Monday, 4 April 2016

ABC 2016-17 Season: News & Updates

Gregory's Thoughts

ABC had a strong 2014-15 season and continued to set the standard for soapy dramas and family comedies on broadcast television. While their shows garner critical acclaim and large followings, ABC has yet to deliver a new show which maintains high ratings over many seasons (a la Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family et al).

8 PM — Dancing with the Stars

8 PM — The Middle
9 PM — Fresh Off the Boat
9:30 PM — The Real O’Neals
10 PM — Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

8 PM — The Goldbergs
8:30 PM — 
9 PM Modern Family”
9:30 PM — black-ish”
10 PM 
Designated Survivor

8 PM — Grey’s Anatomy
9 PM — NOTORIOUS/Scandal (midseason)
10 PM — How to Get Away with Murder/The Catch (midseason)

8 PM — Last Man Standing
8:30 PM — Dr. Ken
9 PM — Shark Tank
10:00 PM — 20/20

8 PM — Saturday Night Football

7 PM — America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM — Once Upon a Time
9 PM — Secrets and Lies/(TIME AFTER TIME midseason)
10 PM — Quantico

Just as I predicted! Wow, I’m getting good at this! ABC so far has the best Fall schedule of all the networks, good job Channing Dungey. The Middle is moving for the first time to a new timeslot on Tuesdays at 8pm to anchor an extended 2 hour comedy block. It will lead into the new comedy American Housewife, followed by returning shows Fresh Off The Boat and The Real O’Neals. For the first time, ABC has built a strong slate for their Tuesday comedy block which they previously attempted to do in 2013. Plus, it seems as though comedy is only thriving on ABC.
On Wednesday, The Goldbergs will become the new Wednesday 8pm anchor and will lead into new comedy Speechless at 8:30. The rest of Wednesday remains the same apart from the addition of new show Designated Survivor. Scandal will be held as a mid-season replacement due to Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. Hopefully this will allow the show time to rejuvenate. Surprisingly, The Catch will be held as mid-season replacement rather than return in the fall which is what usually happens to shows that premiere in mid-season the year before. If Notorious flops at 9pm, ABC could premiere The Catch in the 9pm slot, give the show the back 9 and move the show to its intended 10pm slot in mid-season. Secrets & Lines, which was meant to return this season will not have the Sunday 9pm slot with Time After Time replacing it in mid-season. Overall the schedule has the right balance of new additions, changes to improve the network and stability.

Mid-Season: Imaginary Mary,  Downward Dog, Time After Time, Still Star Crossed.

Returning shows held for mid-season: Scandal, The Catch, American Crime,

UPDATE: ABC has renewed Agents of Shield, Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, The Middle, Modern Family, Once Upon a Time, Quantico, Scandal.

UPDATE 2: Nashville has been cancelled! The Real O'Neals is the sixth ABC comedy to be renewed, the most for any other network.

Agent Carter, Castle, The Family have been cancelled. American Crime and The Catch have been renewed.

UPDATE 3: Dr. Ken has been renewed.

UPDATE 4: Speechless has been ordered to series, Last Man Standing has been renewed.

Last season ABC added critically acclaimed comedies; Black-ish, and the second Asian-American sitcom in broadcast network history, Fresh off the Boat, which also broke the ABC mid-season comedy curse and is currently enjoying another critically acclaimed, triumphant season. In early 2015, ABC also premiered the critically acclaimed anthology drama American Crime and the buzzy surprise hit Secrets & Lies.

Unfortunately, ABC appears to be stuck in a rut of having critically acclaimed, boundary pushing series which lack big ratings. Shows like fantasy musical extravaganza Galavant and the Marvel produce 1940s set spy drama Agent Carter have failed to meet expectations and other additions like The Muppets failed to live up to its hype. ABC still has a lot of promising shows benched for mid-season including mystery political drama The Family, Shondaland drama The Catch and the quirky coming out family comedy The Real O'Neals.

The main problem I see arising for ABC is their growing dependency on older hit shows and their apparent inability to create new ones. Grey's Anatomy, which is still very strong despite its age, will have to leave the schedule at some point, How To Get Away With Murder has lost some steam but remains a solid ratings performer, Scandal remains steady but dramas like Bones, Agents of Shield and practically all 10pm Tuesday shows are failing. Quantico, ABC's HTGAWM inspired CIA breakout drama of the season managed to escape the dreaded Tuesday slot to Sundays where it has found some success, but could (and in my opinion should) achieve higher ratings. Once Upon a Time is aging while Nashville is hanging on by a thread, Friday night comedy duo Last Man Standing/Dr Ken are doing well but could be improved, however, ABC has bigger problems to solve.

Unusually for ABC, there seems to be a deficiency of strong projects, although this appears to be a problem affecting all networks this development season. There are hardly any big surprises or out of the box ideas but, ABC appears to be sticking to what its good at; soaps, female-driven cop shows, family comedies, and of course Shonda dramas.

Lawyer and former First Daughter Hayes Morrison (Atwell) is about to accept a job offered from her sexy nemesis, NY District Attorney Wayne Wallis, to avoid jail time for cocaine possession and avoid hurting her mother’s Senate campaign. Working with his team at the new Conviction Integrity Unit will let her use her brilliant mind to turn over cases where there is credible suspicion of wrongful conviction, and give her a chance to turn things around with her high-powered political family.

In addition to Atwell, Conviction stars Eddie Cahill as Wayne Wallis, Shawn Ashmore as Sam Sullivan, Merrin Dungey as Maxine, Emily Kinney as Tess Thompson, Manny Montana as Franklin “Frankie” Rios and Daniel DiTomasso as Jackson Morrison.
Co-created by writer Liz Friedman (Elementary, Marvel’s Jessica Jones), and director Liz Friedlander (The Following), Conviction will be executive produced by Mark Gordon (“Criminal Minds,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Saving Private Ryan”). “Conviction” is from The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios.

Time After Time
Based on the novel by Karl Alexander and movie, Time After Time delivers a fantastical cat and mouse adventure through time when famed science fiction writer H.G. Wells is transported to modern day Manhattan in pursuit of Jack the Ripper. Once H.G. arrives in New York City, he finds a world he never thought possible and a young woman who captivates him. Williamson (The Vampire Diaries)  is exec producer and writer
The series stars Freddie Stroma as H.G. Wells, Revenge alum Josh Bowman as John Stevenson/Jack the Ripper, Genesis Rodriguez as Jane and Regina Taylor as Vanessa Anders. Time After Time is from Outerbanks Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television Williamson and Marcos Siega are executive producers. Siega directed the pilot. Williamson wrote the teleplay.

Still Star Crossed
“Still Star-Crossed,” a period drama from Shondaland, picks up where the famous story of Romeo and Juliet ends, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate. The series is based on the book by Melinda Taub.
“Still Star Crossed” stars Wade Briggs (“Home and Away”) as Benvolio Montague, Anthony Head as Lord Silvestro Capulet, Zuleikha Robinson as Lady Guiliana Capulet, Lashana Lynch (“The 7.39”) as Rosaline, Ebonee Noel as Livia, Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus, Medalion Rahimi as Princess Isabella, Grant Bowler as Damiano Montague, Susan Wooldrigde as Nurse, Torrance Coombs as Paris and Dan Hildebrand as Friar Lawrence.

Heather Mitchell (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) is writer and executive producer, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, and Michael Goldstein are executive producers. Michael Offer is executive producer and director of the pilot.

Designated Survivor
Designated Survivor centers on Tom Kirkman (Sutherland), a lower cabinet member who unexpectedly becomes president after a devastating attack on Washington. He will struggle to prevent the country and his own family from falling into chaos, as he is thrust into one of the most difficult presidencies in history. The series features a supporting cast of established actors that includes Natascha McElhon, Maggie Q, Kal Penn, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, LaMonica Garrett and Tanner Buchanan.
Creator Guggenheim executive produces with Kinberg, Sutherland, Mark Gordon, Nick Pepper, Suzan Bymel, and Aditya Sood. This marks the first on-air series for the Mark Gordon Co. since the company relaunched as an indie backed by eOne.


Inspired by the true-life stories of famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and cable news producer Wendy Walker, who serve as executive producers, is a provocative look at the unique, sexy, and dangerous interplay of criminal law and the media. Josh Berman co-writes and executive produces. Allie Hagan is a co-writer and co-executive producer.
Piper Perabo, Daniel Sunjata, Sepideh Moafi , Kate Jennings Grant, Ryan Guzman, Kevin Zegers, J. August Richards and Aimee Teegarden star in the series, exec produced by Michael Engler, Kenny Meiselas, Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry. Michael Engler directed the pilot.

Downward Dog

Downward Dog is about a struggling millennial, Nan (Allison Tolman), from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. One session at obedience school already makes them realize that even at their worst, they may be the best thing for each other.
Allison Tolman stars as Nan, Lucas Neff as Jason, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Jenn, Barry Rothbart as Kevin and Mo Collins as Kim.
Downward Dog creators/writers Samm Hodges and Michael Killen will executive produce with Mosaic Media Group’s Jimmy Miller and Sam Hansen, and Animal’s Kathy Dziubek. Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky were executive producers of the pilot. The series is from Legendary Television and ABC Studios.

American Housewife
Katie Otto (Katy Mixon, Mike and Molly), a confident, unapologetic, plump wife and mother of three, raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring. She lets us in on her deepest, most unfiltered thoughts through voiceover as the she lives her life as the second fattest housewife in Westpo
The series stars Katy Mixon as Katie Otto, Diedrich Bader as Jeff Otto, Johnny Sequoyah as Taylor, Daniel DiMaggio as Harrison, Julia Butters as Anna-Kat, Carly Hughes as Angela and Ali Wong as Doris.
Untitled Sarah Dunn is written by Sarah Dunn (Spin City, Bunheads) and produced by Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios. Aaron Kaplan, Rick Weiner and Kenny Schwartz are executive producers and directed by Ruben Fleischer, also an EP.

Imaginary Mary
Imaginary Mary centers on Alice (Jenna Elfman), a fiercely independent career woman whose life is turned upside-down when she meets the love of her life – a divorced father with three kids.  This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as a child suddenly reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.
Elfman stars alongside Stephen Schneider, Rachel Dratch as Mary (VO), Nicholas Coombe, Matreya Scarrwener and Erica Trembay.

The live action/CGI hybrid comes from The Goldbergs team Adam F. Goldberg (writer/executive producer), David Guarascio (writer/executive producer) and Doug Robinson (executive producer). Mary CG animation is designed by Patrick Osborne (creator of Academy Award winning animated short, The Feast), who is also executive producer.  The pilot was directed by Shawn Levy, who is also executive producer.


Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver) is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her husband Jimmy, her kids Ray, Dylan, and JJ, her eldest son with special needs.  As Maya fights injustices both real and imagined, the family works to make a new home for themselves, and searches for just the right person to give JJ his “voice.”

The cast includes Minnie Driver as Maya DiMeo, John Ross Bowie as Jimmy DiMeo, Mason Cook as Ray DiMeo, Micah Fowler as JJ DiMeo, Kyla Kennedy as Dylan DiMeo and Cedric Yarbrough as Kenneth.

 Scott Silveri is executive producer of the show, along with “Fresh Off the Boat’s” Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar.

SCHEDULE PREDICTIONS: ABC hardly has any room for new comedies next year thanks to their relative success in that department. But we need new shows, right?! Here's what may happen...

TUESDAYS: The Middle / New Show / Fresh Off The Boat / The Real O'Neals

WEDNESDAYS: The Goldbergs / New Show / Modern Family / Black-Ish

FRIDAYS: Last Man Standing / Dr. Ken

+ Two new mid-season comedies to fill the Tuesday 9:30 and Wednesday 8:30 slots if the Fall shows fail. If The Real O'Neals is picked up for a second season and flops, one of the mid-season comedies can replace it...
UPDATE: 10/01/2017
ABC has finally announced their mid-season schedule which marks the return of the critically acclaimed anthology drama American Crime and the sophomore Shondaland show The Catch as well as new shows including Imaginary Mary and Time After Time

The Catch will air on Thursdays starting March 12, keeping TGIT intact until the end of the season. It replaces How To Get Away With Murder.

American Crime will have yet another new time slot. This season it will air on the Sunday 10pm death slot following Time After Time which follows Once Upon a Time. American Crime replaces Quantico which has been moved to Mondays and Time After Time replaces Secrets & Lies which is a limited series. 

As has become tradition with new ABC comedies, live-action/CGI sitcom will premiere on Wednesday March 29 between a new episode of The Goldbergs and Modern Family (8:30pm is where Speechless currently airs) and will make its time slot debut on Tuesday April 4 @ 9:30 replacing The Real O'Neals which only received a three episode back order. However, Imaginary Mary had its episode order cut from 13 to 9 episode earlier in the season which is NEVER a good sign for a new show. 

How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal and Grey's Anatomy all return on Thursday January 26. 

New comedy Downward Dog and Shondaland drama Still-Star Crossed are being held for the summer. 

8 PM – “Grey’s Anatomy”
9 PM – “Scandal” (Season Six Premiere)
10 PM – “How to Get Away with Murder”
9-11 PM – “When We Rise”
8 PM – “Once Upon A Time”
9-11 PM – “Time After Time” (Two-Hour Premiere)
10 PM – “Designated Survivor”
10 PM – “The Catch” (Season Two Premiere)
9-10 PM – “Time After Time” (Time-Period Premiere)
10 PM – “American Crime” (Season Three Premiere)
8:30-9 PM – “Imaginary Mary” (Sneak Peek)
9:30-10 PM – “Imaginary Mary” (Time-Period Premiere)
8-11 PM – “Dirty Dancing”

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