The new season: ABC stays safe

For a little spurt there, ABC was he most ambitious spot on TV. It went from "Lost" to "FlashForward" to "V"; it experimented with "Ugly Betty" and tried fresh comedies. It was fun  while it lasted.

The ABC fall line-up, announced today, plays it a bit safer. Here's the story I sent to papers:


This fall, ABC will be back to what TV
knows best – doctors and crime-solvers.

It will even combine the two for one
show. In “Body of Proof,” Dana Delany plays a doctor whose
surgery career is ended by an accident; she becomes a medical

Meanwhile, the network is going slow on
some of its riskier ventures in the current season:

– Fantasy and science fiction?
“FlashForward” is being canceled; “V” has been renewed, but
isn't on the fall schedule. There is one new show, however: “No
Ordinary Family” has a Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz crash-landing
in the Amazon with their children; all four soon have superpowers.

– Comedies? Only one is being added,
to fill a Wednesday hole. However, two are ready for mid-season, one
starring Matthew Perry.

Mostly, ABC will stick to the
standards. It even has two shows – the “Detroit 1-8-7” cop show
and a “My Generation” drama – that pretend to be done by a
documentary crew. It has also adds a reality show (“Secret
Millionaire”), from the “Undercover Boss” producers, which had
a brief run on Fox.

The network announced its line-up today
and introduces it to advertisers late this afternoon. It includes:

– Mondays: Unchanged, with “Dancing
With the Stars” at 8 p.m. and “Castle” at 10.

– Tuesdays: 8 p.m., “No Ordinary
Family”; 9, “Dancing With the Stars” results show; 10, “Detroit
1-8-7,” starring Michael Imperioli, formerly of “The Sopranos.”

– Wednesdays: “The Middle,”
“Modern Family” and “Cougar Town” return at 8, 9 and 9:30.
The new comedy, “Better Together,” is at 8:30; it pairs one
couple that's dated comfortably for nine years and another that is
marrying and pregnant after seven weeks. At 10 p.m., “The Whole
Truth” stars Joely Richardson and Rob Morrow as friends working
opposite sides – as a prosecutor and defense attorney.

– Thursdays: 8, “My Generation,”
in which Austin, Texas, youths are re-visited by a documentary crew
that profiled them 10 years ago as teens. 9 and 10, “Grey's
Anatomy” and “Private Practice” return.

– Fridays: 8, “Secret Millionaire”
(rich people go undercover); 9, “Body of Proof”; 10, “20/20.”

– Saturdays: Football.

– Sundays: Unchanged, with “America's
Funniest Home Videos” at 7, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” at
8, “Grey's Anatomy” at 9 and “Private Practice” at 10.

– Mid-season: “Off the Map,” from
the “Grey's Anatomy” producers, has American doctors in a clinic
in the South American jungle. “Mr. Sunshine” is a Matthew Perry
comedy. “Happy Endings” is a youth comedy that includes Elisha
Cuthbert, Casey Wilson and Damon Wayans, Jr. Current shows waiting
for mid-season slots are “V” and “Supernanny.”