'Cougar Town' gets a new night, later start date next season

cougar-town-cry-to-me-320.jpgThe good news: ABC has enough faith in "Cougar Town" to make it the anchor of a comedy block next season. The bad news: You won't see the show return until a few months into the 2011-12 season.

ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee said Tuesday (May 17) that "Cougar Town" will move to 9 p.m. Tuesdays in 2011-12, starting after the fall cycle of "Dancing With the Stars" ends. It will be the only returning show in a two-hour comedy block that also includes newcomers "Last Man Standing" and "Man Up," both of which will start earlier in the fall, and "Apartment 23." ( See ABC's full fall schedule.)

"We think comedy is absolutely right," Lee says. "I said this when I first came in: We think the winds are blowing behind comedy, and we've certainly had a lot of success on Wednesday night."

The two-hour Tuesday block will keep ABC mostly in original episodes in the time between "Dancing" seasons -- but it also means that "Cougar Town" could be broken up into two chunks. The bulk of the season would air in the four-month gap between the two "DWTS" cycles, but that's not quite enough room for a full complement of 22 episodes.

One option, Lee says, would be "run[ning] it through into the summer. I think what we want to have is more originals, and more sustained originals, as we go through the year."

This season the fall cycle of "Dancing With the Stars" ended on Nov. 23, so look for "Cougar Town" to debut sometime after Thanksgiving next season.
Photo/Video credit: ABC