LOS ANGELES—ABC, which has brought itself out of the ratings doldrums the past two seasons, apparently won't be content to coast on its successes come fall.
The network is giving the green light to six new shows -- three dramas and three comedies -- for the 2006-07 season, and it's probably not done there. A couple more series could also make the cut when ABC announces its schedule on Tuesday.
For now, ABC has set its sights on the dramas "Six Degrees," "The Nine" and "Daybreak," along with comedies "In Case of Emergency," "Help Me Help You" and "Notes from the Underbelly," the showbiz trade papers report. The shows feature big names both in front of the camera -- Ted Danson stars in "Help Me Help You," Taye Diggs heads "Daybreak" -- and behind it: J.J. Abrams is an executive producer of "Six Degrees," and "The Nine" comes from "Without a Trace" creator Hank Steinberg.
ABC may have to be more aggressive in its pickups than the rest of the Big Four because it has a sizable hole to plug with the departure of "Monday Night Football." Its Tuesday and Thursday lineups also need help.
"Six Degrees" follows the lives of six New Yorkers whose lives are connected, even though they're not aware of it. Raven Metzner and Stu Zicherman ("What About Brian") wrote the pilot and will executive produce with Abrams; the cast includes Hope Davis ("American Splendor"), Erika Christensen ("Flightplan") and Jay Hernandez ("Hostel").
"The Nine," which Steinberg co-created with his sister K.J., is about the effect a bank robbery has on nine people who were held hostage. The ensemble cast features Chi McBride ("Boston Public"), Scott Wolf ("Everwood") and Kim Raver ("24"). "Daybreak" stars Diggs ("Rent," "Kevin Hill") as a cop who's framed for murder and has to take it on the lam.
"In Case of Emergency," which earned a six-episode commitment earlier in pilot season, stars David Arquette, Kelly Hu, Greg Germann and John Silverman as friends brought together by a crisis in one of their lives.
The single-camera "Help Me Help You" marks Danson's return to series TV, two-plus years after "Becker" ended its run on CBS. He plays a psychologist who leads a therapy group while trying to get his own life straight.
"Notes from the Underbelly" is about the changes to a couple's life brought on by their impending parenthood. Stacy Traub ("What I Like About You," "Kitchen Confidential") wrote it and will executive produce with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum ("Two and a Half Men").