ABC Reduces Millionaire, Axes Geena

ABC unveiled its fall schedule; it's got half as much Millionaire, and no Geena or Gideon.

The network (which, like Mr. Showbiz, is owned by the Walt Disney Company) is paring down the frequency of its hit game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire from four nights to two nights next season. The Regis Philbin-hosted quiz show will now air only on Mondays and Thursdays.

Gone are Geena Davis' sitcom and the dour medical drama Gideon's Crossing. The network is renewing the midseason comedies The Job, starring Denis Leary; What About Joan, starring Joan Cusack; and Damon Wayans' My Wife and Kids.

Walters and Bochco Peeved at Being Moved The network's decision to move 20/20 from Friday nights to Wednesday nights for the first three months of the season has angered 20/20 anchor Barbara Walters, who told The Associated Press today, "[They] knew that I would be disturbed and I was. Having said that, we'll be OK. … This isn't the end of the world."

Another set of ruffled feathers belongs to Stephen Bochco, who is upset that his new show, Philly, which stars NYPD Blue alum Kim Delaney, is bumping Blue from its 10 p.m. Tuesday slot. In 1999, Bochco and his Blue crew were peeved at being temporarily bumped by Once and Again. Now, they'll go up against NBC's Law & Order on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. in midseason after 20/20's run in that time slot ends.

Alexander, Field Lead New Series ABC is trying its luck with new series from Jason Alexander, Jim Belushi and Courtney Thorne-Smith, Sally Field, and John Stamos for the 2001-2002 season.

Alexander stars in Bob Patterson as a motivational speaker who fears he's lost his touch. It will air Tuesdays opposite NBC's Frasier at 9 p.m. Dharma & Greg and What About Joan will also air Tuesdays, at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., respectively.

The network's other new comedy, The Dad, with Belushi and Thorne-Smith, will air on Wednesday nights at 8:30 p.m., following My Wife and Kids. The network is also planning the dramas Thieves, an action series with Stamos and Melissa George as thieves hired by the government to retrieve lost property, and Alias, about a female graduate student who is also a CIA agent.

On Mondays at 10 p.m., the network will introduce The Court, an hour-long drama set behind the scenes of the Supreme Court and starring Sally Field.

Matt and Ben's Runner debuts After the football season ends, ABC will offer up its nod to the reality programming genre Monday nights with The Runner, a kind of scavenger hunt combined with a children's game of Tag, in which the prize is $1 million. The show, which is produced by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, will air on Monday nights at 9 p.m., beginning in January.

In midseason, ABC is planning a series of specials created by James Cameron, director of Titanic, and scientist Jean-Michel Cousteau called Ocean Challenge. In August, it will launch The Wayne Brady Show, a sketch comedy show with the star of Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Reuters contributed to this story.

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