ABC bets there is ‘Life on Mars’

Network also picks up Kutcher's 'Opportunity'

ABC’s betting there’s “Life on Mars.”

The quirky sci-fi thriller, based on the hit BBC series of the same name, is expected to be one of the few new series to make it on the Alphabet’s fall sked.

Also new on the docket: The Ashton Kutcher-produced reality skein “Opportunity Knocks,” which has scored a 13-episode order from the Alphabet net.

“Opportunity Knocks” comes from Katalyst and 3 Ball Prods. Show, hosted by JD Roth, revolves around contestants who wind up answering trivia questions for prizes at their own home.

ABC also already gave a 13-episode commitment to the animated series “The Goode Family,” which will be ready for air in January.

Show, from Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, revolves around a family with good intentions — but not-so-good execution in those intentions. MRC is behind the show.

By Sunday, 20th Century Fox TV was shopping animated contender “The Pitts” as a potential companion piece to “Goode Family,” but there was no indication that such a pact would transpire.

Meanwhile, among bubble shows, “Eli Stone” appeared destined to be this year’s “October Road” — the midseason entry that didn’t make a splash in the ratings, but had enough buzz and supporters inside the net to score a second season.

Also in the hunt for a renewal: The single-cam entry “Miss/Guided,” starring critical fave Judy Greer. Show could make a strong companion to either “Samantha Who?” or “Scrubs,” two more single-cam entries.

That’s right — “Scrubs.” ABC still won’t confirm that the long-running medical comedy is making its way to the Alphabet, but the move from NBC reps one of the worst-kept secrets in town.

As for “Life on Mars,” late Sunday a deal for the show hadn’t yet been confirmed — but now that “Boston Legal” has been given a primetime reprieve, it’s believed a “Mars” pickup is close behind.

That’s because “Legal” creator David E. Kelley also owned the rights to the U.S. adaptation of “Mars.” Kelley was looking to depart the project, while ABC was looking to continue it sans Kelley.

Hence, a weekend-long dance that finally appeared resolved by Sunday. “Legal” was back for a fifth season, while “Mars” is expected to continue as a 20th Century Fox TV/ABC Studios co-production. “October Road” exec producers Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec and Scott Rosenberg are in line to take over as showrunners.

On the scheduling front, ABC is still believed to be sticking mostly with stability.

Sundays and Thursdays seem pretty set, for starters. (Perhaps “Life on Mars” holds the Thursday 10 p.m. slot until “Lost” returns?)

Monday, net will probably stick with “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Bachelor,” with one or two comedies in between.

On Tuesdays, ABC could conceivably open with comedies (“Scrubs,” anyone?), leading into the “Dancing” recap show and “Boston Legal.”

Wednesdays appear pretty set, with frosh entries “Pushing Daisies,” “Private Practice” and “Dirty Sexy Money” all returning.

Then there’s Friday, which could be wide open. “Eli Stone” could wind up here, as could reality shows. “20/20” will undoubtedly return at 10 p.m.

ABC is expected to start officially picking up series on Monday morning. Network announces its fall sked at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Digital News from Variety