May 21, 2009 in Features

ABC, NBC plan divergent fall strategies

Rick Bentley McClatchy

The scoop on CBS

A couple of television crime-fighters are on the move: Patricia Arquette and “Medium” from NBC to CBS, and Simon Baker’s “The Mentalist” from Tuesdays to Thursdays on CBS this fall.

Top-rated CBS is adding new series with Jenna Elfman (“Accidentally on Purpose,” about a film critic who gets pregnant after a one-night stand) and Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife,” about a stay-at-home mom forced back into the workplace when her politically prominent husband is sent to prison after a sex scandal).

“NCIS: Los Angeles,” starring Chris O’Donnell and rapper LL Cool J as a former Navy SEAL, and will air directly after “NCIS” on Tuesday. Another new series, “Three Rivers,” is a medical drama about organ donation.

The network announced Wednesday that it’s canceling “Without a Trace,” “The Unit,” “The Eleventh Hour,” “Worst Week,” “The Ex List” and “Flashpoint.”

David Bauder, Associated Press

ABC and NBC are taking opposite approaches to filling their fall schedules.

ABC will add 11 new programs to its lineup, including a Wednesday night sitcom schedule starring Courteney Cox, Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton and Ed O’Neil.

NBC will debut only three of its seven new shows in the fall, because five hours of its prime-time schedule go to Jay Leno for a prime-time talk show at 10 p.m.

Among the details announced Tuesday:


The large order of new shows at ABC includes:

•“Cougar Town”: Cox plays a recently divorced single mother.

•“The Deep End”: Matt Long stars in this drama about young lawyers.

•“Eastwick”: Rebecca Romijn stars in this series based on “The Witches of Eastwick.”

•“Flash Forward”: The world is given a glimpse of the future. Joseph Fiennes stars.

•“The Forgotten”: A team of amateurs works on cases involving unidentified victims.

•“Hank”: Grammer plays a titan of industry who finds himself out of work.

•“Happy Town”: Haplin, Minn., has a dark secret.

•“The Middle”: Heaton stars in this story of life in the middle class.

•“Modern Family”: An “Office”-style faux documentary about modern families. O’Neill stars.

•“Shark Tank”: A Mark Burnett reality show about budding entrepreneurs getting the chance to make their dreams come true.

In addition, the network is bringing back the ratings-weak “Better Off Ted,” “Castle,” “Scrubs” and “True Beauty.”

To make way for the new shows, ABC has canceled “Samantha Who?,” “Opportunity Knocks,” “Motherhood,” “Eli Stone,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Cupid,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Life on Mars,” “The Unusuals” and “According to Jim.”

Bob Saget’s “Surviving Suburbia” will air this summer. There is no word on its fate after that.


“Trauma,” a medical series starring Derek Luke and Cliff Curtis; “Community,” a Chevy Chase vehicle about students at a community college; and “Parenthood,” a small-screen version of the Ron Howard/Brian Grazer family film drama, will be the only new shows to debut in the fall.

“Day One,” “Mercy,” “100 Questions” and “The Marriage Ref” will be added after NBC’s coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in February.

A few “Weekend Update” specials from “Saturday Night Live” will air on Thursday nights.

Despite rumors of impending demise, NBC renewed “Law & Order” and “Chuck.” The network loses “My Name Is Earl,” “Medium” (which moves to CBS), “My Own Worst Enemy,” “Knight Rider,” “Lipstick Jungle,” “Kath & Kim,” “ER,” “Crusoe,” “Life” and “Deal or No Deal.”

“Friday Night Lights,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Breakthrough with Tony Robbins” and “Dateline NBC” will air in summer of 2010.

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