ABC invites 11 to pickup party


In one fell swoop, ABC on Wednesday picked up three freshman and eight returning series for next season.

Rookies "Ugly Betty," "Brothers & Sisters" and "Men in Trees" have been given an early second-season order.

The dramas "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost" and "Boston Legal," dramedy "Desperate Housewives," reality threesome "Dancing With the Stars," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "The Bachelor" and late-night talk show "Jimmy Kimmel Live" also have also been picked up for next season, joining the recently renewed "America's Funniest Home Videos," "Supernanny" and "Wife Swap."

"We have had a strong year, with two of the season's breakout hits, 'Ugly Betty' and 'Brothers & Sisters,' and the solid performance of 'Men in Trees,' " said ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson, who made the pickup announcement at the network's March development meeting with advertisers. "We are pleased that viewers have invested in these new favorites along with our other returning series."

Although the pickups for such hits as "Grey's," "Lost," "Housewives," "Betty," "Dancing" and "Home Edition" were widely expected, the early vote of confidence for freshmen "Men" and "Boston Legal," which have developed smaller but devoted fan bases, was somewhat of a surprise. Remaining on the fence is another drama with limited following, sophomore "What About Brian."

No half-hour comedy made the cut for an early pickup, though veterans "According to Jim" and "George Lopez" are considered strong candidates to return.

"Brothers & Sisters," from ABC TV Studio, is executive produced by Ken Olin, Jon Robin Baitz and Greg Berlanti. Golden Globe winner "Betty," also from ABC TV, is executive produced by Salma Hayek, Silvio Horta, Ben Silverman, Jose Tamez, James Hayman and Marco Pennette. "Men," from Warner Bros. TV, is executive produced by Jenny Bicks, James Mangold and Cathy Konrad.