ABC targets Thursday with comedy block

'Ugly Betty' will take hiatus in schedule shift

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

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

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

ABC also has scheduled the office sitcom "Better Off Ted," airing Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. 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 in the hour. Just last week Fox moved medical drama "Bones" into the same slot and won first place.

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, yet 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 other animated shows to pair it with.