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ABC’s pilot pickup spree

Network gives nod to 5 dramas, 3 comedies

ABC execs worked late Friday putting the pieces of the net’s 2009-10 season sked together, handing out series orders to five new dramas and three comedies. Alphabet also gave renewals to frosh dramedy “Castle” and laffers “Scrubs” and “Better Off Ted.”

ABC’s latest drama greenlights are: ABC Studios’ murder mystery “Happy Town”; 20th Century Fox TV’s legal ensembler “The Deep End,” from writer Dave Hemingson, (formerly known as “Associates”); Jerry Bruckheimer-produced amateur gumshoe vehicle “The Forgotten”; movie redo “Eastwick”; and “V,” which will be presented as a limited “event” series. “Forgotten,” “Eastwick” and “V” hail from Warner Bros. TV.

Comedies getting the nod are: ABC Studios’ “Cougar Town” starring Courteney Cox; Warner Bros. TV’s Patricia Heaton starrer “The Middle,” about a Midwestern mom, and WBTV’s Kelsey Grammer starrer “Hank,” about once-highflying executive type who loses his wealth and is forced to reconnect with his family.

Friday’s slew of pickups come a week after ABC gave the early go-ahead to ABC Studios’ fantasy drama “Flash Forward” and 20th Century Fox TV comedy “Modern Family.”

Renewals of “Castle” and “Better Off Ted,” which were part of ABC’s contingent of late-midseason bows this spring, were not unexpected, though both show’s chances of seeing a sophomore season were seen as 50-50 just a few days ago. “Scrubs,” which moved to ABC this season after seven seasons on NBC, had been expected to wrap its run this spring, but renewal chatter began about two weeks ago.

The hefty load of comedy pickups suggests that ABC intends to stock its fall sked with half-hours on more than one night of the week.

Reps for the network would not comment late Friday.

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