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ABC will offer only two new television series next fall


ABC will introduce only two new series in the fall, one of them scripted, in a schedule the network admits was severely affected by the 100-day TV writers strike.

The new David E. Kelley-produced drama, “Life on Mars,” is about a police detective transported back to 1973. ABC gave it a plum Thursday time slot following “Grey’s Anatomy.”

The second new series, “Opportunity Knocks,” is a game where producers show up at a home with a truckload of prizes and quiz family members on what they know about each other.

ABC is also picking up the NBC comedy “Scrubs” for midseason. ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson, who has feuded with his NBC counterpart Ben Silverman, noted Tuesday that the comedy had 17 different time slots at NBC and received little promotion.

ABC has 17 series in development for midseason or beyond, but McPherson said he wasn’t comfortable committing to new series unless pilots had been filmed.

The result is another chance for series that in normal years may not have gotten one, such as “Eli Stone,” ”Pushing Daisies” or “Dirty Sexy Money.” Some longer-running shows considered on the bubble, “Boston Legal” and “According to Jim,” were kept in production.

“Lost” will be back in midseason next year.

“Notes From the Underbelly,” ”October Road” and “Women’s Murder Club” were cut.

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