Greys Anatomy

ABC/Frank Ockenfels

I just got back from a powwow with the man behind the curtain. No, not Jacob from Lost but rather Mr. Steve McPherson, president of ABC, who had much to say about the decisions announced today. Here's what you should know: 

Lost  Is Not on the Fall Schedule:  And this is a good thing! In its place at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays, we will get a show I'm already freakishly addicted to: Dirty Sexy Money, starring Peter Krause as a lawyer to a hilarious, Hilton-esque family. And Lost will come back midseason to run back-to-back episodes. McPherson says, "I like the Lost model. I like being able to run it straight through." And the best news for us early risers? McPherson says Lost is "better off as an 8 or 9 p.m. show." He also plans to keep it on Wednesday nights.

McPherson Really Wanted Scrubs"I was bummed," he says when asked about losing the chance to pick up Scrubs (which is staying on NBC). "Bill [Lawrence] and I developed that show together, and we had a beer early last week and we were hoping it would work out. But I'm happy for those guys that they got another year. It's such a great show."

Grey's Anatomy's Cast May Be Losing a Member:  As reporters met with McPherson at ABC headquarters this a.m., the most asked question was about Grey's Anatomy's on-set scandal, and whether Isaiah Washington or T.R. Knight might be leaving the show. The answers ranged from "At this point, nothing's been decided" to "The show will return intact next season" to "Most of the cast will return." Call it a hunch, but something tells me a main castmember may indeed be leaving—or at the very least, left cliff-hanging at the end of the season. 

Private Practice  Will Be Tweaked a Bit:  More story. More drama. Less character introduction now that we're moving past the pilot. McPherson points out that while Grey's is about young, up-and-coming surgeons finding their way, this show is about established docs who already have deep relationships and connections. "We are not trying to imitate Grey's."

The Knights of Prosperity Almost Made the Cut:  "Knights of Prosperity was a show we all really loved," McPherson admitted. "But in the end there were a lot of factors that didn't, you know...Mick Jagger's kind of disappearance from the show, and in the end, performance, that we were all a little baffled by, but we thought they did a great show and we were excited by it." He said he tried to find a space for it and couldn't, and also that The Nine was the hardest to let go. "Every episode of that show was incredibly well written and well acted."

It's All About "Escapism":  McPherson says that after The Nine and Daybreak flopped last season, he started to realize a "tonal shift in the audience," and he calls the three breakout shows of last season—Heroes, Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters—all "escapist in different ways." That said, this season is all about closed-ended, stand-alone-episode series that are mystical, soapy or spiritual. 

It's All About the Number Four!  Cashmere Mafia is about four women who are business-school buddies; Big Shots is about four men who are CEOs; Women's Murder Club is about four women who are amateur crime solvers; and Carpoolers is about four very different men who commute to work. Anybody notice a trend here? McPherson seems to be ditching the large ensemble casts (too problematic?) in favor of finding the new Sex and the City or Desperate Housewives.

Steve McPherson Hearts Bryan Fuller and Greg Berlanti:  These producers from Heroes, Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls (Fuller) and Everwood and Brothers & Sisters (Berlanti) got some mad love from McPherson this morning as he discussed their new shows coming to ABC. "I can't say enough about the script and the words that were on the paper," McPherson said of Fuller's Pushing Daisies pilot. "His vision is extraordinary and it's like nothing you've seen before on television." As for Eli Stone's Berlanti, whom he credits (along with the addition of Sally Field) for rescuing Brothers & Sisters from its troubled pilot, McPherson says, "He's been an unbelievable asset to us. And he will stay on Brothers & Sisters while driving this new show." Phew!

That's it for now. Check back later for more from ABC's presentation and party.

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