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ABC's "new" fall season -- more or less

Jason O'Mara of Life on Mars and midseason's The Goode Family.

No big-time broadcast network has ever stood this pat.

ABC's new fall lineup, announced Tuesday morning, makes room for just two new prime-time series, with only one featuring actors and their roles.

That would be Life on Mars, whose executive producers include Boston Legal creator David E. Kelley. Shades of NBC's canceled Journeyman, it's about a police detective who's mysteriously transported back to 1973 after a car wreck.

Slotted on Thursdays at 9 p.m. (central) following Grey's Anatomy, the hour-long drama is adapted from a same-named BBC series. Featured detective Sam Tyler is played by Jason O'Mara, who played recurring character Stuart Maxson on ABC's canceled Men In Trees.

ABC also has dipped into the mostly mindless Ashton Kutcher well for the reality series Opportunity Knocks, which leads off Tuesday's schedule.

"Hollywood will invade a suburban neighborhood and each week one lucky family will play the game of a lifetime in front of all their friends and neighbors," the network says. They'll have a chance to win an array of prizes packed into a semi-truck, but first must answer trivia questions "based directly on their lives, each other and articles found in and around their home." Kutcher's previous producing efforts include Punk'd, Beauty and the Geek and NBC's short-lived The Real Wedding Crashers.

ABC's cancelation corral houses the aforementioned Men In Trees, plus Women's Murder Club (somewhat surprisingly), Miss Guided, Big Shots, Cavemen, Carpoolers, Notes from the Underbelly, October Road, Cashmere Mafia and the big-money game show Duel.

Just one half-hour comedy, Samantha Who?, has made ABC's fall cut. That's a telling turn of events for a network with a long legacy of comedy hits. In the 1993-94 season, ABC still had four sitcoms -- Home Improvement, Roseanne, Grace Under Fire and Coach -- among Nielsen's Top 10 most popular programs.

The network plans to again add According to Jim at some point in mid-season. And it's picked up Scrubs for later in the year after NBC dropped the long-running comedy. That's largely because ABC Studios produces it and wants to get an extra season in the books for syndication purposes.

ABC also announced two new midseason series. One of them is an untitled Kutcher project built around "a beauty pageant unlike any you've ever seen." The other is The Goode Family, an animated half-hour from Austin-based King of the Hill creator Mike Judge, who will voice a Dad named Gerald. ABC says the Goodes are "obsessed with doing the 'right' thing, whether it's environmentally, politically or socially. Unfortunately, their efforts often have unintended comic consequences." Wah, wah, wah.

As with this season, Lost again is scheduled to return in January with an uninterrupted string of episodes. The Bachelor and Primetime: What Would You Do?, from ABC's news division, also are slated for later.

Here's ABC's fall lineup, with new series in boldface:

Dancing with the Stars
Samantha Who?
Boston Legal (new night)

Opportunity Knocks
Dancing with the Stars results show
Eli Stone (new night)

Pushing Daisies
Private Practice
Dirty Sexy Money

Ugly Betty
Grey's Anatomy
Life on Mars

Wife Swap (new night)
Supernanny (new night)

Saturday Night College Football

America's Funniest Home Videos
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Desperate Housewives
Brothers & Sisters