'Grey's Anatomy' Bumps 'Boston Legal'

“Grey’s Anatomy” has made such an impression on ABC that the planned April 24 return of “Boston Legal” is now on hold until the fall.

As a result of the move, announced Friday (April 8), “Grey’s Anatomy” will continue to be partnered with “Desperate Housewives” through the end of the May sweeps period.

ABC gave “Boston Legal” an early 2005-06 renewal earlier this week, but the show won’t air again until next fall. The five unseen episodes from this season will become the start of a 27-episode second season for “Boston Legal.”

“We’re in the enviable position of having two shows that have each performed extremely well for us Sundays at 10:00 — ‘Boston Legal’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy,'” says ABC Entertainment Present Stephen McPherson. “We had already picked up ‘Boston Legal’ for next year based on its stellar run thus far this season. Now, with the strong debut of ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ we are very optimistic about having an additional asset of tremendous value heading into fall. However, with this embarrassment of riches comes a tough decision.”

The numbers dictated the move for ABC. For the season, “Desperate Housewives” has averaged nearly 22.8 million viewers per week, as the show has become television’s second most watched drama. This season, “Boston Legal” has averaged 12.5 million viewers, making it one of year’s top new shows. However, in two episodes since its premiere, “Grey’s Anatomy” has averaged just under 17 million viewers.

Originally, the “Anatomy” Sunday run was only to be four episodes, but its instant success led to a change of plans.

“Ultimately we decided that, without having adequate lead time or marketing dollars to devote to moving either show so late in the season, we’d continue to let ‘Grey’s’ build on its tremendous momentum through May,” McPherson explains. “We’re extremely excited that this will give us the amazing luxury of bringing ‘Boston Legal’ back next season with an unheard-of 27 original episodes.”

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