‘Bernie,’ ‘Jake’ back as networks set schedules

It was a good weekend for big stars and underdogs as ABC, Fox and the WB all moved one step closer to setting their fall schedules. The news was particularly good for many (but not all) shows that had been hanging by a thread. Fox told 20th Century Fox and Imagine TV that “Arrested Development” will be back for another season, while “The Bernie Mac Show” also got a surprise renewal. ABC also had great news for 20th’s John Stamos comedy “Jake in Progress,” which is headed back for a second season, and vet comedy “Less Than Perfect,” which many had written off for dead. ABC has also ordered another season of “The Bachelor,” which is expected to return sometime in 2006. News was not so good for the WB’s “Jack & Bobby”: It’s been killed after one low-rated season. As for what’s new, pickups on the ABC drama front included Touchstone’s “Commander-in-Chief,” starring Geena Davis as the country’s first female president, as well as John Wells’ Warner Bros. TV buddy cop procedural “Evidence.” Also at ABC, the Touchstone entry “In Justice” – which revolves around investigators who work to free wrongfully convicted prisoners – got the nod, as did the supernatural thriller “Invasion,” Warner Bros. TV’s take on bizarre occurrences in a small town. Then there’s the Touchstone update of “Night Stalker,” about journalists who investigate unusual phenomena, and J.J. Abrams’ “What About Brian,” also from Touchstone, which stars Barry Watson as a thirtysomething man who realizes all of his friends have got married.

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