ABC Adds 13 Series to Next TV Season’s Schedule Under Paul Lee’s Direction
Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ABC network added eight dramas and five comedies to next season’s schedule, the first from its new entertainment president, Paul Lee.
A remake of the 1970s “Charlie’s Angels” and “Once Upon a Time,” from “Lost” producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, join a schedule with “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town,” ABC said today in a statement. Lee will present the lineup to advertisers later today at Lincoln Center in New York.
ABC will rely more on new shows for the season starting in September than rivals. Disney charged Lee with rekindling prime- time ratings at its flagship broadcast network after he developed popular shows at the ABC Family cable channel. Only NBC, which is adding 12 new shows, suffered a larger loss of viewers this season, according to Nielsen Co. data.
“Our goal is to offer more originals and more sustained originals throughout the year,” Lee said at a press conference. “My job is to make ABC healthy and to make this brand sing.”
ABC will start a family oriented program block on Tuesdays, starting with the Tim Allen comedy “Last Man Standing,” Lee said. “Man Up,” about three men seeking to become more macho, follows. “Dancing with the Stars” results show will air at 9 p.m. and “Body of Proof” will be at 10 p.m.
The network is also starting two dramas on Sunday night with the aim of establishing a stronger block of shows, Lee said. Fairy tales and the real world collide in ‘’Once Upon a Time,” while the excitement of the 1960s jet age plays out in “Pan Am,” featuring Christina Ricci.
“Sunday nights people are looking to be entertained, they just want to kick back and watch some television,” Lee said.
ABC is adding “Suburgatory,” with Jeremy Sisto of “Law & Order” and Cheryl Hines from “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” to a Wednesday night comedy block that also includes returning shows “Modern Family,” “The Middle” and “Happy Endings.” “Suburgatory” follows a single dad who leaves New York City for the suburbs to seek a better life for his daughter.
“Charlie’s Angels” will air Thursday at 8 p.m., when the show won’t face scripted competition from rival broadcast networks, Lee said. “This show is pure candy,” he said.
The network’s most-watched show remains “Dancing with the Stars,” where an average 21.8 million watch the competition and another 18.3 million tune in for the results episode, according to Nielsen data through May 15.
ABC plans to add six of its new shows in the second half of the TV season, after December. The network didn’t announce start dates for comedies “Apartment 23” and “Work It,” or the dramas “Good Christian Belles,” “Missing,” “The River,” and “Scandal.”
Disney, the world’s biggest theme-park operator, gained 8 cents to $41.01 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have risen 9.3 percent this year.
Broadcast and cable networks are releasing television schedules this week ahead of meetings with marketers that will determine advertising rates.
Advertisers will make about $9.02 billion in advertising commitments this year, a 5 percent increase from the $8.61 billion made in 2010, Spencer Wang, an analyst at Credit Suisse, estimated in a May 9 report.
ABC is expected to garner $2.27 billion in advertising commitments, a 1 percent gain from the $2.24 billion the network received in 2010, Wang wrote.
NBC will add six comedies and six dramas, including the police procedural “Prime Suspect” starring Maria Bello, to its schedule starting in September, the network said yesterday. Fox will add eight shows including Simon Cowell’s “The X-Factor” and the special-effects filled “Terra Nova” from Steven Spielberg. CBS plans to unveil its lineup tomorrow.
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