America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Question: What's your opinion of the Friday-night slot awarded to Ugly Betty? I keep hearing glowing reviews from most of the critics who have seen the pilot, so I cannot understand why ABC would try to kill this show before it even takes off. Don't you think Sunday night's slot following Desperate Housewives would be a much better fit? This sounds like a show that would have a similar audience.
Answer: This conversation came up a lot during the critics' press tour, and quite a few of us agree with you, with the caveat that none of us have seen the still-being-revised pilot of ABC's Brothers & Sisters, which will occupy the post-Housewives slot in the fall. The reason Ugly Betty would be such a good fit is because it shares many of the attributes of Housewives at its best: namely, a stylized blend of high comedy and soap-opera intrigue. Because ABC's entertainment chief feels Betty is better suited for an earlier time period, it's airing Fridays at 8 pm/ET, which you rightfully describe as a death slot (unless you're CBS, which scores that night with more mainstream fare). If Brothers fails to hold onto enough of Housewives' lead-in, and if Betty sinks on Fridays (which seems probable), and more important, if Betty lives up to the promise of its very entertaining pilot, then we'll argue loud and often that ABC do right by Betty. If not, things are likely to turn ugly.