Today in New York, ABC unveiled its most passive fall launch schedule ever, with just two new shows joining the network.
And one of those is very seen-it-before: Life On Mars is a reversioning of the British hit. David E. Kelley was on board to write and produce but has handed off to the team behind October Road (which is canceled). Life On Mars is about a cop who gets whacked on the head and knocked clear back to the '70s, where he is now a Starsky and Hutch cop clone.
The other new show is the reality series Opportunity Knocks, which is produced by Ashton Kutcher. The series takes a game show to people's houses, setting up sets and cameras and prizes then quizzing the household about each other.
ABC also picked up Scrubs from NBC, where it bounced between 17 different days and timeslots in the last seven or eight seasons. It has always been produced by Touchstone TV, a division of ABC/Disney.
Shows that were launched last season--and then shelved due to the 100-day writers strike--are being re-launched like new shows, including Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Private Practice and Samantha Who?, along with mid-season entry Eli Stone. Bubble series Boston Legal (starring William Shatner and James Spader, above) will be back but just for a fifth and final season of 13 episodes. Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters, Grey's Anatomy and Ugly Betty will also be back, as will Lost (starting in January).
Not being renewed are failed rookies Cavemen and Carpoolers, as well as Miss-Guided, Notes From the Underbelly Men In Trees, October Road, Big Shots, Cashmere Mafia and Women's Murder Club. Oprah's Big Give, along with Just For Laughs, are also toast at ABC.
Shockingly, According To Jim has been renewed, as was played out crap like The Bachelor, which shows you just how reluctant ABC was to order anything new. Entertainment president Stephen McPherson explained at the upfront that with the strike taking out the pilot season, he just didn't feel comfortable going forward on shows without pilots.
Still, ABC, like just about everybody else in broadcast television, has seen ratings crater in the past 15 months. The nets can't afford to be too passive, but they also can't afford to be too aggressive.
ABC also ordered The Goode Family, an animated series from King Of The Hill creator Mike Judge, as a mid-season replacement. Judge will also lend voice in this show about a family that just want to do the right thing.