In a surprising move, ABC just announced that its former comedic golden child, Ugly Betty, will be shelved on March 26 in order to bring back Christina Applegate's Samantha Who? and launch a new comedy called In the Motherhood, starring Megan Mullally and Cheryl Hines, in the Thursday 8 p.m. slot.
ABC President Steve McPherson's nostalgic favorite (and old stomping ground) Scrubs and another new comedy, Better Off Ted (Portia de Rossi, Jay Harrington), will take the hour-long block starting Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (The former home of the dearly departing Pushing Daisies.)
So why is one of ABC's highest-profile shows getting a time-out? And what does America have to say?
According to ABC insiders, the Alphabet net is looking at more of a cable model when it comes to its programming and scheduling. "McPherson is interested in reducing the number of reruns," one well-placed insider tells me, adding that Betty—after its dip in the ratings this season—seemed the best place to slot in Samantha and Motherhood.
Betty had an audience of about 8 million at the start of the current third season, but then consistently lost about a million viewers each week, sinking as low as 3.6 million. This month, it jumped back up to 7.5 million, but that's still shy of last year's audience of 9 million viewers.
Meanwhile, yesterday on the SAG carpet, Ferrera told us everything is going well on her three-year-old series and teased this about what lies ahead: "Someone turns very evil—an unexpected person. Like, just your general backstabbing and lies. Just another day on Ugly Betty!"
Sources also tell me there'll be a love connection between a main character on Betty and someone we know and love from a Showtime series we know and love.