ABC’s flagship series, Dancing with the Stars, will return on Monday, March 21. It will be interesting to see if the absence of star dancer Derek Hough, who is off to do a movie, will impact the reality juggernaut. Unlike American Idol star judge Simon Cowell, Hough is only taking a temporary leave and said he will be back for the fall cycle. The celebrity cast of the spring Dancing will be announced on Feb. 28 during The Bachelor. The show’s bookers have a tough act to follow with last cycle’s buzzworthy cast led by Bristol Palin.
ABC has confirmed long-running speculation that as part of Jimmy Kimmel’s new two-year deal with ABC, the comedian had asked for his latenight talk show on the network to be moved up from 12:05 AM to midnight. The change will come into effect on Feb.4. ABC News president Ben Sherwood just sent out this memo elaborating on the impact Jimmy Kimmel Live‘s earlier start time will have on Nightline, whose running time will be shortened to 25 minutes. Among other things, ABC News is getting a commitment for 13 hourlong primetime editions of Nightline to air on ABC. Nightline, which recently ranked as the most watched program in late night, had long been a target as the only non-entertainment program to air on the Big 3 networks after 11PM. A decade ago, ABC brass famously plotted to replace it with a David Letterman-hosted talk show. Here is Sherwood’s email:
I’m writing to share some important news about Nightline.
First and foremost, today ABC has definitively answered one of the recurring questions about Nightline and ABC News: The company firmly believes Nightline is a vital part of its successful late night strategy and Nightline will anchor the schedule at 11:35 PM. Period.
Last year, ABC told Jimmy Kimmel that he would get a new start time – moving to midnight effective February 4, 2011. Obviously, this fact will move
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This trend of comedies at 10 PM seems to be catching on quickly at the broadcast networks. Right after NBC announced that it will expand its 8-10 PM Thursday comedy block to 11 PM in midseason, ABC is doing the same with its Wednesday 8-10 PM comedy block. Beginning April 13, the network will air midseason comedy Happy Endings at 10 PM, followed by Modern Family reruns branded as “fan favorites” at 10:30 PM.
ABC will start warming up the Wednesday 10 PM slot with comedies this month by pulling canceled legal drama The Whole Truth earlier than previously planned and replacing it with Modern Family and Cougar Town repeats. Before that, from February 9 through April 6, ABC’s other midseason comedy, Mr. Sunshine, will take over the network’s plum post-Modern Family slot at 9:30 PM to give the Matthew Perry-starring comedy the best possible launching pad. One Friends alum, Courteney Cox, will make room for another, Perry, as Cougar Town, which airs in the 9:30 PM time period, will go on hiatus, returning on April 13. With the time off, Cougar Town now has 20 of its 22 episodes scheduled, with the remaining 2 expected to get a berth too, either replacing a Cougar Town rerun or in a different spot on the schedule. As previously announced, anchoring the Wednesday lineup at 10 PM from Feb. 9 through April 6 will be the new medical drama Off the Map. With … Read More »
ABC’s hourlong procedural Body of Proof starring Dana Delany will succeed Detroit 1-8-7 in the Tuesday 10 PM slot. In preparation for the move, the network last month gave the modestly rated freshman cop drama Detroit 1-8-7 a short, 5-episode back order. Body of Proof will premiere on March 29, following Detroit‘s 18-episode run, with the Dancing with the Stars result show as a lead-in. The series, created by Christopher Murphey and produced by ABC Studios, centers on Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany), a brilliant neurosurgeon who takes on a new career as a medical examiner following a car accident. Body of Proof, originally slated to launch in late October in the Friday 9 PM slot, was held back by new ABC chief Paul Lee for a proper launch in a better time period.
Shonda Rhimes/Jenna Bans’ new ABC medical drama Off the Map will premiere Jan. 12 and will succeed the network’s recently cancelled new legal drama The Whole Truth in the Wednesday 10 PM time slot. ABC had originally planned to premiere Off the Map in the same time slot it once used to launch Grey’s Anatomy, Sundays 10 PM after Desperate Housewives. In preparation for the move, ABC gave the slot’s regular dweller, Brothers & Sisters, an 18-episode order in May. But then the veteran family drama did solidly in the ratings in the first few weeks of the season, leading to an order for 4 more episodes. Meanwhile, ABC brass were happy with Off the Map, ordering extra scripts and eventually 6 additional episodes. That made it impossible for the two series to share the Sunday 10 PM time period, and, with The Whole Truth done, Off the Map was slotted on Wednesdays. Off the Map, set at a medical clinic in the South American jungle, was created by Bans who is executive producing with Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Gretchen Berg. Aaron Harbert and director Randy Zisk. While the other networks are yet to unveil any midseason scheduling plans, ABC has been quietly putting in place key pieces of its midseason schedule. The network recently announced that V will return on Jan. 4 and will run in the Tuesday 9 PM slot.
I hear the order of ABC’s sophomore sci-fi drama V is being reduced from 13 to 10 episodes. ABC last week announced that V will return January 4 and will air in Dancing with the Stars‘ result show slot at 9 PM on Tuesdays, following fellow sci-fi drama No Ordinary Family. That gives V a 12-episode window until the spring season premiere of Dancing on March 29, but I hear the period is expected to include 2 preemptions, leading to V‘s order getting trimmed. Since the series is still filming, V producers will adjust the storyline for a proper season ending.
ABC today announced premiere dates for the Dancing with the Stars ice skating spinoff Skating with the Stars and the second season of V. Skating will slide into Dancing‘s Monday 8-9:30 PM slot following the conclusion of the current Dancing cycle, while V will air in the Dancing result show time period of Tuesdays 9 PM, following No Ordinary Family. Skating will premiere on November 22, airing twice behind Dancing on Mondays at 9 PM before moving to 8 PM on December 6. V returns January 4. No Ordinary Family will get a short run in the Tuesday 9 PM slot from November 30 until January 4 when it will slide back to its current 8 PM berth to form a block with similarly sci-fi-tinged V.
New ABC programming chief Paul Lee is looking to upgrade another series his predecessor put on the low-trafficked Friday night. Beginning November 5, ABC will air reality veteran Supernanny in the Friday 8 PM slot. That is where Secret Millionaire, which ABC acquired after a run on Fox, was originally slotted though it was never assigned a premiere date. This follows a similar move ABC made last week with the Dana Delany-starring new procedural Body of Proof, originally slated to air Fridays at 9 PM, which was also held back and will be replaced by Primetime: What Would You Do?, beginning next week. Lee is said to be high on both Secret Millionaire and Body of Proof and is planning to give them a proper launch elsewhere. He just added another building block for midseason, a winter edition of Wipeout. In May, ABC announced a renewal for Supernanny but the series did not get a spot on the schedule and was held as backup. ABC also announced today that it will be preempting struggling new drama The Whole Truth tonight for a 20/20 special on the Chilean miners’ rescue.
Back in May, ABC’s previous boss Steve McPherson went for younger, hipper fare when programming new series Monday through Thursday. The show that seemed to be the closest to the ABC brand, Body of Proof - a female-driven procedural with a quirky central character and headlined by a familiar ABC star, Dana Delany – was sent to Fridays. Now, with many of those Monday-Thursday series crumbling and one, My Generation, already canceled, new ABC chief Paul Lee is taking a second look at Body of Proof and is planning to give it a time slot upgrade. Read More »