ABC plans comedy-heavy fall lineup. The struggling network plans to air 10 sitcoms and three new crime dramas next season

By Gary Susman
May 13, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Hope and Faith” isn’t just the name of a new sitcom on ABC’s fall lineup; it’s also the fingers-crossed attitude of the fourth-place network as it tries to woo advertisers with Tuesday’s presentation at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. There, ABC will unveil a fall slate that’s heavy on sitcoms (10 of them), featuring four new comedies and three new crime dramas.

In addition to ”Hope and Faith” — the ubiquitous Kelly Ripa plays a soap star who moves in with her homebody sister, played by ”Murphy Brown”’s Faith Ford — the new comedies include ”It’s All Relative” (a ”Dharma and Greg”-type odd-couple romance, only this time, Dharma’s folks are a gay couple), ”I’m With Her” (a ”Notting Hill”-type romance about a high school teacher who dates a celebrity), and an untitled comedy starring ”Road Trip”’s Breckin Meyer as an introverted New Yorker (isn’t that an oxymoron?) who marries into an extroverted Kansas brood.

New crime dramas include ”Karen Sisco,” in which ”Spy Kids” star Carla Gugino plays the federal marshal that Jennifer Lopez played in the movie ”Out of Sight”; police drama ”10-8”; and ”Threat Matrix,” about the new Homeland Security department. (Alas, it does not star Laurence Fishburne or Carrie-Anne Moss.) Another crime drama, the Feds-vs.-Mobsters story ”Line of Fire,” will debut in midseason.

Meanwhile, David E. Kelley fans can breathe easy, since ABC has finally decided to keep ”The Practice”; after the network’s disastrous shifting of the show to Mondays, it’s returning the show to its successful Sunday slot. Sunday’s ”Dragnet” is also sticking around but is moving to Saturday, along with ”Wonderful World of Disney.” And warhorse ”NYPD Blue” returns for its 11th season, no doubt with more Job-like travails for Sipowicz.