"Desperate Housewives" has become a runaway hit for ABC this season in the Sunday timeslot formerly occupied by "Alias." That's created a bit of a dilemma -- albeit one any network would like to have -- when it came to finding a new home for the spy series.
ABC will solve that problem by pairing "Alias" with its other freshman smash, "Lost," on Wednesday nights beginning Jan. 5. Both shows are executive produced by J.J. Abrams, and ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson is hoping that link will help "Alias" break beyond its cult-show status in the ratings.
"When we made the strategic decision this fall on 'Alias,' we only hoped to be in the situation we find ourselves in today," McPherson says. "'Lost' provides a terrific platform for 'Alias'' new season. Not only do both shows have similar audience profiles ... but they also share J.J.'s unique sensibility. This is a great two-hour block of programming."
"Alias" will open its fourth season with a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, Jan. 5. ABC is sticking to its plan to air the show without repeats through the rest of the season, which would put its season finale near the end of May sweeps.
As a result of "Alias" moving to Wednesday, the "Bachelor" franchise is being shipped to Monday nights, where ABC will replace "Monday Night Football" with an all-unscripted night of programming.
Beginning Jan. 10, Mondays will lead off with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: How'd They Do That?," a behind-the-scenes look at the hit home-makeover series that ABC tried out as a special on Nov. 1, to promising results. Each episode will break down the previous night's "EM: Home Edition" to explain how host Ty Pennington and his team of contractors and designers accomplished their build.
"The Bachelorette," featuring ex-rose recipient Jen Schefft, will air at 9 p.m. Mondays. Schefft is returning to the TV-romance game after her engagement and subsequent breakup with "Bachelor" No. 3 Andrew Firestone. A new series, "Supernanny," debuts Jan. 17 and will air at 10 p.m. Mondays.
"What to do with Monday night after football has always been one of the network's biggest challenges," McPherson says. "But we think that we've come up with a strategy for success."
The schedule shuffle leaves the medical drama "Grey's Anatomy," which ABC previously announced for Monday nights post-football, without a home for the time being. It and another drama, "Eyes," will be used to plug holes as needed.