ABC Upfront: Unwraps Six Degrees, The Nine; Shifts Grey's to Thursdays

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ABC Upfront: Unwraps Six Degrees, The Nine; Shifts Grey's to Thursdays

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Marc Berman[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]MAY 16, 2006 -

[/FONT][FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]In a schedule encompassing changes on six nights of the week (excluding Monday and including the unprecedented move of Grey's Anatomy to Thursday at 9 p.m.), ABC will introduce 10 new series this fall, with five more waiting in the wings for midseason.

The network, in total, has announced 15 new series for 2006-07, including six comedies, six dramas, and three non-scripted hours.

Included are the returns of Dancing With the Stars, which will anchor Tuesday and Wednesday; new time periods for According To Jim (which will be paired with George Lopez in midseason) and the aforementioned Grey’s Anatomy; the arrival of College Football on Saturday; and the notable absence of veteran newsmagazine Primetime Live.

Also not returning on ABC are sitcoms Hope & Faith, Freddie, Less Than Perfect, Rodney and Sons & Daughters; dramas Commander in Chief, Invasion, In Justice and The Evidence; and docudrama Miracle Workers. American Inventor, which concludes season one this week, has been picked-up for midseason.

Arguably the boldest move of the season, Grey’s Anatomy will face CBS’ dominant CSI and NBC’s upcoming Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on Thursday. The CW is expected to keep Supernatural in the hour. Grey’s Anatomy will lead into new drama Six Degrees, the story of six strangers in New York City who meet under an unusual web of circumstances, while new family drama Brothers & Sisters will inherit the protected Desperate Housewives Sunday 10 p.m. lead-out slot.

Leading out of Lost on Wednesday at 10 p.m. is The Nine, the story of nine people who face an unexpected twist of faith after they are all held hostage in a 52-hour standoff during a bank robbery attempt

Particularly surprising on ABC was the return of ratings-challenged Monday drama what About Brian, and the arrival of College Football as an original alternative for viewers on programming starved Saturday.

Sharing time periods will be The Bachelor and Supernanny in the Monday 9 p.m. hour; Dancing With the Stars and new game show Set For the Rest of Your Life at 8 p.m. on Tuesday; and returnees George Lopez and According To Jim in the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour once Dancing With the Stars concludes.

Here is ABC’s fall 2006 prime-time schedule with new shows in caps, followed by the new program descriptions:

Monday
8:00 p.m. Wife Swap
9:00 p.m. The Bachelor/Supernanny
10:00 p.m. What About Brian

Tuesday
8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (new day) / SET FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE
9:00 p.m. LET’S ROB…
9:30 p.m. HELP ME HELP YOU
10:00 p.m. Boston Legal

Wednesday
8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (new day) / George Lopez and According to Jim (new day)
9:00 p.m. Lost
10:00 p.m. THE NINE

Thursday
8:00 p.m. BIG DAY
8:30 p.m. NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY
9:00 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy (new day and time)
10:00 p.m. SIX DEGREES

Friday
8:00 p.m. BETTY THE UGLY
9:00 p.m. MEN IN TREES
10:00 p.m. 20/20

Saturday
8:00 p.m. ABC SATURDAY NIGHT COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Sunday
7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos
8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives
10:00 p.m. BROTHERS & SISTERS

New Program Descriptions

Dramas

BROTHERS & SISTERS
After the patriarch of a large but scattered family dies unexpectedly, the children must work to balance their personal lives with family business, including the trials of raising an autistic child. Former Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart leads an ensemble cast that includes Dave Annable, Betty Buckley (Eight is Enough), John Pyper Ferguson, Balthazar Getty, Gage Golightly, Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under), Jonathan LaPaglia, Sarah Jane Morris, Jimmy Pinchak, Ron Rifkin, and thirtysomething Emmy winner Patricia Wettig

DAY BREAK (midseason)
A police detective accused of shooting the state attorney tries to prove his innocence after being framed for a crime he did not commit. Taye Diggs (Kevin Hill), Adam Baldwin, Meta Golding, Moon Goodblood, Victoria Pratt, and Ramon Rodriguez star.

MEN IN TREES
During a speaking engagement in Alaska, a relationship coach and successful author (Anne Heche) discovers that her fiancé is cheating on her. After canceling the wedding, and getting caught in an Alaskan snowstorm, she begins to enjoy her new surroundings and decides to stay there. Abraham Benrubi (ER), Suleka Mathews, Derek Richardson, James Tupper, and former Good Times dad John Amos co-star.

THE NINE
Nine people face an unexpected twist of faith after they are all held hostage in a 52-hour standoff during a botched bank robbery attempt. Chi McBride (Boston Public), Timothy Daly (Wing), and Scott Wolf (Everwood, Party of Five) lead the ensemble cast.

SIX DEGREES
Six strangers living in New York City become friends after eventually meeting again through a mysterious web of happenstance and coincidence. The cast includes Erika Christensen, Hope Davis, Jay Hernandez, Dorian Missick, Bridget Moynihan, and Campbell Scott. Lost and Alias creator J.J. Abrams in an executive producer.

TRAVELER (midseason)
After two well-educated friends pull a stunt by rollerblading at a famous New York museum, they are accused of being terrorists when the museum is bombed. Matt Bomer, Steven Culp (Desperate Housewives), Viola Davis, Logan Marshall-Green, and Aaron Stanford star.

----------

Comedies

BETTY THE UGLY
An oversized square peg is hired as the assistant for the new head of a top fashion magazine because she is one of the few women he will probably not hit on. Repulsed at first, Betty will win him over with her intelligence and efficiency. The cast includes Alan Dale, America Ferrera, Mark Indelicato, Ashley Jensen, Eric Mabius, Becki Newton, Ana Ortiz, Tony Plana, and recent South Beach star Vanessa L Williams

BIG DAY
The meticulous planning of the wedding of a young couple is broken down in 22 episodes (or less, of course, if there is no audience). Josh Cooke, Kurt Fuller, former Just Shoot Me star Wendie Malick, Steve Rannazzisi, Miriam Shor, Marla Sokoloff, and Stephnie Weir star.

HELP ME HELP YOU
Former Cheers/Becker Ted Danson heads back to the world of sitcoms in this single camera, half-hour comedy about people in the same therapy group. Jere Burns (Dear John), Charlie Finn, Suzy Nakamura, Darlene Hunt and Jim Rash co-star.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY (midseason)
Four friends in theirs 30s, who have not seen each other since their high school days, are reunited for different reasons in a hospital emergency room. The cast includes former Full House/Summerland star Lori Loughlin, Jonathon Silverman, David Arquette, Greg Germann, Kelly Hu, and Nicholas Roget-King.

LET’S ROB…
In the wake of a co-worker’s death, an aging janitor (Donal Logue) recruits a group of misfits for a heist to finance his dreams of opening a bar. The cast also includes Josh Grisetti, Maz Jobrani, Koji Kataoka, Kevin Michael Richardson, Lenny Venito, and Sofia Vergara. Mick Jagger guest stars in the pilot.

NOTES FROM THE UNDERBELLY
After a woman who is dead-set on not having children finds out she is expecting, she and her husband try to keep it a secret from their friends. Jennifer Westfeldt, Peter Cambor, Rachel Harris, and Michael Weaver star.

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Non-Scripted

GREG BEHRENDT’S WAKE-UP CALL (midseason)
The acclaimed author and upcoming syndicated talk show host will address one couple’s major issues and use his knowledge of relationships to give them the tools to fix theirs.

JUST FOR LAUGHS (midseason)
Practical jokes, hidden cameras and a few unsuspecting victims will be the focus of this Candid Camera like comedy/reality series.

SET FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (midseason)
In this game show with a relationship twist, contestants play for the opportunity to receive a monthly check in an undisclosed amount for the rest of his or her lives.
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