ABC spells relief with laffers

TGIF returns with Lopez as anchor

ABC will try to recapture the momentum of last fall — and shake off the harsher realities of this spring — with an ambitious primetime sked boasting change every night of the week.

Alphabet, which meets with advertisers today, refused to confirm or deny details of its 2003-04 lineup beyond which shows have been ordered for next season (Daily Variety, May 12).

Fox was also staying mum about its sked, though there was speculation that the net could be ready to open up a new comedy front on Friday nights, with an hour of laffs from 8 to 9 p.m.

Sitcom blitz

As for ABC, numerous sked scenarios were making the rounds Monday, with only a few things certain.

Looking to find homes for all of its returning laffers, as well as new comedies “Hope & Faith,” “I’m With Her,” “The Big House” and either “It’s all Relative” or the untitled Tom Hertz project, ABC will boast a 10-comedy lineup next season.

As expected, “TGIF” will be back, with “The George Lopez Show” anchoring the Friday comedy block at 8 p.m.; “Bonnie Hunt” would seem a natural for a 9 or 9:30 p.m. slot. That leaves, yet again, a number of possibilities at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. “The Big House” at 8:30 and “I’m With Her” at 9:30 was one consideration.

“20/20” is always a possibility at 10 p.m., unless ABC decides to jump in with a new drama now that “Law & Order: SVU” has vacated the slot. In that case, “10-8” might make sense.

Tuesday ‘Rules’

Tuesday night’s schedule will probably kick off with the return of frosh hit “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” while “According to Jim,” which shocked NBC (and even ABC) execs this midseason by beating “Frasier” some weeks, seems a natural to permanently move to 9 p.m.

“NYPD Blue” will likely be back Tuesdays at 10 p.m., unless the Alphabet is worried about new competish from NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU.”

The comedies in Tuesday night’s satellite positions (8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.) were anyone’s guesses, however. Candidates at 8:30 include “Hope & Faith,” “The Big House” or “I’m With Her,” while 9:30 might see “Less Than Perfect” or “It’s All Relative.”

ABC’s Wednesday night lineup should continue to be led by “My Wife and Kids” at 8, while “The Big House” or “It’s All Relative” may end up at 8:30 p.m. Unless Alphabet execs are feeling overly cocky, “The Bachelor” should stay put at 9 p.m., probably followed by new drama “Karen Sisco” at 10.

Thursdays could see surprise reality hit “Extreme Makeover” at 9 or 10 p.m., followed by either newcomers “Threat Matrix” or “10-8.” “Primetime Thursday” might return as well at 10.

Friday’s on Saturday

As previously expected, Saturdays will likely see the move of Sunday staple “Wonderful World of Disney” to 8 p.m., followed by Dick Wolf’s “Dragnet” at 10 p.m.

Wolf on Monday said he was at peace with the Saturday night show, noting that his crime dramas have frequently been utilized as “self-starters.”

On Sunday, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” could return to the berth where it spent most of the 1990s — 7 p.m. At 8 p.m. “10-8” or “Threat Matrix” may move in, while “Alias” remains at 9 p.m. and “The Practice” returns to its old 10 p.m. slot.

That leaves Monday. ABC will likely avoid debuting a new show in the 8 p.m. slot, choosing to stick with another edition of “Primetime.” “Monday Night Football” returns of course, while the Alphabet plans to slate its three-hour theatrical franchise (formerly on Saturdays) there midseason.

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