NEW YORK – ABC is moving its hottest show, "Grey's Anatomy," to Thursdays in the fall as part of an aggressive schedule that will bring at least 15 new series to the air next season.
Ted Danson, Taye Diggs, Calista Flockhart, Anne Heche, David Arquette and Rachel Griffiths are among the stars that will appear in new ABC series, the network announced Tuesday.
ABC has also left the newsmagazine "Primetime" off its fall schedule for the first time since its introduction in 1989. But ABC News said "Primetime" will remain in production for specials, limited-run series and perhaps as a replacement for a failed entertainment program.
ABC is the only one of the major networks to increase its ratings over last year on the strength of hits "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost." But the rest of its schedule was weak, forcing the network to make an uncommonly large number of pilots.
Moving the medical soap "Grey's Anatomy" to 9 p.m. Thursdays sets up a battle with one of TV's most popular shows, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" on CBS, and NBC's most-touted new series, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."
"There's a lot of history of big shows going up against one another and there's plenty of room for both," said Steve McPherson, ABC entertainment president.
ABC canceled "Commander in Chief," leaving Geena Davis as a one-year president, although a two-hour movie may be made with the same cast. "Invasion," "Hope & Faith," "Jake in Progress" and "Sons and Daughters" were among the other shows left off the schedule.
Flockhart and Griffiths star in "Brothers & Sisters," a drama about a maladjusted family. Danson is a self-help guru going through a midlife crisis in the comedy "Help Me Help You," Heche is a relationship counselor who moves to Alaska in the drama "Men in Trees" and Diggs is in "Day Break," a thriller that uses elements of the movie "Groundhog Day."