Credit: Claire Folger/ABC

Don’t look so down in the dumps, Dana Delany — you just helped ABC to save face.

Delany’s Body of Proof was the only freshman drama to receive a second season pickup on the Alphabet while new shows like Detroit 1-8-7, No Ordinary Family, Off the Map, The Whole Truth, and My Generation got canned. What is it about Proof that makes it such a survivor? Well, timing for one: The show was held back from the fall and rescheduled for midseason, when it got a much splashier premiere after Dancing with the Stars. Plus, the drama’s writers were able to focus on fine-tuning the 13 episodes without about ratings.

Most importantly, Delany is a bona fide TV star. As a result, Proof was the most-watched freshman scripted drama series this season and was ABC’s most-watched series in the Tuesdays at 10 hour in 10 years – since the eighth season of NYPD Blue in 2001. (And despite facing the season enders of The Good Wife and The Voice last week, the Proof finale on May 17 built its overall audience week to week, or 10.3 million vs. 10.1 million) Those are pretty decent stats, especially since its been so tough for the network to find its next big drama. The last to make it past a second season was Castle, even though Nathan Fillion’s geek following hasn’t exactly generated a Grey’s Anatomy-type following. (For more on how all of the broadcast TV shows did this season, click here).

ABC is taking big risks this fall with its new crop of dramas. Though Good Christian Belles has the makings of another Desperate Housewives, Pan Am and Once Upon a Time are high concept series (which usually translate into niche performers) and reboots like Charlie’s Angels are never a sure thing. Hmm, Delany’s future with the network is looking more solid by the day!

For more on ABC’s 2011-12 lineup: