ABC's summer slate heavy with competition shows

Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:08pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Japanese-style game shows, musical competitions and the return of a reality franchise will highlight ABC's summer.

The network announced a postseason schedule Monday that includes several previously announced titles, like a reality version of "High School Musical," and fresh names including "I Survived a Japanese Game Show."

Like NBC, which also announced its summer schedule in March, ABC will premiere a couple of shows in May. "The Bachelorette" returns at 9 p.m. Monday, May 19, with a two-hour debut starring DeAnna Pappas, last season's "Bachelor" finalist who infamously was rejected at the last minute.

ABC also is resurrecting the competition series "The Mole" for May. It originally debuted on ABC in 2001 as a midseason replacement series, shifted to summer the next year, then aired as a winter celebrity version in 2003. The fifth cycle of the show premieres at 10 p.m. Monday, May 26.

In June, ABC launches two Japanese-inspired game shows in a Tuesday night block.

The first is "Wipeout," which takes the extreme obstacle courses of such programs as Spike's "MXC" and G4's import "Ninja Warrior" to another level. Contestants compete for $50,000; John Anderson (ESPN's "SportsCenter") is the host. "Wipeout" premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, and will be followed by "I Survived a Japanese Game Show" at 9 p.m. Originally titled "Big in Japan," "Game Show" takes 10 Americans oversees to compete in the ultimate Japanese competitions series.

June also includes the launch of "Dance Machine," where six competitors face off in a series of one-on-one dance-offs to popular songs. "E! News" correspondent Jason Kennedy will host; the show debuts at 8 p.m. Friday, June 27.

Another June entry is the six-part documentary series "ABC News' Hopkins," which follows young doctors forced to make life-and-death decisions at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital. The show premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday, June 26.

In July, "High School Musical: Summer Session," a broadcast reality competition series based on Disney's megahit, will show nationwide casting sessions and then finalists participating in a summer music program. The prize is being kept under wraps.

"Summer Session" premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 20. ABC will run it on Sunday at Monday nights for three weeks, then continue on Mondays through the end of summer.

The game show "Wanna Bet" premieres at 9 p.m. Monday, July 21. British comedy duo Ant and Dec host celebrity contestants who perform stunts and mental challenges for their favorite charity in front of a studio audience.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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