New Fall TV Preview: Six Degrees, Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters: ABC Adds Another Group of Dramas to the Schedule

ABC has hit three home runs in the last two years with Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey’s Anatomy. Here are previews of three new fall TV dramas on ABC’s new fall schedule.

SIX DEGREES (Thursdays at 10 p.m. Eastern)
Summary: This show explores the lives of six strangers whose actions affect each other’s lives. The title refers to the idea that only six people separate us from each other. Apparently, the connections between the strangers become clear as the show progresses.

Outlook: This show is from the producers of Lost and Alias, so watch this show from the beginning if you want to follow what’s going on. The cast is strong with Hope Davis, Erika Christensen, Campbell Scott and Bridget Moynihan.

Competition: NBC still has ER in this time slot, but the medical drama has lost a lot of steam since its glory days in the ’90s. CBS has a new legal drama called Shark, starring James Woods. The best news for Six Degrees is the fact that Grey’s Anatomy is its lead-in. That alone should keep Six Degrees around for a while.

BROTHERS and SISTERS (Sundays at 10 p.m. Eastern)
Summary: This is a family drama with a large, prominent cast. Tom Skerritt and Sally Field play William and Nora, the parents of five adult children. The siblings include Calista Flockhart (as a right-wing TV host), Rachel Griffiths (as a corporate vice president) and Balthazar Getty (as a young womanizer).

Outlook: With so many legal and crime procedurals out there, the field is wide open for a good family drama. If the writing can do justice to the stellar cast, this show could last a long time. The other siblings are Dave Annable as an addicted war veteran and Matthew Rhys as a gay lawyer. So this show can go in a million directions storyline-wise.

Competition: Without a Trace on CBS will be a strong opponent for Brothers & Sisters in the ratings war. NBC has its new Sunday Night Football series. If the early games are blowouts by the time 10 o’clock rolls around, more viewers will get into the habit of watching Brothers & Sisters.

UGLY BETTY (Thursdays at 8 p.m. Eastern)
Summary: Betty Suarez is out of place at a fashion magazine (Mode) because of her awkward looks and limited fashion sense. Daniel takes over the magazine from his father, who hires Betty because she is the only woman in New York City who won’t become a romantic distraction. Can this oddball pairing succeed in a cutthroat fashion world?

Outlook: My first reaction is ‘Who cares?’ However, I have to remember that lots of people do care about the world of fashion, as shown by the success of shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway. Even Just Shoot Me was on the air for several seasons. America Ferrera plays Betty, and she showed a lot of talent and personality in Real Women Have Curves. She also starred in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Competition: Survivor is still a big hit on CBS, despite losing some steam over the years. The best news for Ugly Betty is that NBC has lost its two-decade grip on Thursday nights. With Friends and Joey out of the picture, NBC will turn to its last two hit comedies – My Name is Earl and The Office to fill the 8 p.m. hour. Fox has a pair of new comedies – Til Death and HappyHour. The CW will also draw some viewers with Smallville. That’s a lot of competition, and it doesn’t help that ABC is asking viewers to watch someone it considers ugly.

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