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[04/08/03 - 12:00 AM]
Cable Upfront Presentations: ABC Family
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- ABC Family will try and shake its reputation of being "ABC Repeated" as network executives unveiled the channel's 2003-04 slate to advertisers late last week. Among the plans are two new reality series, a new daytime block, plenty of specials, original movies and of course, repurposed ABC programming.

The network also announced that it will go forward with a second go around of "My Life Is a Sitcom," however it will not order a third season of "The Last Resort." In addition, the channel hopes to go forward with a new scripted series to begin airing in January 2004. Also continuing on the schedule will be repurposed episodes of "The Bachelor," with additional commentary and factoids not seen on its original ABC run.

Here's a rundown of the projects that were announced by ABC Family president Angela Shapiro:

RETURNING ORIGINAL SERIES

MY LIFE IS A SITCOM -- ABC Family has also ordered a second season of the reality series "My Life Is a Sitcom" from Bruce Nash. The series will feature stay-at-home-dad Joe Mozian from the first installment as he travels the country in search of people whose lives may be funny enough to inspire a sitcom pilot. Once Joe has uncovered some of America's funniest people, he will escort them to Los Angeles to meet with executive producers, who will then determine if any of Joe's recruits really are funny enough to star in their very own sitcom pilot.

NEW ORIGINAL SERIES

DANCE FEVER (premieres July 13) -- Based on the hit nostalgic series launched in 1979 and created by Merv Griffin, ABC Family revives the beloved variety series "Dance Fever" for a whole new generation of dance enthusiasts to experience. DANCE FEVER will be produced jointly by Merv Griffin Entertainment and Nash Entertainment ("Meet My Folks," "My Life Is A Sitcom," "Before They Were Stars"), with Merv Griffin and Bruce Nash serving as executive producers.

PERFECT MATCH: NEW YORK (premieres July 27) -- A single person must place their love life into the hands of those who know them best to succeed in finding their ideal mate. Based on the critically acclaimed UK series produced by RDF Productions and executive produced by Michael Davies, producer of, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

NEW PRIMETIME SPECIALS

ABC FAMILY MUSIC SPECIALS (working title) -- Produced by David Saltz, the original specials will feature artist interviews, never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage, new DVD release bonus tracks, in-concert performances, and insights into the artist's personal special interests and charities.

TYING THE KNOT: THE WEDDING OF MELISSA JOAN HART AND MARK WILKERSON (six episodes, premieres July 27) -- Six unscripted specials will follow Melissa Joan Hart and capture every moment in the wedding planning process, culminating with she and Mark Wilkerson pledging their "I do's" in Italy. Ms. Hart's Hartbreak Films will produce the specials for ABC Family. Ms. Hart and Paula Hart will serve as executive producers. Ken Koch ("Sabrina The Teenage Witch," CBS's "Beauty and the Beast," NBC's "Blossom") is producer, and will also co-direct with Paula Hart.

NEW DAYTIME SERIES

A new weekday teen-centered block airing from 3-6 p.m. eastern will consist of the following series:

THE BRENDAN LEONARD SHOW (premieres May 26) -- Based on a cable access show from Chicago, THE BRENDAN LEONARD SHOW will be produced, directed, starred in, edited, filmed and written entirely by Brendan Leonard. 19-year-old Brendan and his six teenage buddies bring their unique perspective to a national audience.

SWITCHED (premieres May 26) -- Two teens simultaneously trade lives during a four-day weekend adventure in a stand alone half-hour episode. The challenge is to see how each teen will cope in a new environment, dealing with a different family, school, friends, activities, and everything involved in trading a life with a counterpart somewhere else in the US.

Both projects will join a to-be-determined set of comedy repeats this summer.

ORIGINAL MOVIES

THIS TIME AROUND (airs June 22) -- What would you do if you had the opportunity to get back at the guy who humiliated you in junior high? Now Mel has that chance when she is assigned to handle publicity for a new restaurant owned by Drew, her crush from all those years ago. She and her best friend devise a plan to win Drew over so Mel can break his heart just as he did to hers. Starring Brian A. Green, Carly Pope and Sara Rue. Doug Barr ("Sex, Lies & Obsession") will direct, with Joel Rice ("One Kill," "About Sarah") executive prodcuing.

LUCKY SEVEN (airs in July) -- A mother leaves her daughter a timeline for finding Mr. Right and marrying him. All of her predictions come true in this touching story exploring the power of destiny and enduring love.

SEE JANE DATE (airs in August) -- Based on the best-selling book of the same name, a girl goes on a dating spree in search of a boyfriend. From a script written by Sheila Lawrence ("Gilmore Girls," "Friends").

PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT

US MAGAZINE QUARTERLY SPECIALS -- ABC Family teams with US Magazine for a regular series of four quarterly specials offering the latest inside scoop on Hollywood news and gossip.

MARY-KATE & ASHLEY OLSEN SPECIALS -- Young entrepreneurs Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will executive produce an original movie and executive produce and star in four fashion-related specials. ABC Family will also have the exclusive rights to the world broadcast premiere of their latest direct-to-video movie "The Challenge."

BACHELOR PADS -- This special will take viewers inside some of their favorite famous bachelor's homes for an exclusive look at their "pads," as well as surprise bachelor pad makeovers.

KNOCK FIRST -- A new reality series following teens who will pull all-nighters to redecorate their bedrooms with the help of friends and a professional designer. Out of the watchful eyes of their parents, who will be sent to a hotel for the night, teens will have the opportunity to give their rooms an exciting new look, sometimes finding creative ways to update their bedrooms without completely letting go of the stuffed animals and craft projects of their childhood. When they return the next day, parents will either be horrified or pleasantly surprised by the fun and funky new look of their teen's room.

1001 DATES -- This uniquely formatted half-scripted/half-reality series will follow the adventures of a fictitious matchmaking service run by two-person man and woman team - a fictitious service that will actually send real people out on real dates. This half-hour series was written by Josh Goldstein ("American Dreams," "Arliss," "The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air"). ABC Family is in negotiations with the team of Greenblatt & Janolarri ("Six Feet Under," "The Hughleys") to executive produce with Josh Goldstein.

TWENTYNOTHINGS -- An updated version of "Friends," this half-hour scripted series follows the lives, trials, tribulations and romances of a group of twenty-something friends living in Michigan. ABC Family will develop this series from a script written by young novelist Molly Jong-Fast and Flynt Waynes. James Burrows ("Taxi," "Cheers," "Will & Grace") is in interested in producing and directing the project.

This article was updated on April 14 with additional press release information.





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· 1,001 DATES (ABC FAMILY)
· AMERICAN DREAMS (NBC)
· ARLI$$ (HBO)
· BACHELOR, THE (ABC)
· DANCE FEVER (ABC FAMILY)
· FRIENDS (NBC)
· GILMORE GIRLS (CW)
· HUGHLEYS, THE (UPN)
· LAST RESORT, THE (ABC FAMILY)
· LUCKY SEVEN (ABC FAMILY)
· MEET MY FOLKS (NBC)
· MY LIFE IS A SITCOM (ABC FAMILY)
· ONE KILL (CBS)
· PERFECT MATCH: NEW YORK (ABC FAMILY)
· SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (WB)
· SEE JANE DATE (ABC FAMILY)
· SEX, LIES AND OBSESSION (LIFETIME)
· SIX FEET UNDER (HBO)
· THIS TIME AROUND: THE MOVIE (ABC FAMILY)
· TWENTYNOTHINGS (ABC FAMILY)
· TYING THE KNOT: THE WEDDING OF MELISSA JOAN HART (ABC FAMILY)
· WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? (ABC)
· WILL & GRACE (NBC)









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