Alphabet puts the brakes on ‘Sports Night’

Reruns to be held until season bows Oct. 5

ABC has called a six-week timeout for “Sports Night.”

The comedy, a critical fave but a slow Nielsen starter, will be pulled from the Alphabet’s 9:30 p.m. Tuesday slot until its sophomore season bows Oct. 5. In its most recent outing last week, “Sports Night” ranked fourth in its timeslot with a 4.2 household rating and 7 share and a 2.6 in the key demo of adults 18-49.

ABC may fill the temporary vacancy with back-to-back segs of “Dharma & Greg,” which precedes “Sports Night” at 9 p.m., or possibly extra runs of “Spin City” or “The Drew Carey Show.”

ABC brass pulled “Sports Night” reruns partly in an effort to give it a stronger second season sendoff by promoting its return during higher-rated reruns of other Alphabet comedies.

Meanwhile, in other preseason programming buzz, the Fox teen drama “Manchester Prep” is prepping for a short production hiatus to give scribes more time to hone scripts and storylines.

There have been rumblings that a major overhaul of the Columbia TriStar TV show is afoot, but Col TriStar network prexy Helene Michaels said no such surgery is planned and that the upcoming break is to give writers “a chance to refocus on the stories rather than the characters.”

“Manchester Prep” won’t have its debut until December, as Fox is hoping to cut down on the volume of rerun segs during non-sweeps months by staggering its new fall series bows from early October through early December.

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