ABC moves 'Lost'

By James Hibberd

Feb 20 2008

ABC's top-rated "Grey's Anatomy" will return to claim its usual Thursday night time period next month, with "Lost" moving to 10 p.m.

Having resumed production following the conclusion of the writers strike, "Grey's" will come back to the network's tentpole Thursdays at 9 p.m. time period for five original episodes starting April 24, with "Lost" shifting to 10 p.m. to air five originals of its own.

ABC announced the change Wednesday as part of its spring schedule, which also includes premiere dates for "Desperate Housewives," "Samantha Who," "Boston Legal," "Ugly Betty" and "Brothers & Sisters." The other major broadcast networks announced their spring schedules earlier this month.

A key question is whether "Lost" (which has averaged a 6.4 rating among adults 18 to 49 so this season) will benefit from the new time period. The shift puts "Lost" into an hour with lower viewing levels, and the show notably declined after shifting from Wednesdays at 9 to 10 p.m. last season. But "Lost" may gain from a large "Grey's" lead-in, even if their respective audiences are not perfectly compatible.

ABC has tried several new shows in the Thursdays at 10 p.m. time period which have been unable to capitalize on "Grey's" success. Case in point, current occupant "Eli Stone" is notably absent from the newly announced spring lineup. Since "Stone" debuted earlier this year, it has averaged a 3.3 rating in the time period. An ABC spokesman said the network hasn't decided when the remaining "Stone" episodes will air.

Also, still no word on bubble shows "Men in Trees" or "Women's Murder Club" (the latter may return if ABC and 20th Century Fox Television can quickly find a new showrunner to take over the production).

Returning to their usual ABC time periods: "Samantha Who?" on April 7 (six originals); "Boston Legal" April 8 (six originals); "Desperate Housewives" April 13 (five originals and a two-hour finale); "Brothers & Sisters" April 20 (four originals) and "Ugly Betty April 24 (five originals). ABC's renewed freshman dramas "Pushing Daisies," "Private Practice" and "Dirty Sexy Money" will return next season.

Also: CBS announced they are shuffling their Monday night comedy lineup when it returns March 17. Instead of leading off with "How I Met Your Mother," freshman hit "Big Bang Theory" will open the night at 8 p.m. "Mother" shifts to 8:30 p.m. At 9 p.m., "Two and a Half Men" continue to anchor the lineup, followed by "New Adventures of Old Christine" at 9:30 pm