ABC is giving a big vote of confidence to “Men in Trees,” moving the show from one of the worst timeslots on TV to one of the best.
Alphabet Wednesday said it was shifting the Anne Heche starrer from Fridays at 9 to Thursdays at 10, behind “Grey’s Anatomy.” In addition, net ordered nine more episodes of the Warner Bros. Television skein, for a full-season total of 22.
“Men” — which many pundits pegged to be one of the season’s first casualties — is the first of WBTV’s new fall shows to receive a full-season order, and the third Alphabet frosh player to get picked up. Its ratings on Friday haven’t been huge, but they have been steady, with the show regularly improving on its lead-ins and boosting ABC slightly in the timeslot vs. year-ago numbers.
“Thursdays will be a great platform for ‘Men in Trees’ to reach a larger audience,” said ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson.
“Men” will shift to its new home on Nov. 30, bumping the struggling frosh drama “Six Degrees.” ABC said the latter skein — which had its final airing of the year last week — will be back in January — but so far, there’s no word on whether the net plans to order any additional segs. McPherson praised the creative content of both shows.
While “Men” has flown under the radar this season, Alphabet execs privately view the skein as a potential sleeper. With relatively little promotion and no real lead-in, skein has managed to hold its own on a night that’s proven deadly for ABC scripted series in recent years.
Downside of the move is that “Men” will now be under intense scrutiny, with ratings analysts weighing in each week to examine how much of its “Grey’s” lead-in it retains. “Men” will also now face off against another WBTV-produced skein with a strong young female aud: “ER.”
In addition to “Six Degrees,” ABC frosh players still awaiting full-season orders include “The Nine” and “Help Me Help You.” “Ugly Betty” and “Brothers & Sisters” both have 22-seg commitments.
Jenny Bicks created “Men” and exec produces with James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) and Cathy Konrad.