The Walt Disney Co. considers ABC Family a "huge priority" and
is committed to it with dollars: The cable channel's program budget this year is
more than it was the past two years combined, officials said Monday.
ABC Family president Angela Shapiro told a press gathering here that she is
positioning the service as the home of "fun, lighthearted entertainment with a
With that in mind, ABC Family will be developing six half-hour comedies,
then picking the best of them for series, according to Linda Mancuso, senior vice
president and head of programming.
The network also unveiled a summer program slate anchored with four new
reality series and an afternoon block for teens.
Trying to build on its teen audience, ABC Family's afternoon block, dubbed
"Teen XYX," will air 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and debut May 26.
Two unscripted series are already set for it, The
Brendan Leonard Show and Switched?.
Leonard is a 19-year-old who had a successful cable-access show in Chicago, and Switched?
has two teens swapping roles and identities for four days.
ABC Family plans to keep freshening that block with new fare, officials
The new adult reality series are Dance Fever,
based on the nostalgic series launched in 1979, and Perfect Match: New
York, executive-produced by Who Wants to Be a Millionaire;s
ABC Family has staked a claim with romantic-comedy original movies, and it will
do eight this year, according to Shapiro.
And the network has some marquee talent involved in those projects as
producers, including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Courteney Cox, Britney Spears,
Goldie Hawn and her daughter, Kate Hudson.
Ratings-challenged ABC Family is a top priority for new owner Disney,
chairman Michael Eisner and president Robert Iger, according to Shapiro.
"For me, there's a lot of challenges, as you all know," she said. "It really
helps when your bosses are on your side."
ABC Family plans include doing the six-part reality
series Tying the Knot: The Wedding of Melissa Joan Hart and Mark
ABC Family's scripted-series development includes
TwentyNothings, a Friends-type show set in Michigan, and
, about a fictitious
matchmaking service that will send out real people on real dates.