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Replacing Reality With Reality

In preparation for February sweeps, CBS and ABC are rejiggering their schedules, often bridging the gaps between established reality shows with … more reality shows.

So is everybody else, it appears. (See related story, page 10)

CBS: Prime time will bring back the old talent show Star Search
at 8 on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and then run it again at 8 Thursday, Jan. 9. That move fills holes left by The Amazing Race
and Survivor
through January (and, of course, lets CBS compete with Fox's American Idol,
which Fox is bringing back to Tuesday nights from Jan. 21 to May 6).

Back to CBS. In February, it will air three special episodes of the game-show chestnut The Price Is Right
Wednesdays at 8, with Star Search
continuing on Thursdays and concluding Thursday, Feb. 6. Meanwhile, 60 Minutes II
will move from 8 to 9 on Wednesdays throughout January.

The sixth rendition of Survivor, likely taking place in the Amazon, is expected to premiere on Thursday, Feb. 13. The fourth go-round of Amazing Race
is expected to start on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

"The fact that we have three different established reality shows [Amazing Race, Big Brother, Survivor], and one, Survivor,
that is going into its sixth iteration, is pretty cool," says Ghen Maynard, vice president of alternative programming for CBS. "The viewers tend to be very loyal to those shows."

Presidio Med, currently on hold, will return in its regular time slot on Wednesdays at 10 on Jan. 15. The network will also run the drama on Friday, Jan. 17 and 24, at 8 p.m., giving 48 Hours Investigates
a two-week break. After that, CBS will evaluate whether it is going to keep Presidio Med
on its schedule.

Robbery Homicide Division, which airs Fridays at 10, is being pulled and is unlikely to return. In its time slot, CBS will air legal dramedy Queens Supreme, starring Oliver Platt, starting Friday, Jan. 10.

ABC: The resurgent network is moving The Practice
to Mondays at 9 and airing Dick Wolf's newest show, Dragnet, on Sundays at 10 p.m., premiering Feb. 2.

Its post-Monday Night Football
lineup will be Veritas: The Quest
at 8 The Practice
at 9 and Miracles
at 10. The Practice
switch allows ABC to avoid launching three new shows on that night and giving a launch pad for Miracles, a drama that touches on faith and the existence of a higher being that ABC believes could gain a sci-fi following.

ABC has six reality programs on the slate between now and May, with multiple shows coming in to fill gaps between airings of The Bachelor
and The Bachelorette.

The Bachelorette
stars Trista Rehn (the runner-up in the first Bachelor
series) in her second televised search for a mate, launching on Wednesday, Jan. 8, at 9 , with six episodes. Another six episodes of a celebrity version of The Mole
also start in January. The time slot has yet to be determined, although much of ABC's Thursday night is up for grabs.

In February, ABC will run I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here
for 15 days straight, including weekends. It's a Survivor-like show, except that the contestants are B-level stars competing for food by performing tasks. Although that consecutive-day strategy seems a bit risky, Andrea Wong, executive vice president of alternative programming, says, "I think it's a bold move. Based on the performance of the UK version, this show's going to be very strong."

Are You Hot?, a new reality concept from Mike Fleiss, creator and executive producer of The Bachelor, also will run in six episodes during February sweeps as it attempts to find the sexiest Americans out there. "You'll see plenty of skin," says Fleiss. "It will be a sexy little show."

Fleiss's The Bachelor 3
launches in April, with the seventh and final episode airing in the middle of May sweeps. And All American Girl, detailing the search for the girl who has it all, will launch in March. Finally, ABC is casting Fleiss's The Will
right now, looking for a benefactor and a family who wants to fight over a relative's money on television. Can't get much more real than that.