ABC has announced plans to bring two shows back to its schedule, move a couple that are already there and add one new show.
Well, it's sort of new. But not entirely new.
"Notes from the Underbelly," which was sort of a surprise pick-up last May after some rather lackluster ratings last spring, will air Mondays at 8:30 p.m. beginning Nov. 26. "Samantha Who?" will move up a half hour to 8 p.m. that same night, and "Dancing with the Stars" will air one-hour episodes from 7-8 p.m. instead of 90-minute episodes from 7-9:30 p.m.
"Samantha Who?" is the highest-rated new show of the season, so it comes as no surprise that ABC has picked up the "back nine" episodes and increased its original 13-episode order to a full-season total of 22.
It's a good show that's getting better with each episode an excellent sign indeed. But whether it's a bona-fide hit remains to be seen, because it's airing in the half-hour immediately following 90-minute episodes of the huge hit "Dancing with the Stars."
The real test for both "Notes" and "Samantha" will come when they don't have the hugely popular "Dancing" as their lead-in anymore.
As of Monday, Jan. 7, the the two shows will be following "Dance War" for six weeks. Hosted by former "Dancing with the Stars" champ Drew Lachey, "Dance War" features "Dancing" judges Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba choosing amateurs to build dance teams that will compete against each other.
The show will be thrown up against the return of "American Idol" "Dancing with the Stars" is too valuable a property for ABC to waste episodes against Fox's ratings juggernaut.
"October Road," which was one of those shows on the bubble when it came to renewal last spring, returns on Thursday, Nov. 22, at 9 p.m. It's scheduled as a one-time-only stop on that night before the show assumes the Monday-at-9 p.m. time slot on Nov. 26.
However, "Big Shots" is tanking in the ratings so I wouldn't bet the farm on something else happening before this change takes place.
In the nearer (more near?) future, "20/20" and "Men In Trees" will swap time slots on Friday nights as of tonight "Men" goes to 7 p.m. and "20/20" goes to 9 p.m. (You don't think this will make anyone at "Women's Murder Club" which remains at 8 p.m. feel a little bit dizzy, do you?)Oddly enough, when ABC announced its fall schedule back in May, it had "Men In Trees" at 7 p.m. and "20/20" at 9 p.m., but network programmers changed their mind before the season began. That move hasn't worked out so well both shows have lost upwards of a million viewers per week from what they were averaging last season.