. Television would not impact the network, Mr. McPherson said.

“My reaction really is thank you for all your work,” he said, noting that with Mr. Abrams not working on “Mission Impossible III” this season, he will be spending more time working on his three series.

“We’re excited to have him back full time,” he added.

Mr. Abrams will be offering full services for this season on his shows, including directing episodes of “Lost,” but may pull back next year, Mr. McPherson said.

ABC changed the title of its new comedy “Let’s Rob …, ” which is short for “Let’s Rob Mick Jagger,” to the working title “Knights of Prosperity.”

“It felt incomplete,” Mr. McPherson said of the title “Let’s Rob …,” especially from a marketing standpoint. The network also does not want to “be misleading about how much Mick is in the show.”

Mr. Jagger was in the pilot and has agreed to appear in a select number of episodes of the show.

One critic asked the question that has been running through the TCA executive sessions — whether networks are alienating viewers if they cancel serialized series before they complete their run.

“There are a lot of different agendas there,” Mr. McPherson said, noting that factors including finances, production schedules and exactly who owns the show make it difficult to complete canceled series on the Internet or another digital platform.

“It would be great if certain things could be extended outside the broadcast window,” he said.

ABC’s Fall Premiere Schedule:

  • Friday, Sept. 8: 9 p.m. “20/20” (two-hour season premiere)

  • Tuesday, Sept. 12: 8 p.m. “Dancing With the Stars” (two-hour episodes for first two weeks before returning to 90-minute episodes)

  • Wednesday, Sept. 13: 8 p.m. “Dancing With the Stars Results Show”

  • Monday, Sept. 18: 8 p.m. “Wife Swap”

  • Thursday, Sept. 21: 9 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”; 10 p.m. “Six Degrees”

  • Friday, Sept. 22: 8 p.m. “Ugly Betty”; 9 p.m. “Men in Trees”

  • Sunday, Sept. 24: 7 p.m. ” Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (two-hour season premiere); 9 p.m. “Desperate Housewives” ; 10 p.m. “Brothers & Sisters”

  • Tuesday, Sept. 26: 9:30 p.m. “Help Me Help You”; 10 p.m. “Boston Legal”

  • Sunday, Oct. 1: 7 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”

  • Monday, Oct. 2: 9 p.m. “The Bachelor: Rome” (two-hour season premiere)

  • Wednesday, Oct. 4: 9 p.m. “Lost”; 10 p.m. “The Nine”

  • Thursday, Oct. 5: 8 p.m. “Big Day”; 8:30 p.m. “Notes From the Underbelly”

  • Monday, Oct. 9: 10 p.m. “What About Brian”

  • Tuesday, Oct. 17: 9 p.m. “The Knights of Prosperity”

  • Wednesday, Nov. 15: 9 p.m. “Day Break”