'Trees' Takes Root on ABC Thursday

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With one freshman show, "Six Degrees," struggling to hold onto the "Grey's Anatomy" audience, ABC will try another one on Thursday nights.

The dramedy "Men in Trees" will take over the 10 p.m. ET Thursday spot starting Thursday, Nov. 30. The series, which stars Anne Heche as a self-help author who tries to put her own life back together in a small Alaska town, has been a steady (although not huge) performer for ABC on Fridays this fall.

Along with the new timeslot, "Men in Trees" has also received a full-season pickup. It will air at 10 p.m. Thursdays through December; what happens after that will depend how it performs. As for "Six Degrees," it's done for the remainder of 2006, although ABC says it will return to schedule -- just where is unclear at the moment -- in January.

"We love these two shows and are excited at the promise they have shown," ABC chief Stephen McPherson says. "Thursdays will be a great platform for 'Men in Trees' to reach a larger audience."

"Men in Trees" has averaged about 7.5 million viewers per week on Friday nights -- where, incidentally, it has followed "Grey's Anatomy" repeats for most of the fall. In the key adults 18-49 demographic it draws a so-so 2.2 rating.

"Six Degrees," meanwhile, draws 9.64 million viewers per week, less than half of the 22.1 million who watch "Grey's Anatomy" right before it. Its 18-49 rating is 4.0, compared to 9.3 for "Grey's."

A rerun of Sunday's "Desperate Housewives" will fill the 10 p.m. spot this Thursday. A previously announced Barbara Walters special is set for 10 p.m. Nov. 16; plans for Thanksgiving night haven't been finalized yet.

"Men in Trees" becomes just the seventh new show to earn a full-season order this fall. It joins fellow ABC shows "Brothers & Sisters" and "Ugly Betty," NBC's "Heroes," CBS' "Shark" and "Jericho" and The CW's "The Game."

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