ABC Asks 'Lost' to Stay Up Later
Show moves to 10 p.m. Wednesdays in Feburary; comedies take on 'Idol'
The network has decided to move "Lost" to the 10 p.m. ET timeslot on Wednesdays, starting with its return from hiatus on Feb. 7. That should make ABC affiliates happy, as they'll have a much better lead-in for their local newscasts, and it's likely to give ABC's prime-time ratings a substantial boost in that hour.
ABC will try out a comedy block on the rest of the night. Starting Jan. 3, back-to-back episodes of veteran sitcom "According to Jim" will fill the 8 p.m. hour, followed by the premieres of two new shows, "The Knights of Prosperity" and "In Case of Emergency." "George Lopez" will join the lineup at 8 p.m. Jan. 24, bumping "Jim" back to 8:30.
The changes could spell an early end to "Day Break," the show that replaced "Lost" in the 9 p.m. Wednesday spot last month. It was scheduled to run for 12 weeks straight during "Lost's" hiatus, but it will have aired no more than eight epsiodes (including the two-hour premiere) before the new comedies debut. ABC hasn't said anything about the fate of the series.
In addition to addressing its 10 p.m. problems on Wednesdays, ABC's move also gets "Lost" out of what will be a brutally competitive timeslot starting in January. "American Idol" will take up residence there starting Jan. 17, and CBS' "Criminal Minds," which beat "Lost" head-to-head a couple of times this fall, will get a boost from a post-Super Bowl airing the week before "Lost" returns.
"Lost" is still a pretty big hit for ABC -- it averaged 17.8 million viewers per week in its fall run and is a top-five show among the adults 18-49 that advertisers adore. Still, its total audience was down by better than 2 million viewers compared to its first six episodes last season, so moving it to a less cutthroat time period -- it will air opposite CBS' "CSI: NY" and NBC's "Medium" -- makes some sense.
The bad news, of course, is that the two new comedies will have to fend for themselves against "Idol" and "Criminal Minds."
"The Knights of Prosperity," whose premiere date was pushed back from October, stars Donal Logue ("Grounded for Life") as a sad-sack janitor who organizes a group of very amateur thieves to rob the palatial apartment of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger (who has a cameo in the pilot). "In Case of Emergency" features David Arquette, Kelly Hu, Jonathan Silverman and Greg Germann as former high-school classmates whose lives didn't quite turn out as they planned.
The Wednesday shakeup also means ABC will move its game show "Show Me the Money" to 8 p.m. Tuesdays starting Jan. 2. There's no word on when or where -- or if -- "The Nine," which had the 10 p.m. Wednesday slot in the fall, will return.