ABC pairs pickup 'Suburbia' with 'Dancing'

Comedy originally was slated for CW Sunday night block

ABC has picked up the Media Rights Capital comedy "Surviving Suburbia" and scheduled the series to run after "Dancing With the Stars" in April.

"Suburbia" was originally planned as a midseason addition to the CW's Sunday night block. When the CW elected to pull the low-rated block from its lineup, MRC told producers to continue shooting in hopes of attracting another buyer.

"We were halfway through production and terrified they were going to shut us down," said executive producer Michael Hanel. "MRC had just started exploring other options they said we want you to do all 13 episodes."

The collapse of the CW block turned out to be a blessing in disguise. ABC quickly stepped in and rescued the show, giving it a significant promotion. The series will premiere April 6 at 9:30 p.m. behind "Dancing," filling the slot vacated by "Samantha Who" now that the Christina Applegate comedy is moving to Thursdays. "Dancing" helped drive a significant audience to "Samantha" and establish the show.

The move brings Bob Saget back to the network after playing a suburban dad for nearly a decade on "Full House" (1987-95).

"Surburbia" is about a couple who have been married for 20 years and have two children and a cookie-cutter house in the idyllic suburbs, but with Saget's character maintaining a cynical point of view.

Hanel said Saget's character is midway between the actor's wholesome image from "House" and his lurid standup.

"People will see him in a very different way from 'America's Funniest Home Videos' and 'Full House' but not what people see him in his comedy, Hanel said. "Like when John Ritter went into '8 Simple Rules,' this is the right role at the right time for him."

ABC now has a healthy number of half-hours for midseason, though they're going to be sprinkled across three nights on the schedule: "Suburbia" on Mondays, "Better Off Ted" and "Scrubs" on Tuesdays and "In the Motherhood" and "Samantha" on Thursdays.

There's still no word on the placement of Mike Judge's animated MRC comedy "The Goode Family."
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