The third-ranked ABC ordered seven new dramas and four new comedies for the 2007-08 season, including a smattering of procedural dramas and plenty of chick-friendly shows to blend with its mostly female-skewing lineup. ”We’re really aggressive about our programming,” said President Steve McPherson to reporters Tuesday, in reference to new dramas (like the Dylan McDermott starrer Big Shots) that have ”the same entertainment value as Desperate Housewives” and a new feel-good alternative series from Oprah Winfrey called Oprah’s Big Give. Freshman breakouts like Brothers & Sisters, Ugly Betty, and Men in Trees will return, as will Notes From the Underbelly and October Road. Not slated for return: the ratings-starved (but critically acclaimed) Knights of Prosperity and the aging (but still respectible) comedy The George Lopez Show. And it’s unclear whether According to Jim will return for yet another season.
The drama Big Shots will begin the season in ABC’s most high-profile timeslot — Thursday at 10 p.m., behind Grey’s — and will obviously attempt to hang on to those McDreamy-obsessed female viewers with its tales about four successful men (The Practice’s McDermott, Alias’ Michael Vartan, comedian Christopher Titus, and The West Wing’s Josh Malina) and the women they keep (or lose). Other female-friendly dramas like Dirty Sexy Money, starring Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause, and Cashmere Mafia, with Ally McBeal’s Lucy Liu, delve into sudsy familial issues (à la Dynasty) and life in the concrete jungle (à la Sex in the City), respectively. Eli Stone and Pushing Daisies are new spins on the procedural format: The former, from Everwood’s Greg Berlanti, follows a lawyer (Jonny Lee Miller) who sees visions as the result of his inoperable brain tumor; Daisies is described by McPherson as a ”forensic fairy tale” about a guy named Ned (The Good Shepherd’s Lee Pace) who can bring things back to life with a simple touch.
Private Practice is the much-anticipated Grey’s spin-off starring Kate Walsh, and Women’s Murder Club, starring Angie Harmon, is another procedural about four crime-solving femmes whose personal lives intersect with work.
As for sitcoms, ABC will make hay of the popular Geico commercials featuring cavemen and spin them into a fish-out-of-water sitcom with a very simple yet distinctive moniker: Cavemen! The new Carpoolers is about just what you’d expect — commuters (including star Jerry O’Connell) and the hell they deal with on the road and at home. Sam I Am features Christina Applegate as a former bitch-from-hell who awakens out of a coma as a new woman, and Miss/Guided stars Judy Greer as reformed nerd who returns to her high school as a counselor.
Mafia, Notes, and October Road will premiere after Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor conclude their fall runs. Lost will return at midseason, also when the new shows Miss/Guided, Eli Stone, and Oprah’s reality series, a cash giveaway show, will likely debut.
ABC Lineup, Fall 2007
* New programs
8-9:30 p.m.: Dancing With the Stars
9:30 p.m.: Sam I Am *
10 p.m.: The Bachelor
8 p.m.: Cavemen *
8:30 p.m.: Carpoolers *
9 p.m.: Dancing With the Stars (results show)
10 p.m.: Boston Legal
8 p.m.: Pushing Daisies *
9 p.m.: Private Practice *
10 p.m.: Dirty Sexy Money *
8 p.m.: Ugly Betty
9 p.m.: Grey’s Anatomy
10 p.m.: Big Shots *
8 p.m.: Men in Trees
9 p.m.: Women’s Murder Club *
10 p.m.: 20/20
8 p.m.: Saturday Night College Football
7 p.m.: America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 p.m.: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9 p.m.: Desperate Housewives
10 p.m.: Brothers & Sisters