From The Washington Post- ABC suits attempted to distract reporters from the network's fourth-place finish in the February sweeps by making a slew of scheduling announcements. So stunning, for instance, was news that ABC had picked up all of its freshman sitcoms for next season (despite their recent ratings) that comments from ABC Entertainment Group chairman Lloyd Braun -- like, "I'll take a 30 percent improvement and fourth place over first place and 7 percent improvement any day" -- went virtually unchallenged. Yes, ABC has picked up "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," "Less Than Perfect" and "Life With Bonnie," in addition to "George Lopez," "According to Jim" and "My Wife and Kids." Network executives also announced they had picked up "Alias," which is the least they can do, considering the way they squandered that show's post-Super Bowl broadcast. Braun said the early pickups mean those shows can get a head start hiring writers and additional cast members for next season. The network also ordered yet another season of "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "The Bachelor." "NYPD Blue" already received its order for next season. "The Drew Carey Show," which ABC earlier announced would return to the schedule on Friday night, has instead been put on ice until June 25 -- a full month after the TV season ends -- with 10 new episodes that are being written with summer in mind. ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne said that will give the show "the boost it deserves." Though "Drew" this season has been rejected by viewers on Mondays and Fridays, it "deserves" a boost nonetheless because a few seasons back, before Lyne was named programming chief, the Disney brain trust cut a shrewd deal to keep the Warner Bros. sitcom on the schedule through the 2003-04 TV season. In exchange for the extended order, Warner Bros. agreed to let ABC have the show, which this season is averaging a cable-esque 5.2 million viewers, for the bargain rate of about $3 million an episode. And yet Disney thinks the executive they need to get rid of is Howard Katz. Go figure.