'GCB' set to get post-Oscar promo push

ABC unveiled its midseason schedule Friday, with new drama “GCB” getting the enviable time slot following “Desperate Housewives” beginning March 4 on Sunday at 10 p.m.

That will also mean the hotly anticipated new hour, based on the book “Good Christian Bitches,” should benefit most from the inevitable promotional push the previous week from one of TV’s biggest marketing platforms: the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 26.

Another likely beneficiary of Oscar afterglow will be “Missing,” the Ashley Judd drama that will launch March 15 on Thursday at 8 p.m., the same time slot where another rookie hour, “Charlie’s Angels,” tanked.

ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee is a big proponent of using high-profile events like the Academy Awards to drive tune-in to other series. The strategy worked well last season, when new series “Body of Proof” and “Secret Millionaire” saw strong interest after heavy promoted out of last year’s Oscars

However, a post-“Housewives” time slot hasn’t done too much for the current time-slot occupant, “Pan Am,” which hasn’t matched the success of another new Sunday entry on ABC, “Once Upon A Time.”

However, it will likely get a boost from “Desperate Housewives” which should see some renewed interest as it heads into the homestretch of its final season.

New ABC comedy “Work It” will step in for struggling freshman half-hour “Man Up,” which has failed to take advantage of having a strong lead-in from “Last Man Standing” on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. “Work” starts Jan. 3.

An ABC spokesman said “Man” has not been canceled as is still in consideration for next season’s schedule.

Still sitting on the sidelines awaiting midseason berths are the new Shonda Rhimes series “Scandal,” rookie “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23″ and returning half-hour “Cougar Town.”

All three are expected to join the network’s schedule in the midseason, though “Cougar” is now getting its episode order reduced to 15 given its late start. Both comedies will likely be paired in a block.

Before “Missing” bows, returning unscripted series “Winter Wipeout” will keep the Thursday 8 p.m. time slot warm beginning Jan. 5.

“Dancing With the Stars” returns to the schedule for another cycle on March 19 in its Monday 8-10 p.m. time slot. Results show starts the following week in its regular Tuesday 9-10 p.m. slot.

“Celebrity Wife Swap,” a new version of the veteran ABC unscripted format, will take over for the current results show following the premiere of “Work.” But “Swap” slides out on Feb. 5 to make room for thriller “The River.”

Another returning unscripted series, “Shark Tank,” returns to Friday 8 p.m. on Feb. 5.

As for “Proof,” ABC has ordered three additional episodes although the series has struggled to find its footing in its second season after its strong start.

“GCB,” which stars Leslie Bibb and Kristin Chenoweth, is from ABC Studios, Darren Star Prods. and Kapital Entertainment. “Missing” is also from ABC Studios.

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