LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- ABC is locking up its 2009-10 season plans as the network reportedly issued renewals to bubble entries "Castle," "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted" this afternoon.
All three are said to be back for at least 13 episodes however in "Ted's" case that number may include the six installments from its freshman run still yet to air. 20th Century Fox Television is behind "Ted" while ABC Studios produces "Scrubs" and "Castle."
In addition, the Alphabet is moving forward with its pilots "Happy Town," "Cougar Town" and "The Associates" (formerly known as "Untitled David Hemingson Project"). Fellow newcomer "V" is also expected to get picked up by the time ABC formally announces its lineup for next season on Tuesday.
The quartet, detailed below, will join a freshman class that includes drama "Flash Forward" and comedy "Modern Family."
-- THE ASSOCIATES (20th Century Fox Television): "Sterling Law is one of L.A.'s most prestigious law firms. Each year it recruits four new young lawyers from the finest law schools worldwide. It will nurture, guide and shape these recruits into the best damned lawyers they can possibly be or else. This year the lucky four are Dylan (Matt Long), a blue collar kid made-good; Addy (Tina Majorino), a sweet mid-Westerner with a lethal legal mind; Beth (Leah Pipes), a brilliant Brentwood babe; and Liam (Ben Lawson), an Australian with serious drive. Sterling Law is under the control of ruthless senior partner Cliff Huddle (Billy Zane), aka "The Prince of Darkness." But when legendary partner Hart Sterling (Clancy Brown) returns to the firm after a long hiatus caring for his dying wife, he's ready to shake things up. The only way for these first years to survive being caught in the middle of this major power struggle is to support each other, even as they compete against one another in the cutthroat arena of corporate law. They discover unlikely allies in their mercurial recruiter Rowdy (Norbert Leo Butz) and litigating whirlwind Susan (Sherri Saum), who is Cliff's icy, but talented wife. Dylan also manages to make a deeper connection with an ace paralegal named Addy (Rachelle Lefevre), but every alliance at Sterling is complicated. Addy is drawn to Dylan, but it seems she hasn't quite broken off her affair with Cliff. The complex personal and professional lives of Grey's Anatomy's interns combine with the high-stakes world of L.A. Law in this sharp dramedy from David Hemingson, co-executive producer of How I Met Your Mother. Greed, betrayal, illegal acts; it's all a part of being a first year associate at Sterling Law. Law school definitely didn't prepare them for this." Michael Fresco directed the hour from a script by David Hemingson.
-- COUGAR TOWN (ABC Studios): "Can a woman of a certain age be a mom, a successful career woman and still be on the prowl? Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox) is about to give it a try. In a small Florida town, the center of high society is the Cougars high school football team... which is wildly appropriate since this town is the natural habitat for over-tanned, under-dressed divorces prowling for younger men. Jules desperately doesn't want to be one of them, but with an ugly divorce behind her and 40 staring right back at her, she's longing for a little more action in her life. The available men her own age, like her silver fox of a neighbor, Grayson Ellis (Josh Hopkins), only seem interested in dating barely legal hotties which is awkward considering he's also her teenage son Tad's (Dan Byrd) therapist. Egged on by her very married and very irreverent best friend Elle (Christa Miller) and her determined assistant Laurie (Busy Philipps), Jules reluctantly dips her toe back into the dating pool. To her surprise, she hits it off with a nice young guy named Bobby (Brian Van Holt) emphasis on the young and discovers this gal still has the goods. Co-executive produced by Courteney Cox and Bill Lawrence (Scrubs), Cougartown is the single-camera comedy that dares to tell the truth about dating after divorce. Juggling a teenage son with her thriving career and budding love life isn't easy, but before you know it, Jules will have you cheering, "Go Cougars!"" Ian Gomez also stars in the half-hour, which comes from co-creators Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel. Lawrence also helmed the pilot.
-- HAPPY TOWN (ABC Studios): "For the past seven years Haplin, Minnesota's lived up to its nickname, Happy Town. Even the air is sweet with the smell of bread from the industrial bakery. Unfortunately, everything is about to change. Seven years ago, an unknown psycho, nick-named "The Magic Man" kidnapped seven children before Sheriff Griffin Conroy chased him away. But the discovery of a local's gruesome murder and the disappearance of a new child have everyone whispering the Magic Man is back. Now, Mayor Haplin has ordered Deputy Tommy Conroy (Geoff Stults) to replace his father as Sheriff whether he wants the job, or not. Tommy knows better than to cross the town royalty, whose bakery employs half the town, including his wife (Amy Acker). As Tommy begins investigating, his friends and neighbors become suspects and the quiet small town life he's always cherished begins to sour. But Tommy's not the only one investigating Haplin. A mysterious young woman (Lauren German) has just arrived in town, and she's quietly searching for answers about her family's history with the residents of Happy Town. From the executive producers of October Road and Life on Mars, comes the enthralling new drama, Happy Town. In the sleepy little hamlet of Haplin, Minnesota, not all secrets have been put to rest." The show's ensemble cast also includes Dean Winters, Jay Paulson, John Patrick Amedori, Robert Wisdom, Sam Neill and Sarah Gadon. Andre Nemec, Josh Applebaum and Scott Rosenberg co-created the project while Gary Fleder helmed the two-hour pilot.
V (Warner Bros. Television): "Today, the world woke up to find spaceships over every major city. The Visitors claim to have come in peace, bringing gifts of medical miracles and technological breakthroughs. They promise to do no harm. They're lying. Most people believe the aliens have arrived just when we needed them most. We're eager to embrace their generous offers of help, but while tracking a terrorist cell, Homeland Security agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) stumbles upon something far more sinister. When her partner (Alan Tudyk) tries to kill her, Erica discovers that the aliens have plans to infiltrate our governments and businesses, planting seeds for their plot to control mankind. Convincing anyone of the truth will be impossible because the Visitors have two powerful weapons. First, they've given the people faith with their reassuring presence and gifts. Second, they've rallied our youth. Thousands of teens, including Erica's son (Logan Huffman), have been recruited as 'Peace Ambassadors' but they're actually serving as unwitting spies. Erica's violent introduction to the truth thrusts her into the resistance movement, where she joins forces with Ryan (Morris Chestnut), a rogue alien driven to save humanity. She'll have to balance her covert activities with her job, and her role as a mother, fighting to protect her son Tyler even as he joins forces with the enemy. From executive producer Scott Peters, Emmy-nominated creator of The 4400, comes a bold re-imagining of the sci-fi classic. Let the invasion begin." Joel Gretsch, Morena Baccarin and Scott Wolf co-star in the drama, which Yves Simoneau helmed off a script from Scott Peters.