Strike That! Sans Writers, ABC Reshuffles Time Slots for 'Lost,' 'Housewives'

The foxy cast of
The foxy cast of "Cashmere Mafia," ABC's "Sex and the City" knockoff, will debut on Thursday, Jan. 3, and then settle in on Wednesdays in the 10 p.m. time slot. (By Eric Liebowitz -- Abc)
By Lisa de Moraes
Saturday, December 15, 2007

ABC, the last of the Big Four networks to announce its strike scheduling plans, will move "Lost" to Thursdays at 9 p.m. starting Jan. 31, replacing "Grey's Anatomy" -- or, more accurately, "Grey's Anatomy" reruns.

The network's other flagship show, "Desperate Housewives," will be booted from its long-held Sunday 9 p.m. berth to make way for the reality series "Oprah Winfrey's The Big Give."

Again in the interest of accuracy, what ABC is really doing here is trying to protect its lead on Sundays at 9 by removing "Desperate Housewives" repeats, which do lousy numbers, and plugging the hole with the "I'm Oprah and You're Not" show. "DH" reruns will slide to 10 p.m.; ABC has just one original episode left.

"Lost," the surprise hit series that struggled creatively and ratings-wise last season, is taking on what is perhaps the most competitive time slot in all of television. Except that, thanks to striking Hollywood writers, the time slot is being reduced to a matchup of "CSI" reruns on CBS, "C-Listers Apprentice" on NBC and Fox's "Don't Forget the Lyrics." And now, eight original episodes of "Lost."

ABC's Strike Schedule Monday looks pretty much like it would have without the strike: The "Dancing With the Stars" stopgap series, "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann," will air from 8 to 9:30, followed by "Notes From the Underbelly" and "October Road," which are already in place. Come the February ratings sweeps, by which time the competition show likely will have gained ratings steam, "Dance War" will be down to one hour and "Samantha Who?" slides into the 9 p.m. half-hour.

Then, on March 17, "Dancing With the Stars" will be back at 8, followed at 9:30 p.m. by "Samantha Who?" and another edition of faux couples-making on "The Bachelor" at 10.

On Tuesdays, hidden-camera-for-laughs series "Just for Laughs" will be ABC's sacrifice to Fox's "American Idol" monster at 8 and 8:30 p.m., followed by "According to Jim" and "Carpoolers" at 9 and 9:30 and "Boston Legal" at 10. With the return of "Dancing With the Stars" in March, the results show will follow "Laughs" at 9.

On Wednesdays, ABC is giving its "Sex and the City" clone, "Cashmere Mafia," a one-month jump on NBC's "Sex and the City" clone, "Lipstick Jungle," which isn't debuting until February. "Cashmere" will get the Wednesday 10 p.m. time slot (following a Thursday, Jan. 3, premiere) and ABC's two super-chick reality series -- "Wife Swap" and "Supernanny" -- as its lead-ins.

ABC's CEO comedy "Big Shots" is inexplicably returning to Thursdays at 10 but only until new series "Eli Stone" can take on the time slot in February.

"Eli Stone" is about a lawyer who thinks he's a prophet, which only sounds redundant. In this case, said lawyer keeps hearing the George Michael tune "Faith" in his head, and has a vision of Michael performing the number in his office.

On Friday -- ABC's Saturday -- the network kicks things off with "Drama Encores," followed by "Drama Encores," followed by "20/20."

And, on Sundays, the Oprah show follows "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

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