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Old 02-02-09, 02:52 AM
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ABC Puts Ugly Betty on Hold

ABC Puts Ugly Betty on Hold
By Kristin Dos Santos Mon Jan 26, 12:42 PM PST

America Ferrera was all smiles on yesterday's SAGs red carpet—perhaps because she didn't know the Ugly plans ABC had in store for her show. (Or, you know, perhaps because she was nominated and looked hot as fire.)

In a surprising move, ABC just announced that its former comedic golden child, Ugly Betty, will be shelved on March 26 in order to bring back Christina Applegate's Samantha Who? and launch a new comedy called In the Motherhood, starring Megan Mullally and Cheryl Hines, in the Thursday 8 p.m. slot.

ABC President Steve McPherson's nostalgic favorite (and old stomping ground) Scrubs and another new comedy, Better Off Ted (Portia de Rossi, Jay Harrington), will take the hour-long block starting Wednesdays at 8 p.m. (The former home of the dearly departing Pushing Daisies.)

So why is one of ABC's highest-profile shows getting a time-out? And what does America have to say?

According to ABC insiders, the Alphabet net is looking at more of a cable model when it comes to its programming and scheduling. "McPherson is interested in reducing the number of reruns," one well-placed insider tells me, adding that Betty—after its dip in the ratings this season—seemed the best place to slot in Samantha and Motherhood.

Betty had an audience of about 8 million at the start of the current third season, but then consistently lost about a million viewers each week, sinking as low as 3.6 million. This month, it jumped back up to 7.5 million, but that's still shy of last year's audience of 9 million viewers.

Meanwhile, yesterday on the SAG carpet, Ferrera told us everything is going well on her three-year-old series and teased this about what lies ahead: "Someone turns very evil—an unexpected person. Like, just your general backstabbing and lies. Just another day on Ugly Betty!"

Sources also tell me there'll be a love connection between a main character on Betty and someone we know and love from a Showtime series we know and love. Stay tuned to the Spoiler Chat later today for the scoop.

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