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ABC announces three scripted series for summer

Seeking to pry loose cable networks' iron grip on the summer TV season, broadcast networks are unveiling summer schedules that with actual scripted series included.
And not just Summer Burnoff Theatre. Genuine scripted, 13-episodes-ordered stuff.

Late Wednesday, ABC announced a summer schedule that had a whopping three new scripted series -- as well as a boatload of reality programming -- including yet another "Bachelor" spinoff called -- wait for it -- "Bachelor Pad."

On Sundays at 9, starting in late June, where ABC now airs "Desperate Housewives," about a community that's is the image of suburban bliss but has dark secrets buried just beneath the surface, the network will instead air "The Gates," about a community that's is the image of suburban bliss but which has dark secrets buried just beneath the surface -- only, presumably, much cheaper to make. And, starring Frank Grillo ("Prison Break").

At 10 on Sundays, also starting in late June, in place of ABC's pretty, dysfunctional family drama "Brothers and Sisters," ABC will instead air a dramedy about a pretty, dysfunctional family of small-time criminals who try to go straight after Dad goes to the hoosegow. It's called "Scoundrels" and stars Virginia Madsen and David James Elliott.

On Thursdays at 9, beginning June 24, in the spot where sexy rookie docs work in a big city hospital where even the smallest mistake can have life-or-death consequences ("Grey's Anatomy"), ABC will put "Rookie Blue," about sexy rookie cops working in big city policing where even the smallest mistake can have life-or-death consequences. "Rookie Blue" is produced in Canada which means it too is cheaper. Missy Peregrym stars.

You'll notice all three new scripted series are replacing heavily serialized shows, summer reruns of which tend to do test-pattern ratings.

Plus, ABC on Tuesdays starting June 29, ABC will debut our new favorite reality series, "Downfall," in which contestants will play a trivia game against the clock while on top of a tall building in a major city. If they play a perfect game they will win millions of dollars worth of cash and prizes. If they mess up, their winnings will literally be tossed off the side of the skyscraper -- after which, presumably, people on the street below will kill each other in an effort to scoop up the loot. Can't wait to find out which city has volunteered to host this one.

And on Mondays at 8 starting Aug. 9 -- how will we stand the wait -- ABC will air "Bachelor Pad," in which 20 of the most unforgettable contestants/9suitors from "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" series past will reunite under one roof. These losers ..... I mean participants ..... will live in a house together, doing some kind of competition. The network says it will also offer the 20 now-single contestants "a second chance at finding love." Or at least fame.

Then, there's the more pedestrian return of "The Bachelorette," Mondays at 9 starting May 24, followed by the Tyra Banks-cum-Ashton Kutcher reality series "True Beauty," about hot young people who think they're being judged by their looks but who are actually getting judged based on their personalities -- like Tyra and Ashton were early in their careers.

Also coming back to ABC this summer: obstacle course series "Wipeout," as well as "Shaq VS," in which Shaquille O'Neal faces off against top athletes, and "Dating in the Dark," in which a bunch of singletons get together in a dark room and try to get to know one another.

ABC is not the first broadcast network to try to plant its flag in the summer with original scripted series programming.

Fox has already announced its new summer cop comedy, "The Good Guys," starring Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks, which will air Monday nights and debut in early June (joined by original episodes of "Lie to Me," which Fox swears is not being burned off).

And last month NBC announced it'll air two new summer series, a comedy called "100 Questions," and a mystery series called "Persons Unknown."

"100 Questions" will air on Thursday nights, naturally; it stars Sophie Winkleman as a chick who joins and online dating site and takes a 100-question compatibility test.

"Persons Unknown" follows a group of strangers who must come together to solve the puzzle of their lives -- which, where I come from is called "high school reunion."

And, of course, over the summer NBC will air, under it's New To Us banner, those "Friday Night Lights" episodes that already ran on DIrecTV, and episodes from the ninth season of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" that have already appeared on NBC Universal's USA network.

Plus, of course, NBC has the return of reality series "America's Got Talent" and "Last Comic Standing."

Meanwhile, CBS actually does well with reruns in the summer, so don't hold your breath on some big summer-scripted-series announcement from them.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  April 7, 2010; 7:56 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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The reason more viewers are watching cable is because all the networks do is put on "cheap" reality shows, remake an old series, or make a carbon copy of a successful series. How about some original programming? For summer, it's much more fun to watch "Royal Pains" or "Burn Notice". Who wants to watch a bunch of reality shows where there are staged fighting, and dysfunctional families?

Posted by: OutsourcingVictim | April 8, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

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