ABC takes bold chances with Satan and the planet Zabvron


This is the week when networks set their fall line-ups. My previous blogs had the stories I sent to papers about NBC and Fox; here's ABC -- easily the most daring network this time. I'll have more after the network makes its presentation to advertisers, late this afternoon.

By MIKE HUGHES

This fall, ABC will take some bold
chances with its most precious time slots.

Sundays, when “Desperate Housewives”
ruled? That will go to “Revenge” and (sort of) to Satan.

Wednesdays, behind “Modern Family”?
That goes to one of the year's oddest comedy concepts – a gated
community, filled with secretive people from the planet Zabvron.

That's part of a fall line-up that sees
ABC following one trend of the other networks – more comedies –
and ducking others.. While most networks are wary of heavily
serialized shows, ABC piles them in; it even has a “Lost”-type
tale, leading into “Grey's Anatomy.” It downplays
case-of-the-week shows; “Body of Proof” will be back, but doesn't
yet have a spot on the schedule.

A few shows didn't make the cut,
including “Cougar Town,” “Missing,” “The River: and “GCB.”
Mostly, however, ABC is juggling at mid-season, making room for a
lot. That includes:

– A double dose of country:
“Nashville” has Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”) and
Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”) as stars – a veteran and a hot
newcomer – reluctantly linked for a tour. “Malibu Country” has
Reba McEntire as the wife of a cheating Nashville singer; she moves
to their Malibu home with her mom (Lily Tomlin) and kids.

– More comedies. The season will
start with six, the same as this year; it jumps to eight in November
and to 10 in January. Along the way, borderline shows – “Happy
Endings,” “Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23” – survive.

– Intriguing nods to the “Lost”
fans. In “666 Park Avenue” (Sundays after”Revenge”), Terry
O'Quinn plays the mysterious owner of a Faustian building where
people get everything – at a price. In “Last Resort,” Andre
Braugher and Scott Speedman are submarine commanders who refuse to
fire their nuclear weapons without confirmation. They take their crew
to an island, where they might find romance and redemption.

– A nod to the roots of Paul Lee, the
Englishman who took over ABC two years ago. He'll have an American
version of “Mistresses,” which was (despite the title) a serious
drama on the BBC.

The line-up:

– Mondays: “Dancing With the Star”
8 p.m. (with “The Bachelor” in January); “Castle,”10.

--.Tuesdays: “Dancing” results, 8
p.m.; “Happy Endings,” 9 p.m.; “Don't Trust the B,” 9:30;
“Private Practice,” 10. (In January, with no “Dancing,” there
will be new comedies at 8 and 8:30.

– Wednesdays: “The Middle,” 8
p.m.; “Subrgatory,” 8:30; “Modern Family,” 9 p.m.; “The
Neighbors,” 9:30 p.m.; “Nashville,” 10.

– Thursdays: “Last Resort,” 8
p.m.; “Grey's Anatomy,” 9; “Scandal,” 10.

– Fridays: Season starts with “Shark
Tank” at 8; “What Would You Do?” at 9 and “20/20” at 10.
November, has “Last Man Standing,” 8 p.m.; “Malibu Country,”
8:30;”Shark Tank,” 9; “20/20,” 10.

– Saturdays: College football in the
fall, then reruns.

– Sundays: “America's Funniest Home
Videos,” 7 p.m.; “Once Upon a Time,” 8; “Revenge,” 9; “666
Park Avenue,” 10.

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