ABC President Willing to Take the Risk

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No one can accuse ABC of playing it safe this year.

Not that it can afford to, writes Matt Roush of TV Guide. With nine new series to introduce this fall (10 if you count Day Break, which will pinch hit for Lost for 13 weeks beginning in November) there's little doubt that the network has its work cut out for it. ABC has taken some notable risks as a result, the most noteworthy being the move of Grey's Anatomy to Thursday night.

Intense Burke
"We know it’s an aggressive schedule," ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson said. "We’re rebuilding. We’ve got a lot of work to do... We have to look at the assets that we have and play those cards."

"There’s risk in it, there's no question, but if you look at our options and you weigh out what options we had to play and where we had to play them, indeed this is the best scenario. It’s not ideal. I wish I had seven nights of programming I didn’t have to change. But that's not the way the game is played," he added.

The shifting of Grey's Anatomy sets up a brawl with CSI, which has dominated Thursdays for years. Who's the favorite? Nina Tassler, head of CBS Entertainment, played the lowering-expectations game last weekend when she referred to her network's smash hit crime drama as the underdog.

McPherson wasn't buying it.

"I heard Nina was playing the rope-a-dope. It’s kind of funny. CSI and CBS have dominated that night. I think they are the champions without question, and we are coming on with a strong contender and hope to do some business," he said.

Adding to ABC's risk factor this season is the fact that many of its new shows are unconventional. As in, high concept or serialized, or, to be more specific, demanding of their audience. But the man running the show seems to think that's the direction he should go.

"I hope that viewers will give the next serialized show a shot. But I think it raises the bar for how good serials have to be... We have to have more appointment television." McPherson said. "More Losts. More Desperate Housewives. More Grey's Anatomys. We have to have shows that people need to watch at a specific time."

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

I want to marry you. I want to have kids with you. I want to build us a house. I want to settle down and grow old with you. I want to die when I'm 110 years old, in your arms. I don't want 48 uninterrupted hours. I want a lifetime. Mmm. Do you see what happens? I say things like that and you fight the urge to run in the opposite direction. It's okay, I understand. I didn't, but now I do, I do. You're just getting started and I've been doing this for a long time now. Deep down, you're still an intern, and you're not ready.

Derek