'William' to lead-in to Emmy-nommed skein

ABC is giving the second season premiere of “Alias” the royal treatment: Net is speeding up production on its buzzworthy Prince William biopic to ensure the movie will be ready for broadcast Sunday, Sept. 29, as a lead-in to the sophomore bow of the femme spy show.

Pic, which stars Jordan Frieda (“Band of Brothers”) as William, had been intended as a November sweeps tentpole.

Instead, “Prince William” will serve as the season premiere for “The Wonderful World of Disney,” airing from 7- 9 p.m. “Alias” will follow at 9 p.m., with the season premiere of “The Practice” skedded for 10 p.m.

What’s more, ABC will promote the “Alias” season premiere via a 60-second theatrical trailer that will play on several thousand screens nationwide via NCN and Screenvision. Trailer, which was approved by “Alias” creator J.J. Abrams, will play only in PG-13 and R-rated pics.

Despite strong critical notice, lots of Emmy noms and solid ratings last year, “Alias” producers will no doubt take all the help they can get. This fall, the Jennifer Garner starrer will be up against the much-anticipated return of HBO’s “The Sopranos,” as well as Fox’s “Malcolm in the Middle.”

ABC execs say they’re fully committed to making sure “Alias” both survives and thrives. “There’s no greater priority at the network this season,” a top-level ABC exec said.

Alas, ABC isn’t yet prepared to give “Alias” the biggest boost it might offer the show: a better timeslot.

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