TWO NEW COMEDIES, SEVEN NEW DRAMAS, TWO NEW ALTERNATIVE SERIES JOIN ABC'S 2004-2005 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
In Addition to the Previously Announced
David E. Kelley Legal Drama, "The Practice: Fleet Street,"
ABC Adds "The Benefactor," "Desperate Housewives," "Life As We Know It,"
"Lost," "Rodney," "Savages" and "Wife Swap" to its Fall Lineup
"Blind Justice" to Premiere at the Conclusion of "NYPD Blue";
"Alias" to Premiere at the Conclusion of "Desperate Housewives";
"Eyes" and "Grey's Anatomy" Also Slated for Midseason
"8 Simple Rules" and "Less than Perfect" Also Renewed for Fall
LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- Stephen McPherson, president, ABC Primetime Entertainment, today outlined ABC's plans for next season and announced the network's new 2004-2005 fall schedule. The new schedule includes the addition of eight new entertainment series -- two comedies, four dramas and two alternative series -- plus three midseason dramas.
Mr. McPherson spoke before representatives of the advertising and media communities at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York.
The new fall schedule includes new comedy series "Rodney" and "Savages," dramas "Desperate Housewives," "Life As We Know It," "Lost" and "The Practice: Fleet Street," and new alternative series "Wife Swap" and "The Benefactor."
In addition Mr. McPherson announced three drama series for midseason: "Blind Justice," "Eyes" and "Grey's Anatomy."
Commenting on the announcement, Mr. McPherson said: "Every night we ask tens of millions of Americans to invite us into their homes, and it's our responsibility to give them a reason to let us stay. I believe these programs, and this schedule, does just that."
ABC's complete 22-hour fall primetime schedule, which will premiere in September, is as follows (all times listed are Eastern, with new shows in bold):
DAY TIME SERIES
8:00 p.m. "The Benefactor"
9:00 p.m. "Monday Night Football" (through January)
(Following the culmination of Monday Night Football in January)
8:00 p.m. ABC Monday Night Movie (in January after football)
10:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy" (in January after football)
8:00 p.m. "My Wife and Kids" (new night)
8:30 p.m. "George Lopez" (new night and time)
9:00 p.m. "According to Jim"
9:30 p.m. "Rodney"
10:00 p.m. "NYPD Blue" / "Blind Justice" (midseason)
8:00 p.m. "Lost"
9:00 p.m. "The Bachelor"
10:00 p.m. "Wife Swap"
8:00 p.m. "Extreme Makeover" (new time period)
9:00 p.m. "Life As We Know It"
10:00 p.m. "Primetime Live" (new title)
8:00 p.m. "8 Simple Rules" (new night)
8:30 p.m. "Savages"
9:00 p.m. "Hope & Faith"
9:30 p.m. "Less than Perfect" (new night)
10:00 p.m. "20/20"
8:00 p.m. "Wonderful World of Disney"
7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"
8:00 p.m. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
9:00 p.m. "Desperate Housewives" / "Alias" (midseason)
10:00 p.m. "The Practice: Fleet Street"
Descriptions of the 11 entertainment series joining ABC's primetime schedule next season, listed in alphabetical order, follow (all times are Eastern):
"The Benefactor" (one-hour alternative series, Monday, 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) � What would you do for a million dollars? Billionaire businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is about to find out because he is "The Benefactor," and he's set to give away a million bucks to a complete stranger. Why has he agreed to give away such a large sum of money? Because he can't wait to figure out how America's applicants will prove to him that they deserve it! Sixteen contestants will vie for the money in a competition full of emotional, dramatic challenges � tests of character, intelligence, heart and maybe a little bit of luck.
Executive Producers: David Young, Clay Newbill and Todd Wagner
Production Entities: 12 Yard Productions, 29 29 Productions
"Desperate Housewives" (one-hour drama, Sunday, 9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) -- Looking down on her friends and family isn't a way of life for Mary Alice Scott. It's a way of death. One day, in her perfect house, in the loveliest of suburbs, Mary Alice ended it all. Now she's taking us into the lives of her family, friends and neighbors, commenting from her elevated POV. Her husband's acting suspicious, the neighbors are talking, and her girlfriends are wondering why one of their own would do something so rash� and so messy.
There's Susan, the divorc�e who goes to extraordinary lengths for love. Lynette, the ex-career woman who traded the boardroom for boredom, mixed with moments of sheer panic. Bree, the Martha Stewart on steroids, whose family is about to mutiny. And Gabrielle, the ex-model with everything she always wanted � a rich husband, a big house � so what is she doing with the 17-year-old gardener? As for Mary Alice's husband, Paul, there must be a good reason why he's digging up the pool in the middle of the night.
From her unique vantage point, Mary Alice sees more now than she ever did alive, and she's planning to share all the delicious secrets that hide behind every neighbor's closed door in this seemingly perfect American suburb. The writer of "Melrose Place" and "General Hospital" (executive producer Charles Pratt Jr.) has helped create a primetime soap with a truly contemporary take on happily ever after.
Sheryl Lee ("Twin Peaks"): Mary Alice Scott
Mark Moses ("Saving Jessica Lynch"): Paul Young
Cody Kasch ("Normal, Ohio"): Zack Young
Teri Hatcher ("Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman"): Susan Mayer
Andrea Bowen ("That Was Then"): Jenna Mayer
Marcia Cross ("Melrose Place," "Everwood"): Bree Van De Kamp
Michael Reilly Burke ("Providence"): Rex Van De Kamp
Felicity Huffman ("Sports Night"): Lynette Scavo
Eva Longoria ("Dragnet"): Gabrielle Solis
Ricardo Antonio Chavira ("The Alamo"): Carlos Solis
James Denton ("The Pretender"): Mike Delfino
Kyle Searles ("7th Heaven"): John
Executive Producer/Writer: Marc Cherry ("The Golden Girls")
Executive Producers: Charles Pratt Jr. ("Melrose Place"), Michael Edelstein ("Threat Matrix"), Tom Spezialy ("The District," "Ed")
Pilot Director: Charles McDougall
Production Entity: Touchstone Television
"Life As We Know It" (one-hour drama, Thursday, 9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) -- They say teenage boys think about sex every 15 seconds. That's 240 times an hour. And in between they cram everything else: Cheating moms. Interfering dads. Sex. Secret crushes. Pop quizzes. Sex. Clueless teachers. School cliques. Sex. It's enough to make a kid's head explode.
Melvin Burgess' breakthrough novel is the basis for this series about three hormone-charged teenage boys who are trying to do something even harder than losing their virginity, and that's to grow up without totally freaking out. There's Dino, the handsome jock with the secret sensitive side; Jonathan, the artist who sees life through a camera lens; and Ben, the straight-A student who still can't make his parents happy. You know them. You grew up with them. Maybe you were them.
This coming of age drama in the tradition of "Stand By Me" and "The Outsiders" comes to ABC from the writers of "Freaks & Geeks" and "Just Shoot Me."
Sean Faris (MTV's "Undressed"): Dino Whitman
Jon Foster ("Life As a House"): Ben Conner
Chris Lowell: Jonathan Fields
Missy Peregrym: Jackie
Kelly Osbourne (MTV's "The Osbournes"): Deborah
D.B. Sweeney ("Brother Bear"): Michael Whitman
Lisa Darr ("Popular"): Annie Whitman
Marguerite Moreau ("Runaway Jury"): Ms. Monica Young
Jessica Lucas: Sue
Executive Producers/Writers: Gabe Sachs ("Freaks & Geeks," "Just Shoot Me"), Jeff Judah ("Freaks & Geeks," "Just Shoot Me")
Executive Producers: Stu Bloomberg, Francie Calfo
Co-Executive Producer/Pilot Director: Michael Engler ("Keen Eddie")
Production Entities: Sachs/Judah, Cabloom!, Touchstone Television
"Lost" (one-hour drama, Wednesday, 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) -- Out of the blackness the first thing Jack senses is pain. Then burning sun. A Bamboo forest. Smoke. Screams. With a rush comes the horrible awareness that the plane he was on tore apart in mid-air and crashed on a Pacific island. From there it's a blur, as his doctor's instinct kicks in: people need his help.
Stripped of everything, the 48 survivors scavenge what they can from the plane for their survival. Some panic. Some pin their hopes on rescue. A few find inner strength they never knew they had�like Kate who, with no medical training, suddenly finds herself suturing the doctor's wounds. The band of friends, family, enemies and strangers must work together against the cruel weather and harsh terrain. But the intense howls of the mysterious creatures stalking the jungle fill them all with fear. Fortunately, thanks to the calm leadership of quick-thinking Jack and level-headed Kate, they have hope. But even heroes have secrets, as the survivors will come to learn.
From J.J. Abrams, the creator of "Alias," comes an action-packed adventure that will bring out the very best and the very worst in the people who are lost.
Evangeline Lilly: Kate
Ian Somerhalder ("Life As a House"): Boone
Dominic Monaghan ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy): Charlie
Jorge Garcia: Hurley
Maggie Grace ("Oliver Beene"): Shannon
Malcolm David Kelley ("Antwone Fisher"): Walt
Naveen Andrews ("The English Patient"): Sayid
Harold Perrineau ("Oz"): Michael
Josh Holloway: Sawyer
Matthew Fox ("Party of Five"): Jack
Terry O'Quinn ("Primal Fear"): Locke
Daniel Dae Kim ("24"): Jin
Yunjin Kim: Sun
Executive Producers/Writers: J. J. Abrams ("Alias," "Felicity"), Damon Lindelof ("Crossing Jordan"), Executive Producer: Bryan Burk ("Alias")
Pilot Director: J. J. Abrams
Production Entities: Bad Robot, Touchstone Television
"The Practice: Fleet Street" (one-hour drama, Sunday, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) � Alan Shore and Denny Crane lead the brigade of high-priced civil litigators in an upscale Boston law firm in a series focusing on the professional and personal lives of brilliant, but often emotionally-challenged, attorneys. Fast-paced, darkly comedic, the series will confront social issues, moral conscience, safe sex, pursuit of happiness and money, with varying degrees of priority. Escape to the law firm on One Fleet Street.�where anything goes� and often will.
James Spader ("The Practice"): Alan Shore
William Shatner ("The Practice," "Star Trek"): Denny Crane
Rhona Mitra ("The Practice," "Sweet Home Alabama"): Tara Wilson
Lake Bell ("The Practice," "Miss Match"): Sally Heep
Executive Producer/Writer: David E. Kelley ("The Practice," "Ally McBeal," "Picket Fences")
Executive Producer: Bill D'Elia ("The Practice," "Chicago Hope")
Production Entities: David E. Kelley Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
"Rodney" (half-hour comedy, Tuesday, 9:30-10:00 p.m., ET) -- Stand-up comedian Rodney Carrington would like to take you to the middle of real, everyday America. In the tradition of "Home Improvement" and "Roseanne" comes a down-to-earth guy's guy who, with his own heartland intelligence, speaks the truth.
Rodney is quitting or getting fired from jobs he hates while doing stand-up in dive bars at night. He may not have much money, but he still finds excitement. He's not afraid to walk into a department store naked on a dare. Not afraid to take credit for flowers someone else sent his wife. Not afraid to get between his fighting boys. Not afraid to tell his wife he wants to make stand-up his career. He's going to figure out how to find happiness while being the best damn husband, dad and son he knows how to be.
Rodney Carrington: Rodney Hamilton
Jennifer Aspen ("Party of Five"): Trina Hamilton
Amy Pietz ("Caroline in the City"): Charlie
Nick Searcy: Barry
Oliver Davis: Jack Hamilton
Matthew Josten: Bo Hamilton
Executive Producer/Writer: Ric Swartzlander ("The Ellen Show")
Executive Producer: David Himelfarb ("My Wife and Kids")
Pilot Director: Robert Berlinger
Production Entity: Touchstone Television
"Savages" (half-hour comedy, Friday, 8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) � Meet the Savage brothers. They smell. They're slobs. And they love it that way. Executive producer Mel Gibson's real life experiences of raising a brood of boys provide the basis for a take-no-prisoners comedy.
Raised by their single dad, the Savage boys have had a succession of housekeepers � over 20 at last count � to pick up after them. Well, today that comes to an end. Dad Nick wants his boys to learn the skills women don't seem to take so much joy in anymore � you know, cooking, cleaning, laundry. Somehow this dad is going to turn his loutish boys into independent men, the kind any girl could take home to her mother. This is going to be some battle because Nick, just like his sons, is still a boy at heart.
Producers Mike Scully and Julie Thacker Scully, writers for "The Simpsons," add their own family experience into the mix for a funny, honest take on raising kids. It reminds us that children come with their own personalities and problems, and that none of them comes with instructions.
Keith Carradine ("Deadwood"): Nick
Andrew Eiden: Sam
Shaun Sipos ("Final Destination 2"): Jack
Erik von Detten ("The Princess Diaries"): Chris
Evan Ellingson: Kyle
Jason Dolley: T.J.
Vincent Ventresca ("Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion"): Jimmy
Executive Producers/Writers: Mike Scully ("The Simpsons," "Everybody Loves Raymond"), Julie Thacker-Scully ("The Simpsons")
Executive Producer/Pilot Director: Mel Gibson
Executive Producer: Bruce Davey
Production Entities: Nothing Can Go Wrong Now Productions and Icon Productions in association with NBC Universal Television
"Wife Swap" (one-hour alternative series, Wednesday, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) -- Already a smash hit in the UK and most recently awarded a BAFTA, the UK's most prestigious television award, "Wife Swap" gives two families the rare opportunity to witness what it's like to live someone else's life and experiences. Two matriarchs from two households trade places for 10 days. For the first five days of the challenge, they must obey the rules of the new family's lifestyle and adopt their daily routine � parenting, shopping, housework, creating budgets and social life. For the remaining five days, these women get to run the new house their own way � a radical shock to both families. This intense new series taps into America's voyeuristic tendencies and desires to judge how others run their households, raise their children and treat their spouses. Never before has a reality series taken such an honest inside look at the American family.
Executive Producers: Michael Davies, Stephen Lambert, Jenny Crowther
Production Entities: RDF Media, Diplomatic
"Blind Justice" (one-hour drama, Tuesday, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET�at the conclusion of "NYPD Blue") -- A heist gone wrong. A gunman with an AK-47. Three officers trapped without ammo. His partner frozen in fear, Detective Jim Dunbar � without hesitation�took action of intense bravery that killed the gunman, saved the officers and made him a hero. He also took a bullet that blinded him forever.
Most officers injured in the line of duty opt for desk jobs or early retirement. Not Dunbar. He's rehabilitated both body and attitude and fought his way back to active duty. His fresh start at a new precinct is threatened by the simple truth that no one really wants him to work there. His new partner, Karen Bettencourt, sure as hell doesn't trust him to cover her back. They're all in for the shock of their lives, because being blind makes Dunbar a better cop than he ever has been.
Steven Bochco's new drama stars "ER's" Ron Eldard as Dunbar, and tackles the issue of handicapped employees head-on. Unique visual effects give us a window on what Dunbar "sees" with his remaining senses, as he learns to be a better cop and a better man. He has a long way to go to conquer his demons, but at least he's back on the streets.
Ron Eldard ("ER"): Detective Jim Dunbar
Marisol Nichols ("Resurrection Blvd."): Karen Bettancourt
Rena Sofer ("Just Shoot Me"): Christie Dunbar
Reno Wilson ("The Hoop Life"): Tom Selway
Frank Grillo ("Minority Report"): Marty Russo
Michael Gaston ("High Crimes"): Lt. Gary Fisk
Executives Producers/Writers: Nicholas Wootton ("NYPD Blue"), Matt Olmstead ("NYPD Blue"), Bill Clark ("NYPD Blue")
Executive Producer: Steven Bochco ("NYPD Blue")
Pilot Director: Gary Fleder
Production Entities: Steven Bochco Productions, Paramount Television
"Eyes" (one-hour drama) -- When you're in trouble or faced with an insurmountable problem� When you can't risk adverse publicity or turning to the cops... When you've got everything to lose, but can still afford their fees... You turn to Judd Risk Management, a 21st century P.I. firm whose job is to make their clients' problems go away, quickly and quietly.
With each case able to destroy a company, topple a personal fortune or change the face of governments, this isn't just a business; it's a deadly game with real victims. Founder Harlan Judd has recruited a team whose personal dramas are as colorful as some of their targets. But he is an honest man in a world that demands unorthodox methods and a willingness to bend the law.
From the producer of "Fastlane" comes a drama full of bluffs, blackmails and intrigue.
Tim Daly ("Wings," "Stephen King's Storm of the Century"): Harlan Judd
Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon ("NYPD Blue"): Nora Shea
Reg Rogers ("Analyze That"): Danny Agermeyer
Natalie Zea ("Passions"): Trish Agermeyer
A.J. Langer ("My So-Called Life"): Meg Bardo
Rick Worthy ("Collateral Damage"): Chris Didion
Laura Leighton ("Melrose Place"): Leslie Town
Eric Mabius ("The L Word"): Jeff McCann
Executive Producer/Writer: John McNamara ("Fastlane," "Profit")
Pilot Director: John Amiel
Production Entities: McNamara Paper Products, Warner Bros. Television
"Grey's Anatomy" (one-hour drama, Monday, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET � at the conclusion of Monday Night Football) -- Welcome to Grace Hospital. The toughest surgical residency program west of Harvard. It's a brutal training ground for the newest medical recruits.
Meet Meredith, Izzie and Christina. Yesterday they were students. Today they're doctors. And if they can make it through seven years of the finest hell Grace has to offer, they'll be surgeons. But the rest of life doesn't stop just because their residency is tough, so this trio will also have to deal with jealous boyfriends and sick parents, one night stands and housing crises, with only each other to rely on.
From Shonda Rhimes, the writer of "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," comes a series about young women who are doctors; and doctors who are still young women.
Ellen Pompeo ("Old School," "Catch Me If You Can"): Meredith Grey
Patrick Dempsey ("Once & Again"): Derek Shepherd
James Pickens, Jr. ("How Stella Got Her Groove Back"): Richard Webber
T.R. Knight: George O'Malley
Sandra Oh ("Under the Tuscan Sun," "Arliss"): Christina Yang
Katherine Heigl ("Roswell"): Isobel "Izzie" Stevens
Chandra Wilson: Miranda Bailey
Isaiah Washington ("Out of Sight"): Dr. Preston Burke
Executive Producer/Writer: Shonda Rhimes ("Introducing Dorothy Dandridge")
Executive Producers: Mark Gordon ("Saving Private Ryan"), James Parriott ("Threat Matrix"), Betsy Beers ("200 Cigarettes")
Pilot Director: Peter Horton
Production Entity: Touchstone Television