NEW YORK In a considerably more aggressive schedule shuffle than probably any other network, struggling ABC will introduce eight new series: four scripted dramas (Lost, Life as We Know It, Desperate Housewives and The Practice: Fleet Street); two sitcoms (Rodney and Savages) and two reality hours (The Benefactor and Wife Swap).
The network will make changes on six nights of the week, excluding Saturday, which remains intact with The Wonderful World of Disney.
Comedies have been trimmed from 10 on three nights to eight on two evenings (Tuesday and Friday). And Alias will be pushed back until midseason, where it is expected to return Sunday at 9 p.m. Also of note is 20/20, which will air on Friday, with Elizabeth Vargas as the successor to the departing Barbara Walters.
In a key sitcom shuffle, My Wife and Kids will shift from the Wednesday 8 p.m. anchor position to the same time Tuesday, George Lopez leaves TGIF for the more adult-oriented Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., while current Tuesday occupants 8 Simple Rules and Less Than Perfect, both on-the-fence for renewal, will move to Fridays at 8 and 9:30 p.m., respectively.
Now that Friends is history, ABC will open Thursday with Extreme Makeover (which could, in effect, take a bite out of CBS' competing Survivor).
The network continues to stand by scripted dramas. Grey's Anatomy, a medical-oriented hour, will air Monday at 10 p.m. after football season ends, while the Stephen Bochco crime drama Blind Justice will replace the producer's veteran NYPD Blue after its conclusion. Also in midseason is
private-eye drama Eyes with former Wings star Tim Daly.
Missing from the ABC lineup are sitcoms Life With Bonnie, I'm With Her and It's All Relative, and now officially canceled dramas Threat Matrix, Karen Sisco, 10-8, Line Of Fire and Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital.