ABC calls the cops for drama

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ABC is beefing up its police procedural ranks with two new cop dramas planned for midseason. The network picked up ABC Studios' "Castle," starring Nathan Fillion as a horror novelist who helps the NYPD solve crimes, and Sony TV's "The Unusuals," an ensemble dramedy set in a New York police precinct co-starring Amber Tamblyn, for series orders Monday. In addition, the Alphabet picked up three other shows.

Along with the fall series "Life on Mars," the drama pickups give ABC some procedural guns for next season. Though the network has plenty of medical and legal shows, it has lacked a successful title from the police genre to call its own since "NYPD Blue" went off the air in 2005.

ABC also picked up Rob Thomas' "Cupid," a one-hour reinvention of Thomas' 1998 romantic comedy starring Bobby Cannavale, and a pair of half-hour single camera comedies: 20th's Victor Fresco laugher "Better Off Ted," an office comedy starring Jay Harrington as a moral guy trying to do right in an amoral world, as well as ABC Studios/DreamWorks' comedy "Single With Parents," in which Alyssa Milano juggles her dysfunctional family, friends and boss, by "How I Met Your Mother" co-executive producer Kristin Newman.

Because of the WGA-strike delays, the episodes were seen about six months after they were greenlighted as pilots.

"It was worth taking the time to go through the pilot process to really do it right," said Steve McPherson, ABC's entertainment president. "We're excited about these series and feel they're perfect additions to our dominant core slate of shows."

There is still no word on the fate of ABC's other pilots, such as the fantastical "Captain Cook's Extraordinary Atlas," "Bad Mother's Handbook" starring Alicia Silverstone and "Never Better" starring Damon Wayans.

"These are the initial pick-ups, but there are a number of other pilots we feel will also get the go-ahead in some form moving forward," McPherson said. (partialdiff)
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