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ABC predicts fall ratings rebound

ABC executives, faced with decreased ratings from a year ago, vowed to improve their performance next season on May sweep conference call with reporters Tuesday.

"Clearly we are not thrilled with our performance this May, although we are very enthusiastic about how we are positioned going into next fall," says Lloyd Braun, ABC Entertainment's co-Chairman. "Clearly last year at this time we were riding the incredible phenomenon that was Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and the halo effect that it had on our entire schedule. This year, while still a terrific show, Millionaire is not the ratings phenomenon it was last year and our performance this May reflects that to a degree. But Millionaire gave us the ability to launch four midseason shows strategically and we are thrilled that we are going to bring them all back." Braun added, "We are feeling great about where we are and where we are going to be, clearly we will improve this performance in the sweeps next year."

ABC is projected to finish the May sweep, which ends today, in third place in adults 18-49 and its neck and neck with CBS for first place in total viewers. Braun says ABC will launch drama The Beast next month, The Wayne Brady Show in August and likely a number of other reality shows this summer. Millionaire will also continue to air in original episodes throughout the summer months, Braun said.
- Joe Schlosser