Attanasio pens series for ABC

Skein based on Groopman tome

In its first major series commitment for the 2000-01 season, ABC has given a six-seg guarantee to an hourlong Touchstone Television-produced medical drama from Oscar-nominated scribe Paul Attanasio (“Quiz Show,” “Donnie Brasco.”)

Attanasio will create, write and exec produce the skein, which will be based on “The Measure of Our Days,” a nonfiction tome from Dr. Jerome Groopman about the various ways patients with serious medical woes handle their illnesses. Katie Jacobs (“A Cool Dry Place”) of Attanasio’s Heel & Toe Prods. will serve as a co-exec producer.

Deal was brokered by CAA.

ABC is targeting the Attanasio skein for fall 2000, though the debut date could change.

A former Washington Post film critic, Attanasio created the critically hailed NBC drama “Homicide: Life on the Street.” In addition to snagging Oscar noms for “Quiz Show” and “Donnie Brasco,” Attanasio also adapted Michael Crichton’s bestseller “Disclosure” for the big screen.

“Paul has built his reputation by creating compelling, believable characters set in dramatically tense and interesting worlds,” ABC Entertainment Television Group co-chair Lloyd Braun said in a statement announcing ABC’s pickup. “We believe that Dr. Groopman’s book will provide a rich template for an innovative and fresh medical drama.”

Attanasio said Groopman understands the need to balance “the explosion of new technologies” and “the human need for the old-fashioned art of healing.”

“It’s not surprising that his book inspired me to return to television,” he added. “He’s a pretty inspiring guy.”

Sked changes

Meanwhile, ABC Thursday confirmed several changes to its comedy sked, all of which will take effect after the conclusion of the November sweeps:

  • Starting Tuesday, Dec. 7, frosh laffer “Oh Grow Up” will shift to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, following “Spin City.”

  • “It’s Like, You Know…,” which had been airing on Tuesdays, will move to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays on Dec. 8.

  • “Norm,” which moved to 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays this week, has been permanently shifted into that post- “Drew Carey Show” slot.

Also Thursday, Fox said it would dump next Tuesday’s skedded “Ally” seg for an original “That ’70s Show.” A repeat “’70s Show” will air at 8:30 p.m., protecting the firstrun “’70s Show” from competing against the ABC gameshow juggernaut “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”