ABC Keeps Hold on Pilot Pair

Having just brought "According to Jim" back from semi-oblivion, ABC is pondering a couple more additions to its comedy roster.

The network has extended the options on the casts of two pilots, "The Middle" and "The Hill," that it initially passed on this spring, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That keeps the actors from committing to other shows and is a sign that ABC might still be interested in picking up the two shows, both of which come from Warner Bros. TV.

"The Hill" centers on the romance between a young congressional staffer (Eric Christian Olsen, "The Loop") and the daughter (Michelle Trachtenberg, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") of a senator (Mark Moses, "Desperate Housewives") who's frequently at odds with his boss (Wendie Malick, "Big Day," "Just Shoot Me"). Former "Friends" writer-producer Shana Goldberg-Meehan created the show.

"The Middle" stars Ricki Lake as a middle-class woman from Middle America and documents her daily struggles and triumphs. Lex Medlin ("Happy Hour"), Michael Mitchell ("Veronica Mars") and Brenna O'Brien are also in the cast. Deann Heline and Eileen Heisler ("Committed," "How I Met Your Mother") created the show.

Heline and Heisler are also executive producers of NBC's midseason dramedy "Lipstick Jungle."

The two comedies join the drama "Football Wives" in the still-have-a-chance column at ABC. The network has already picked up a dozen new series -- four comedies, seven dramas and the unscripted show "Oprah's Big Give" -- for the 2007-08 season, in addition to last week's late renewal for "Jim."

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