Jennifer Armstrong on ABC's fall lineup
News from the TV upfronts: Here are the new series the network will roll out this year, plus the time-slot changes (''Grey's'' on Thursdays) it will make
Yes, it’s true: You really are going to have to watch Grey’s Anatomy on Thursdays next season (or DVR it and then wait three days to watch it, if you must). And though it seems that traumatic lifestyle change might be enough drama for us to digest, it turns out the folks at ABC have to fill every night with shows — so many hours to program that even What About Brian got a shot at a second season. This fall, we’ll see that plus four new dramas and five new comedies.
Winning the plum post-Lost time slot (which belonged to the late, great Invasion this season) is another high-concept, highly serialized drama called The Nine, following a group of (guess how many) strangers’ lives after they’re held hostage in a bank robbery.
Massive surprise hit Dancing With the Stars will lead off a mostly new Tuesday lineup, followed by Let’s Rob…, a comedy starring Donal Logue about a bumbling group of guys (plus hottie Sofia Vergara) who plot to break into Mick Jagger’s apartment. That’ll pair up with the bumbling group of nut cases in therapy with support-group leader Ted Danson in Help Me Help You.
Big Day kicks off the net’s new assault on Thursday night by taking a long, hard look at one couple’s wedding plans (expect, say, a whole episode on the pros and cons of Caesar salad); it stars Wendie Malick, Marla Sokoloff, and the cute one from Four Kings (Josh Cooke). After that will be, appropriately enough, Notes From the Underbelly, a funny look at a couple’s first entry into parenthood. At 9 comes the relocated Grey’s Anatomy to do battle with CBS’ CSI and NBC’s great hope Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, followed by Six Degrees — a high-but-nebulous-concept drama about how six strangers’ lives intertwine in Manhattan. (But J.J. Abrams is producing, and the cast includes Hope Davis and Campbell Scott, so consider us in.)
Another cast full of heavy-hitters will move into the post-Desperate Housewives spot on Sunday in Brothers & Sisters, a family drama starring Calista Flockhart, Ron Rifkin, Rachel Griffiths, and Patricia Wettig.
Fridays will be all fluff, with the hourlong comedy Betty the Ugly (wherein America Ferrera plays a not-cute assistant at a high-fashion magazine) and the light drama Men in Trees (wherein Anne Heche plays a self-help guru marooned in a male-heavy Alaskan town).
And to keep all those Lost fans from melting down at every repeat episode, ABC will run seven straight in the fall, then give the time slot temporarily to the Taye Diggs drama Day Break — about a detective living the same day over and over, Groundhog Day-style (except not funny, what with him being accused of murder) — before bringing back Lost for another uninterrupted string.
The new ABC schedule at a glance:
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
NEW SERIES Brothers & Sisters
Later in the season: Supernanny
What About Brian
NEW TIME SLOT Dancing With the Stars (performance episode)
Later in the season: NEW SERIES Set for the Rest of Your Life: Game show
NEW SERIES Let’s Rob…
NEW SERIES Help Me Help You
NEW TIME SLOT Dancing With the Stars (elimination episode)
Later in the season: NEW TIME SLOTS George Lopez (8-8:30) and According to Jim (8:30-9)
Later in the season: NEW SERIES Day Break
NEW SERIES The Nine
NEW SERIES Big Day
NEW SERIES Notes From the Underbelly
NEW TIME SLOT Grey’s Anatomy
NEW SERIES Six Degrees
NEW SERIES Betty the Ugly
NEW SERIES Men in Trees
NEW SERIES ABC Saturday Night College Football