ABC gives 'Christine' fallback plan


CBS' bubble comedy series "The New Adventures of Old Christine" is assured of a 22-episode fifth-season order.

ABC has closed a backup deal with series producer Warner Bros. TV that guarantees a full-season order to "Christine" if CBS doesn't pick up the show.

This is the second consecutive year ABC has made such a pact for the multicamera sitcom starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a neurotic divorcee. The network's entertainment chief, Stephen McPherson, is considered a big fan of the show.

For now, the odds are in favor of CBS renewing "Christine," which helped the network open a second comedy block on Wednesdays.

But with the comedy going down to the wire every year, the deal with ABC reassures the series' producers, who are seeking to sell it in syndication. (partialdiff)