ABC Starting From Scratch on Wednesdays

Crazy ABC thinks it can mount an entirely new Wednesday night lineup of four new comedies and one new drama, because every one of the new series is either a) graced with the pre-sold faces of Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton, Ed O'Neill, or Courteney Cox, or b) based on an old movie that did well at the box office in the late 80's.

In order, those shows are: "Hank," "The Middle," "Modern Family," "Cougar Town," and "Eastwick" (as in "Witches of Eastwick").

Mark Burnett's new damn-the-recession-full-speed-ahead reality series "Shark Tank" will attempt to fill the gaping hole left by the demise of "According to Jim" Tuesdays at 8.

This time, "Jim" is not just nearly dead, it's really, most sincerely dead, ABC programming chief Steve McPherson swore -- on the record -- in response to journalists' grilling at ABC's Manhattan HQ this morning.

ABC thinks viewers will flock to "Shark Tank," in which people beg five "multi-millionaire tycoons" to cough up some cash to help them fund business schemes they've hatched. Imagine the non-celebrity editions of "The Apprentice" -- which is also Burnett's -- only with competitors asking Donald Trump for money.

New "Flash Forward" is about a world in which everyone blacked out for several seconds and had visions of where they'd be on April 29, 2010 without, apparently, bothering to ask whether there would be any newspapers around, or who the finalists would be on "American Idol." Instead of focusing on the important issues, a chick married to Joseph Fiennes gets her knickers all in a knot because she saw herself with another man -- stupid woman, you're married to Joseph Fiennes. Meanwhile, some non-pregnant chick saw herself pretty pregnant, and some guy did not see himself at all a year from now. Okay, we do feel bad for that guy.

Speaking of gaping holes, ABC thinks it has finally fixed its schedule's shocking lack of Jerry Bruckheimer procedural crime dramas by giving his new "The Forgotten" one of the best time slots on its schedule -- Tuesdays after the "Dancing with the Stars" results show. It's about a group of non-pros who solve cold murder cases with anonymous victims, as in "forgotten" people.

"Ugly Betty" has been shipped off to Fridays at 9 where, McPherson said, he hopes it will do some "Ghost Whisperer"-like business. Poor "Betty" -- it's only hope is that it's being paired with "Supernanny."

Getting back to ABC's crazy Wednesday:

"Hank" stars Grammer as a former titan of industry who loses his job and most of his money and has to move himself and his family back to his middle-class, middle-America neighborhood. Tom Werner ("Roseanne") is among the exec producers.

Patricia Heaton is the middle-class wife and mom of three living in the middle of Indiana, which purports to be the middle of the country, in "The Middle."

Ed O'Neill is the husband in one of three families profiled in the mockumentary comedy "Modern Family," which ABC apparently has highest hopes for because they are screening it in its entirety to advertisers during their new-schedule unveiling this afternoon.

"Cougar Town" stars Courteney Cox as a recently divorced single mom grappling with 40-dom as a single-ton. It's from Bill Lawrence.

And, at 10, "Eastwick' is based on the novel by John Updike, which then got turned into the flick, about three women who are witches and live in a small town in New England that's the region of the country with the best soil for breeding witches. This time around, the witches are Rebecca Romijn, Lindsay Price and Jaime Ray Newman. No, there are no non-hot witches. We're guessing that's because if you're a witch and you're not hot, one of the first things you do with your powers is fix that.

And, in other ABC news, "Scrubs" is back and so is Zac, though only for 6 of the show's 13 episodes ordered. It's being held back to pair with "Better Off Ted," which will return to the lineup once "Dance's" fall run is wrapped.

Here's ABC's schedule for fall of the 2009-10 TV season:


8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars" (two-hours)
10:00 p.m. "Castle"

8:00 p.m. "Shark Tank"
9:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars the Results Show"
10:00 p.m. "The Forgotten"

8:00 p.m. "Hank"
8:30 p.m. "The Middle"
9:00 p.m. "Modern Family"
9:30 p.m. "Cougar Town"
10:00 p.m. "Eastwick"

8:00 p.m. "Flash Forward"
9:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"
10:00 p.m. "Private Practice"

8:00 p.m. "Supernanny"
9:00 p.m. "Ugly Betty"
10:00 p.m. "20/20"

8:00 p.m. "Saturday Night College Football"

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"

By Lisa de Moraes  |  May 19, 2009; 12:39 PM ET Broadcast TV Upfronts 2009
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Wait, so "Better off Ted" is back? Color me please and suprised.

That said, that whole line of Wed. comedies sounds *Dreadful*.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 19, 2009 1:44 PM

Curses to ABC - Ugly Betty should not be shipped to Fridays. Will purposely not watch the stupid sounding Flash Forward in protest.

Posted by: suzannepdc | May 19, 2009 2:09 PM

Yay about Castle and Chuck - I am very happy about those renewals.

Not really surprised by anything else except maybe Dollhouse (who isn't) and Scrubs.

Should be an interesting season.

By the way, thanks, Lisa, for spoiling the plot line of Flashforward without warning.

Posted by: mwalkerg | May 19, 2009 2:13 PM

Hurray for Castle! My favorite primetime buttmunch (read: Castle) and his super hot, surprisingly cool detective stalkee return to liven up my Monday nights~ Huzzah~

Posted by: Kureno | May 19, 2009 2:17 PM

do you have proof readers? it's 2009-2010 tv season.

Posted by: ninnafaye | May 19, 2009 2:44 PM

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