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).
Go ahead and clear your calendar. pic.twitter.com/PYhV0LcTog— ABC Network (@ABCNetwork) 17 May 2016
8 PM — Dancing with the Stars
10 PM — CONVICTION
8 PM — The Middle
8:30 PM — AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE
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”
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.