NEW YORK (Reuters) - ABC introduced an overhauled prime-time TV schedule for next season that will feature eight new dramas, highlighted by a remake of "Charlie's Angels," the 1960s throwback "Pan Am" and a dose of workplace romance.
ABC will also roll out five new comedies in the most drastic change to a schedule by any of the major broadcast networks. The prime-time lineup, unveiled on Tuesday, is the first from new Entertainment President Paul Lee, whose mandate is to reverse several years of viewership declines.
Among the most anticipated of the ABC's new shows is "Pan Am," which will anchor the 10 p.m. time slot on Sunday just after the returning soap "Desperate Housewives." Set in the 1960s, "Pan Am" follows a cast of pilots and stewardess in what is portrayed as the golden, glamorous age of travel.
ABC will also go retro with "Charlie's Angels." The update of the 1970s classic will feature former soap star Annie Ilonzeh, Minka Kelly of "Friday Night Lights," and Rachael Taylor from "Grey's Anatomy" as the three sexy, crime-solving detectives. The show will kick off critical Thursday nights, ahead of solid performers "Grey's" and "Private Practice."
Other new dramas include "Good Christian Belles," a soap set in Dallas; "Missing," a thriller starring Ashley Judd; "Once Upon A Time," a re-imagining of fairly tales; "Revenge," featuring film actress Madeleine Stowe; "Scandal," which follows the workplace drama and romance of a public relations firm; and "The River," an account of the search for a man gone missing in the Amazon.
ABC, a division of Walt Disney Co, is the third major network to roll out its 2011-12 schedule -- a TV season that is clearly drawing its inspirations from the song and dance routines of "Glee" and the retro sex appeal of "Mad Men."
NBC, majority owned by Comcast Corp, announced 12 new shows for the season, while News Corp's Fox introduced a more modest addition of seven shows. CBS will bring out its schedule on Wednesday.
After that, the broadcast networks get down to the business of negotiating billions of dollars worth of advance advertising sales during a period known as the upfront market.
Aside from new dramas, the other chief ambition of ABC is to find more comedy hits along the line of its wildly popular "Modern Family." As a lead-in to "Modern Family" on Wednesday nights, ABC will roll out "Suburgatory," a single-camera comedy that follows a father and daughter who move from New York City to the suburbs.
Other new comedies on the schedule include "Apartment 23," about a young woman who has just moved to Manhattan and lands herself in an odd-couple living situation; "Last Man Standing," starring sitcom veteran Tim Allen; the male-focused comedy "Man Up"; and "Work It," about two men who dress as women to get jobs -- reminiscent of the Tom Hanks 1980s sitcom "Bosom Buddies."
(Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)