After promising early showings for Winter Wipeout in the challenging for ABC Thursday 8 PM slot, the network is sticking with reality in the hour for the rest of the season. After Winter Wipeout finishes its run, ABC will launch competition series Take the Money and Run on April 14. The six-episode series, from the Amazing Race team of Jerry Bruckheimer and Bertram van Munster, combines elements of a globe-trotting race and a spy thriller.
After a heated bidding between ABC and CBS that stretched over the weekend, Man Up, a new half-hour project from veteran comedy writer-producer Jack Burditt (30 Rock) and a potential starring vehicle for Tim Allen, has landed at ABC with a put pilot commitment. Word is new ABC programming chief Paul Lee was personally involved in the network’s efforts to get the comedy that would bring Allen back to ABC where he toplined one of the network’s biggest comedies, Home Improvement. Man Up, from 20th TV and studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein, is a multi-camera family comedy about a guy fighting for his manhood in a world of women. Burditt is writing as well as executive producing along with Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy and Becky Clements. Allen has been looking to return to TV and met with a number of writers in the past few months.
ABC’s new chief Paul Lee charmed a room full of industry types at the Hollywood Radio and TV Society’s network chiefs luncheon today, which was otherwise pretty uneventful. Three months into the job, he looked confident and relaxed, stretching his legs for most of the time, interjecting with witty zingers and cracking jokes throughout the panel discussion moderated by HRTS and Lionsgate TV president Kevin Beggs. ”We used to strike when they moved the tea break at the BBC,” Brit Lee quipped when the subject of a potential new WGA strike came up. In terms of ABC programming, Lee didn’t deny the rumor that he might be looking to revive TGIF on ABC. (He recently did a trial run with a younger-skewing family comedy at ABC Family, Melissa & Joey). “I certainly think that Friday night is a huge opportunity,” Lee said. He also alluded that ABC may test some of its marketing campaigns on Facebook before forking out millions to roll them out.
Also pretty entertaining was Fox’s Kevin Reilly, who was asked about the challenges of doing a series for broadcast vs. cable where FCC regulations don’t apply. “It is frustrating sometimes,” he said. “On cable, we would’ve been able to have the guys on Lone Star take off their clothes, the show would’ve pulled 1.3 million viewers and we would’ve declared it a hit because that’s what Mad …