'Betty' takes a break as ABC goes for yuks

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ABC on Monday announced the creation of a new Thursday night comedy block and the scheduling of two of its three remaining midseason comedies.

Starting March 26, the network will plant single-mom comedy "In the Motherhood" into 8 p.m. Thursdays while moving "Samantha Who?" from Mondays to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays.

Usual time-period occupant "Ugly Betty" will take a rare hiatus, then return to the slot this season after "Motherhood" and "Samantha" finish their short-order runs.

ABC also has scheduled the office sitcom "Better Off Ted" for 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays starting March 18, paired in the hour with "Scrubs."

The Thursday move puts ABC's comedy block head-to-head against NBC's "My Name Is Earl" and "Kath & Kim," which have slipped in the ratings in recent months. ABC is not the first competitor to see an opportunity; last week, Fox moved medical drama "Bones" into the same slot and won the hour.

The move also represents one of the first hints that ABC might be getting frustrated with the performance of "Betty," which has served as a dependable but relatively modest lead-in for top-rated "Grey's Anatomy." ABC will forgo airing "Betty" repeats in order to squeeze in the two comedies.

Still not scheduled: Mike Judge's animated comedy "The Goode Family," which is considered a challenge because ABC does not have another animated show with which to pair it. (partialdiff)
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