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Abbott to run ‘Reba’ next season

Scribe-exec producer to start staffing show for 2nd sesh

Writer-producer Kevin Abbott, whose credits include “Roseanne,” “Grace Under Fire” and “Two Guys and a Girl,” has been named showrunner of WB half-hour “Reba,” replacing the recently ankled Allison Gibson.

Gibson, who created the Reba McEntire comedy and was showrunner for the debut season, is not expected to retain creative involvement going forward.

Abbott, who is repped by CAA, will serve as scribe-exec producer and begin staffing up for season two of the 20th Century Fox Television-produced skein in the coming weeks.

The Frog and 20th went to Abbott to replace Gibson in part because of his success with femme-led family comedies. He was showrunner on “Grace” for a year and supervising producer on “Roseanne” for two.

While show marks Abbott’s first collaboration with the WB, it reunites him with 20th, which produced “Two Guys and a Girl.” Abbott was showrunner of that series for three seasons.

” ‘Reba’ has a great cast, great premise and the show already is doing well,” Abbott said. “There’s a tremendous opportunity to make the show even better creatively, and I think that would boost good numbers to really great numbers.”

Friday night laffer has become the Frog’s top comedy since debuting in the fall. It averages about 4.2 million viewers and recently has won its timeslot in females 12-34.

Abbott said the biggest opportunity creatively is in terms of the show’s tone.

“The first thing we have to do is honor the premise that was there in the pilot,” he said. “They did a good job last season, but it was a little sillier comedy. We want to go after more of the character-based comedy that you find in the fact that she’s a woman in her forties, divorced and not only a single mother, but a single grandmother.”

Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel also exec produce “Reba” under their 20th Century Fox Television-based Acme banner.