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August 25, 2008

ABC picks up three dramas, two comedies

UPDATED: ABC is ramping up its police procedural ranks with two new cop dramas planned for midseason.

The network picked up ABC Studios' "Castle” (starring Nathan Fillion as a horror novelist who helps the NYPD solve crimes) and Sony TV's "The Unusuals” (an ensemble dramedy set in a New York police precinct co-starring Amber Tamblyn) for series orders on Monday in addition to three other shows.

Along with the fall series "Life on Mars," the drama pickups give ABC some procedural guns for next season. Though the network has plenty of medical and legal shows, ABC has lacked a reliable stable from the police genre to call its own since “NYPD Blue” went off the air in 2005.

ABC also picked up Rob Thomas' "Cupid" (a one-hour reinvention of Thomas’ 1998 romantic comedy starring Bobby Cannavale) and a pair of half-hour single camera comedies -- 20th’s Victor Fresco laugher "Better Off Ted" (office comedy starring Jay Harrington as a moral guy trying to do right in an amoral world) as well as ABC Studios'comedy "Single With Parents" (Alyssa Milano who juggles her dysfunctional family,  friends and boss) by ”How I Met Your Mother” producer Kristin Newman.

Because of the WGA-strike delays, the episodes were seen about six months after they were greenlit as pilots.

"It was worth taking the time to go through the pilot process to really do it right," said Steve McPherson, ABC's entertainment president. "We're excited about these series and feel they're perfect additions to our dominant core slate of shows."

Still no word on the fate of ABC's other limbo projects such as "Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas," Alicia Silverstone's "Bad Mother's Handbook" and Damon Wayan's "Never Better," but sources indicate the above series orders are all that's receiving a greenlight at the moment.

"These are the initial pick-ups, but there are a number of other pilots we feel will also get the go ahead in some form moving forward," McPherson said.


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