ABC spins ‘City’ to Tuesdays

Web launching Thursday comedy block

NEW YORK — ABC is moving several hit comedies to bolster its Tuesday lineup without “Home Improvement,” and the web will dip its toe into the Thursday comedy business.

DreamWorks’ “Spin City” is expected to move to its third timeslot in three years, landing Tuesdays at 8 p.m., replacing “Home Improvement” and facing off against NBC’s “3rd Rock From the Sun.”

“Dharma & Greg” will shift to Tuesdays at 9 p.m. to take on NBC’s “Just Shoot Me,” while “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” will have its first test in an unprotected timeslot Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

Likely rounding out the Tuesday comedy schedule is “It’s Like, You Know …” at 8:30 p.m., and “Sports Night” at 9:30 p.m. On Wednesday, “The Norm Show” is likely to return at 8:30, with “Oh, Grow Up” airing at 9:30 p.m.

Comedy night

ABC also is expected to open up a comedy block Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Leading off the night against NBC’s “Friends” will likely be the Drew Carey-hosted improv show “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” followed by a new comedy from 20th Century Fox called “Then Came You.” Kevin Williamson’s Miramax drama “Wasteland” was headed for the Thursday 9 p.m. timeslot, with “20/20” going at 10.

Altogether, ABC is ordering just two new comedies and three new dramas for fall, but the web is changing its 8 p.m. show six out seven nights of the week.

Tough call

The toughest call for ABC was the scheduling of Touchstone TV’s one new fall show for ABC, the drama “Once & Again.” At press time, ABC was leaning toward airing it Tuesday at 10 p.m. for a limited run before “NYPD Blue” premieres. The web had toyed with yanking its Wednesday 10 p.m. edition of “20/20” to make way for a new drama, but at press time, sources said that was highly unlikely.

David E. Kelley’s new drama “Snoops” was expected to snag the Sunday 9 p.m. timeslot against Fox’s “The X-Files” and leading into Kelley’s “The Practice.” “The Wonderful World of Disney” will stay put from 7-9 p.m.

TGI comedy

ABC is expected to move returning comedy “The Hughleys” to Fridays at 8 p.m., followed by “Boy Meets World,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” the new Warner Bros. comedy “Odd Man Out” and “20/20” at 10 p.m.

On Saturday nights, ABC is likely to run a movie, and on Mondays ABC will air “20/20” at 8 p.m., leading into “Monday Night Football.”

Shows that are canceled include TGIF sitcoms “Brother’s Keeper” and “Two of a Kind,” and the drama “Vengeance Unlimited.”

Meanwhile, ABC’s attempts to extract 10% ownership and four runs per episode on several shows from 20th, Warner Bros. and the Greenblatt Janollari Studio was causing a backlash. Insiders say the Greenblatt Janollari may be backing away from a tentative oral agreement to give up a stake in “Oh, Grow Up,” after News Corp., which houses the studio, balked.

ABC’s pressure on Warner Bros. may also be affecting potential midseason orders for the Disney shows “Brutally Normal” (Touchstone TV) and “Eli’s Theory” (Touchstone/Imagine) at the WB netlet. Insiders say the WB may still order the shows, but they aren’t likely to be announced at the WB’s upfront presentation today.