ABC Family pitches 'Nikki in the City' shorts

Network reveals premiere dates for new, returning shows

Move over, Carrie Bradshaw: ABC Family has been pitching advertisers its own version of the fashionable female urbanite with a series of shorts dubbed "Nikki in the City."

The series of 30-second shorts follow the life of a hip, urban Millennial woman (played by Jaime Coates) -- who has a career, great friends and occasionally embarrassing moments -- and the products she uses, the places she shops and the trends she follows. The shorts will air during commercial breaks, with advertisers' products placed seamlessly into the story lines.

At the end of each scripted short, viewers will be directed to, where they can view the library of shorts, read Nikki's profile and blog entries. The network doesn't have a traditional upfront presentation but instead has been pitching the concept to advertisers in more intimate meetings around the country and touting a recent study with Nielsen showing that ABC Family's ad recall is higher than its competitors that target a similar audience.

The "Nikki" initiative "is quality storytelling," ABC Family president Paul Lee said. "Viewers will really relate to the ads, and it's a fun tactic for advertisers."

"Nikki" follows on the heels of ABC Family's "Tease 'N Reveal" campaign, which launched in the winter as part of the network's strategy to maintain and increase audience retention during commercial breaks.

Meanwhile, ABC Family Thursday announced premiere dates for a slew of new and returning originals, including new series "The Middleman" (June 16) and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (formerly the untitled Brenda Hampton series) (8 p.m. July 1) as well as the six-hour "special event" "Samurai Girl" (Sept. 5-7). In addition, Steven Schirripa has signed on for a recurring role in "Teenager."

Meanwhile, "Lincoln Heights" returns for a third season and "Greek" for its second season in the fall, while "Kyle XY" returns with its third season in January.

"Roommates," the network's first half-hour comedy, will premiere next year, as will Canadian series "Sophie."

In addition, off-net comedies "That '70s Show" and "My Wife and Kids" join the schedule in June and September, respectively.

Lee also noted the success ABC Family is seeing with original movies and pointed to two coming up -- Michelle Trachtenberg starrer "The Circuit" (8 p.m. June 8) and Ashley Tisdale pic "Picture This" (8 p.m. July 13) -- as well as the network's annual "25 Days of Christmas" programming event, which will include the new holiday special "A Miser Brothers Christmas" and new original movie "Snow 2 Brain Freeze," starring Tom Cavanaugh and Ashley Williams.