LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- ABC has released several images of its new projects in conjunction with its upfront presentation.
Here's a look at each, listed alphabetically according to series:
NEW SHOWS - DRAMA
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (One-hour drama, Sunday, 9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) -- Looking down on her friends and family isn't a way of life for Mary Alice Scott. It's a way of death. One day, in her perfect house, in the loveliest of suburbs, Mary Alice ended it all. Now she's taking us into the lives of her family, friends and neighbors, commenting from her elevated POV. Her husband's acting suspicious, the neighbors are talking, and her girlfriends are wondering why one of their own would do something so rash� and so messy. From her unique vantage point, Mary Alice sees more now than she ever did alive and she's planning to share all the delicious secrets that hide behind every neighbor's closed door in this seemingly perfect American suburb. The writer of Melrose Place and General Hospital (Executive Producer Charles Pratt Jr.) has helped create a primetime soap with a truly contemporary take on happily ever after.
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (One-hour drama, Thursday, 9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) -- They say teenage boys think about sex every 15 seconds. That's 240 times an hour. And in between they cram everything else: Cheating moms. Interfering dads. Sex. Secret crushes. Pop quizzes. Sex. Clueless teachers. School cliques. Sex. Melvin Burgess' breakthrough novel is the basis for this series about three hormone-charged teenage boys who are trying to do something even harder than losing their virginity, and that's to grow up without totally freaking out. There's Dino, the handsome jock with the secret sensitive side; Jonathan, the artist who sees life through a camera lens; and Ben, the straight-A student who still can't make his parents happy. This coming of age drama in the tradition of "Stand By Me" and "The Outsiders" comes to ABC from the writers of "Freaks & Geeks" and "Just Shoot Me."
LOST (One-hour drama, Wednesday, 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) -- Out of the blackness the first thing Jack senses is pain. With a rush comes the horrible awareness that the plane he was on tore apart in mid-air and crashed on a Pacific island. From there it's a blur as his doctor's instinct kicks in: people need his help. Stripped of everything, the 48 survivors scavenge what they can from the plane for their survival. A few find inner strength they never knew they had. Like Kate who, with no medical training, suddenly finds herself suturing the doctor's wounds. The band of friends, family, enemies and strangers must work together against the cruel weather and harsh terrain. But the intense howls of the mysterious creatures stalking the jungle fill them all with fear. Fortunately, thanks to the calm leadership of quick-thinking Jack and level-headed Kate, they have hope. But even heroes have secrets, as the survivors will come to learn. From J.J. Abrams, the creator of "Alias," comes an action-packed adventure that will bring out the very best and the very worst in the people who are lost.
THE PRACTICE: FLEET STREET (One-hour drama, Sunday, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) -- Alan Shore and Denny Crane lead the brigade of high-priced civil litigators in an upscale Boston law firm in a series focusing on the professional and personal lives of brilliant, but often emotionally-challenged, attorneys. Fast-paced, darkly comedic, the series will confront social issues, moral conscience, safe sex, pursuit of happiness and money, with varying degrees of priority. Escape to the law firm on One Fleet Street. Where anything goes� and often will.
NEW SHOWS - COMEDY
RODNEY (Half-hour comedy, Tuesday, 9:30-10:00 p.m., ET) -- Stand-up comedian Rodney Carrington would like to take you to the middle of real, everyday America. In the tradition of "Home Improvement" and "Roseanne" comes a down-to-earth guy's guy who, with his own heartland intelligence, speaks the truth. Rodney is quitting or getting fired from jobs he hates while doing stand-up in dive bars at night. He may not have much money, but he still finds excitement. He's not afraid to walk into a department store naked on a dare. Not afraid to take credit for flowers someone else sent his wife. Not afraid to get between his fighting boys. Not afraid to tell his wife he wants to make stand-up his career. He's going to figure out how to find happiness while being the best damn husband, dad and son he knows how to be.
SAVAGES (Half-hour comedy, Friday, 8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) -- Meet the Savage brothers. They smell. They're slobs. And they love it that way. Executive producer Mel Gibson's real life experiences of raising a brood of boys provide the basis for a take-no-prisoners comedy. Dad Nick wants his boys to learn the skills women don't seem to take so much joy in anymore � you know: cooking, cleaning, laundry. Somehow this dad is going to turn his loutish boys into independent men, the kind any girl could take home to her mother. This is going to be some battle because Nick, just like his sons, is still a boy at heart. Producers Mike Scully and Julie Thacker Scully, writers for "The Simpsons," add their own family experience into the mix for a funny, honest take on raising kids. It reminds us that each child comes with their own personalities and problems, and that none of them come with instructions.
NEW SHOWS - ALTERNATIVE
THE BENEFACTOR (One-hour alternative series, Monday, 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) -- What would you do for a million dollars? Billionaire businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is about to find out because he is "The Benefactor," and he�s set to give away a million bucks to a complete stranger. Why has he agreed to give away such a large sum of money? Because he can�t wait to figure out how America�s applicants will prove to him they deserve it! Sixteen contestants will vie for the money in a competition full of emotional, dramatic challenges � tests of character, intelligence, heart, and maybe a little bit of luck.
WIFE SWAP (One-hour alternative series, Wednesday, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) -- Already a smash hit in the UK and most recently awarded a BAFTA, the UK�s most prestigious television award, WIFE SWAP gives two families the rare opportunity to witness what it is like to live someone else�s life and experiences. Two matriarchs from two households trade places for 10 days. For the first five days of the challenge, they must obey the rules of the new family�s lifestyle and adopt their daily routine � parenting, shopping, housework, creating budgets and social life. For the remaining five days, these women get to run the new house their own way � a radical shock to both families. This intense new series taps into America�s voyeuristic tendencies and desires to judge how others run their households, raise their children and treat their spouses. Never before has a reality series taken such an honest inside look at the American family.
NEW SHOWS - MIDSEASON
BLIND JUSTICE (One-hour drama, Tuesday, 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET ) -- A heist gone wrong. A gunman with an AK-47. Three officers trapped without ammo. His partner frozen in fear, Detective Jim Dunbar � without hesitation -- took action of intense bravery that killed the gunman, saved the officers, and made him a hero. He also took a bullet that blinded him forever. Steven Bochco's new drama stars "ER's" Ron Eldard as Dunbar and tackles the issue of handicapped employees head on. Unique visual effects give us a window on what Dunbar "sees" with his remaining senses as he learns to be a better cop and a better man. He has a long way to go to conquer his demons, but at least he's back on the streets.
EYES (One-hour drama) -- Judd Risk Management is a 21st century P.I. firm whose job is to make their clients' problems go away, quickly and quietly. With each case able to destroy a company, topple a personal fortune, or change the face of governments, this isn't just a business; it's a deadly game with real victims. Founder Harlan Judd has recruited a team whose personal dramas are as colorful as some of their targets. But he is an honest man in a world that demands unorthodox methods and a willingness to bend the law. From the producer of "Fastlane" comes a drama full of bluffs, blackmails, and intrigue.
GREY'S ANATOMY (One-hour drama) - Welcome to Grace Hospital. The toughest surgical residency program west of Harvard. It's a brutal training ground for the newest medical recruits. Meet Meredith, Izzie and Christina. Yesterday they were students. Today they are doctors. And if they can make it through seven years of the finest hell Grace has to offer, they will be surgeons. But the rest of life doesn't stop just because their residency is tough, so this trio will also have to deal with jealous boyfriends and sick parents, one night stands and housing crises, with only each other to rely on. From Shonda Rhimes, the writer of "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," comes a series about young women who are doctors; and doctors who are still young women.
RETURNING SHOWS - DRAMA
ALIAS (midseason - Sundays, 9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) -- The electrifying Emmy Award winning spy drama "Alias" returns for an emotionally gripping fourth season in the life of CIA agent Sydney Bristow. In her Golden Globe Award-winning role, Jennifer Garner stars in this non-stop thrill ride through espionage, adventure and heart-wrenching drama. Traveling around the world incognito. Fighting with the bad guys. Wrestling with inner demons. For Sydney, this is a typical day in her life at her not-so-typical job as an agent for the CIA.
NYPD BLUE (Tuesdays from 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) -- "NYPD Blue," one of the longest-running and most critically acclaimed dramas in broadcast history, returns for its 12th and final season on ABC. Set against the gritty backdrop of New York City, "Blue" portrays powerfully realistic characters attempting to integrate their personal lives while working the streets of New York. Four-time Emmy Award-winner Dennis Franz portrays Det. Andy Sipowicz. Mark-Paul Gosselaar returns as Sipowicz�s partner John Clark, Jr. Emmy-winner Gordon Clapp portrays Det. Greg Medavoy, Jacqueline Obradors plays Det. Rita Ortiz, Henry Simmons is Det. Baldwin Jones, Garbelle Beuavais-Nilon is Assistant D.A. Valerie Haywood, Bill Brochtrup portrays public administrative assistant John Irvin, and John O'Donohue is the new precinct commander Sergeant Eddie Gibson. "NYPD Blue" is a Steven Bochco Production, co-created by Steven Bochco and David Milch. Bochco also serves as executive producer with Mark Tinker and former New York City police detective Bill Clark.
RETURNING SHOWS - COMEDY
8 SIMPLE RULES (new night - Fridays, 8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) -- It's a time for healing and learning to deal with life without family patriarch Paul, as the Hennessys discover the frailties of life and the strength of the family unit, on the second season of "8 Simple Rules." The series was awarded the 2003 People's Choice Award for Best New Comedy, as well as two 2003 Teen Choice Awards for Choice TV Comedy and Choice TV Breakout Actress for Kaley Cuoco, and two Family Television Awards for Best Comedy and Favorite Siblings.
ACCORDING TO JIM (Tuesdays, 9:00 to 9:30 p.m., ET) -- "According to Jim," the hit family comedy series starring Jim Belushi as Jim, returns for a fourth season on ABC. Jim is a guy's guy with a wife (Courtney Thorne-Smith) who calls him on his antics and his kids (Taylor Atelian and Billi Bruno) he adores. A contractor in a design firm, Jim works with his architect brother-in-law and partner in comedy Andy (Larry Joe Campbell). Jim clashes with his sister-in-law Dana (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), who's in a perpetual search for a career and a man.
AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS (Sundays from 7:00-8:00 p.m., ET) -- "America�s Funniest Home Videos," an American institution which for 15 seasons has brought laughter to millions of viewers with clips of everyday people caught on tape, is hosted by Tom Bergeron. Last season AFHV celebrated a milestone achieved by only a handful of shows in the history of the medium � its 300th episode. The videos, submitted by viewers, offer big laughs and the chance for viewers to win big money. Every week throughout the season, $15,000 in prize money is awarded: $10,000 for the clip the studio audience chooses as its favorite, $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for the third place winner. Special $100,000 grand prizes will be awarded during the season to video buffs whose wildly funny or unusual video clips are judged favorites by studio audiences. "America�s Funniest Home Videos" has given away over $7 million in prize money and evaluated more than half a million videotapes from home viewers. Vin Di Bona is executive producer, with Todd Thicke and Terry Moore serving as co-executive producers. "America�s Funniest Home Videos," which premiered on January 14, 1990, is from Vin Di Bona Productions.
GEORGE LOPEZ (new night and time - Tuesdays, 8:30-9:00 p.m., ET) -- "George Lopez," the hit half-hour comedy, returns to the ABC Television Network for its fourth season this Fall. George Lopez is a guy whose life has become much more complicated since he became the first assembly line worker to be promoted to plant manager at a Los Angeles airplane parts factory. Though his affable friend, Ernie and former compadres rib him about becoming "Mr. Clipboard," they still like him � they just have fun behind his back. Managing his tough and acerbic but loving mother, Benny (Belita Moreno), while sifting through her vast assortment of lies about this childhood and maintaining a civil relationship, presents constant challenges, both at work and at home. Fortunately George�s devoted and loving wife, Angie (Constance Marie), copes surprisingly well with Benny�s insensitive wisecracks. Her newfound success as a cosmetics salesperson tests George�s ego. George and Angie�s eleven-year-old son, Max (Luis Armand Garcia), is a dyslexic, constant ball of energy, while his sixteen-year-old daughter Carmen (Masiela Lusha) struggles with self esteem problems and peer pressure of being a teenage high schooler.
HOPE & FAITH (Fridays from 9:00-9:30 p.m., ET) -- "Hope & Faith," now entering its second season, is a comedy about what happens when the fast lane collides with the carpool lane. It�s about the moments that make you want to hug your sister...and the times you have to resist the urge to kill her. Hope has a tidy life as a suburban mom in Ohio, complete with a hunky husband and three great kids. But worlds collided when her celebrity sister, Faith, was fired from her soap opera and sought refuge at Hope's home. Faith's outrageous antics have a way of engulfing the people around her, and as Hope knows all too well, you can kill the diva off the daytime drama, but you can't take the drama out of the diva. "Hope & Faith" garnered a People's Choice Award nomination in its first season and stars Faith Ford as Hope, Kelly Ripa as Faith, Ted McGinley as Charley, Nicole Paggi as Sydney, Macey Cruthird as Hayley and Paulie Litt as Justin. Executive producer/creator is Joanna Johnson; executive producers are Emile Levisetti and Guymon Casady. Gil Junger is executive producer/director, and Mark Driscoll is co-executive producer. "Hope & Faith" is produced by Touchstone Television in association with Industry Entertainment.
LESS THAN PERFECT (new night - Fridays, 9:30-10:00 p.m., ET) -- Sara Rue stars as Claudia "Claude" Casey, the assistant to handsome GNB news anchor, Will Butler, played by Eric Roberts. Claude is a little older and a little wiser now, but she still manages to do her job with the same enthusiasm that she had on her first day. Her co-workers on the 22nd floor seem less interested in her vivacious attitude than getting rid of her. Kipp (Zachary Levi) and Lydia (Andrea Parker) are certain that Claude is a minor inconvenience who will easily fold, but while she may look like a pushover, they�ll learn not to push her. With the help of her old friends from the fourth floor, Ramona (Sherri Shepherd) and Owen (Andy Dick), Claude is determined to prove that she may not be perfect, but she�s also not going down without a fight. Claude's wacky next-door neighbor Carl (Will Sasso) also works at GNB in the cafeteria and is Owen's buddy. The upstairs/downstairs battle continues in the workplace. As "Less Than Perfect" enters its third season, Patrick Warburton will join the cast as a series regular, reprising his role as Jeb, an opinionated on-air pundit and Lydia's new fiance.
MY WIFE AND KIDS (new night - Tuesdays, 8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) -- Popular film and television star Damon Wayans is back for a fifth season in the family-oriented comedy, "My Wife and Kids." Damon returns as Michael Kyle, a loving husband and modern-day patriarch who rules his household with a unique and distinct parenting style. As he teaches his three children some of life�s lessons, he does so with his own brand of wisdom, discipline and humor.
RETURNING SHOWS - REALITY
THE BACHELOR (Wednesdays from 9:00-10:00 p.m., ET) -- The hit reality series "The Bachelor" returns for a sixth season, when one lucky man will get to know 25 women via a series of social gatherings and exotic, romantic dates - in groups with some, and individually with others. The show follows a gradual process of elimination, as he must narrow the field of women from 25 to 15 on the season premiere, presenting each of his choices with a single red rose. He then closes the gap to 10, six, four, three, two and, ultimately, the one woman who captures his heart. At any point along the way, however, should any of the women decide that they are no longer interested in him, they may reject his invitation to continue dating. "The Bachelor" provides an in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of each participant involved in this unique dating process, and at the end of the journey, he will have had an unforgettable experience, made new friendships and quite possibly found true love.
EXTREME MAKEOVER (new time period - Thursdays, 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) -- Since its premiere as a one-hour special in December 2002, "Extreme Makeover" has become a pop culture phenomenon�to the extent that the very title is now common vernacular. The show�s depiction of the truly Cinderella-like experience of the participants has unveiled some of the most jaw-dropping transformations, dramatically and forever changing many people�s lives and looks through plastic surgery. Now entering its third season, the Extreme Team of skilled plastic surgeons, eye surgeons, cosmetic dentists, dermatologists, hair and makeup artists, stylists and personal trainers all return to make over a whole new group of lucky individuals who will have their looks and destinies transformed. Some of the Extreme Team experts returning are Dr. Garth Fisher, Dr. Anthony Griffin, dentist Dr. William Dorfman, Dr. Robert Maloney, Dr. Jon Perlman, Dr. Harvey Zarem, Dr. Brent Moelleken, Dr. Malcolm Alan Lesavoy, dermatologist Dr. Ava T. Shamban, dentist Dennis Wells, trainer Michael Thurmond and stylist Sam Saboura. "
EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION (Sundays from 8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) -- Put together one very run-down house, a deserving family, several opinionated designers, seven days and what do you get? The answer is -- an "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." As this ratings-rich reality series enters its second season, each self-contained episode features a race against time on a project that would ordinarily take four months to achieve, involving a team of designers and at least 100 workers who have just seven days to totally rebuild an entire house � every single room, plus the exterior and landscaping. The lives of the lucky families will be forever changed when they learn that they have been selected to have their home walls moved, their floors replaced and even their fa�ades radically changed. The result should be a decorator�s delight� if it can be done in time. The design team who work their creative magic on the homes are team leader and carpenter Ty Pennington, Paul DiMeo (carpentry/nuts & bolts), Tracy Hutson (shopping/style), Michael Moloney (interiors/glamour), Constance Ramos (building/planning) and Preston Sharp (exteriors/big ideas).
RETURNING SHOWS - NEWS
20/20 (Fridays from 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) -- The ABC News primetime news magazine "20/20" has distinguished itself as one of the most esteemed programs in broadcast journalism and continues to combine hard-hitting investigative reports, newsmaker interviews and compelling human interest and feature stories. For over two decades "20/20" has offered viewers reports and stories that have changes lives. Amid the heated, competitive environment of primetime entertainment, "20/20" has demonstrated its ability to consistently attract a significant segment of the viewing audience by offering viewers more choices and more chances to learn about the world around them. Elizabeth Vargas will join John Stossel as co-anchor of the ABC Newsmagazine 20/20, beginning this fall on the ABC Television Network. Featured contributors to the program include ABC News correspondents Bob Brown, Juju Chang, Chris Cuomo, Jami Floyd, Dr. Timothy Johnson, Bill Ritter, Deborah Roberts, Brian Ross and Lynn Sherr.
PRIMETME LIVE (new title - Thursdays from 10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) -- Each week, through a mix of hard-hitting investigative reports, newsmaker interviews and compelling human interest and feature stories, ABC News� "Primetime Live" takes a provocative look at the events that touch people�s lives. Co-anchored by Diane Sawyer, Charles Gibson, Chris Cuomo, Cynthia McFadden and John Qui�ones, the program airs on the ABC Television Network.