[05/12/03 - 12:00 AM] 'The Practice,' 'Dragnet' to Return as ABC Finalizes Its Fall Schedule By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)
CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) - ABC's fall 2003 schedule began to take shape over the weekend as the Alphabet network has greenlighted four new comedies: "Hope & Faith," "It's All Relative" (previously untitled Flett-Giordano & Ranberg project), "The Big House" (previously untitled Kevin Hart project) and its untitled project from Tom Hertz. All but Hertz's project are expected to make the fall schedule with the latter coming in at midseason.
The big news however is that ABC has renewed "The Practice" for an eighth season and the drama will return to its old Sunday, 10:00/9:00c slot. The deal comes after lengthy negotiations between ABC and distributor 20th Century Fox. Various sources indicated that ABC's current license fee for the series ($6.5 million per episode) has been slashed in half in order to get the pickup. Current Sunday, 10:00/9:00c time slot holder "Dragnet" has also been given the go-ahead for next season with the series expected to move to Saturdays at 10:00/9:00c.
The Alphabet also confirmed the resurrection of its TGIF comedy block on Friday nights with both "The George Lopez Show" and "Life With Bonnie" moving to the night. As for its other comedies, "Eight Simple Rules," "According to Jim" and "My Wife and Kids" are expected to stay put in their current slots.
ABC announces its fall schedule tomorrow afternoon.