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Jason Winer

TV show titles: short, snappy and designed to get your attention

A hit drama called "Overspel" from Holland had plenty to recommend it — murder and intrigue in elite society circles, troubled romances and hot sex. What it didn't have, for an American remake, anyway, was a good title.

"It's called 'Adultery,' if you translate it directly," said David Zabel, executive producer of the newly launched ABC series "Betrayal," based on that Dutch show. "We never considered using that."

Such an incendiary word as a show title would grab attention, no doubt, but it could've proved distasteful for ABC's female-heavy audience. Those same viewers largely stayed away from the midseason drama "Mistresses,"...