ABC doctors its schedule

'Practice' behind 'Grey's'; 'Mars' to follow 'Lost'

ABC has some intriguing scheduling experiments planned for early next year.

Sources say "Private Practice" will get a chance to shine at 10 p.m Thursdays behind the "Grey's Anatomy" mothership.

And the slightly trippy, time-traveling new drama "Life on Mars" will get a trial behind the seriously trippy, and possibly time-traveling, drama "Lost" at 10 p.m. Wednesdays.

When "Practice" was first announced, most assumed it would launch behind "Grey's." But the network wanted to try and spread the powerhouse brand to another night, and some suspected two hours from the same dramatic universe on Thursday might be a bit trying for fans. Plus, it kept the post-"Grey's" slot free to try and launch other new shows with less brand recognition.

Now, with "Practice" having eroded in the ratings somewhat midweek and the two medical dramas planning multiepisode crossover story lines for the February sweep, pairing the two shows for a Seattle Grace alums block makes more sense.

"Mars" and "Lost" also seem like a potentially satisfied couple. "Life" is the more down-to-earth of the pair, yet the two have enough mutual fantastical elements. (As previously announced, "Lost" is going into "Practice's" 9 p.m. Wednesday slot in January).

No word when this will be announced or whether the scheduling will be billed as a temporary trial for the shows or as their new regular time periods.

ABC has made some bold scheduling moves in the recent past. The network successfully launched three new dramas on Wednesday night last year and put "Grey's Anatomy" against titan "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
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