Some real surprises in ABC's fall schedule:
8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Castle
I have to give a big congratulations to Castle: for the past two weeks, it has out-rated not only everything else in its timeslot (Hawaii Five-0 and Revolution) for the first time this season, but it is now out-rating its lead-in, Dancing with Stars. Having said that, I didn't expect ABC to split them up or move them.
8:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (NEW)
9:00 - The Goldbergs (NEW)
9:30 - Trophy Wife (NEW)
10:00 - Lucky 7 (NEW)
I'm absolutely shocked that ABC is trying an entirely new night, though Tuesday was the best option if they were going to. Gone are Dancing with the Stars results shows, replaced by what will likely be fall's biggest show, Agents of SHIELD. That should give a decent lead-in to the new comedies they have plugged in at 9:00 and 9:30 (though I maintain that Rebel Wilson's new show should be in this block, if only to double the exposure of the Tuesday night lineup). Lucky 7 is a good choice for a tough slot, since it's sounding like it will be a limited series; if it fails, it gets replaced at midseason and can be called "limited" rather than "failing."
8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - Back in the Game (NEW)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Super Fun Night (NEW)
10:00 - Nashville
I'm most surprised that Nashville is staying put; it's been struggling of late, in the mid 1's in the 18-49. I'm assuming ABC is hoping for Super Fun Night to be a runaway hit, between its Modern Family lead-in and Rebel Wilson's growing fanbase, and that it will then boost Nashville as well. I'm not entirely sure that's what will happen; the premise of Super Fun Night doesn't really fit in with the family theme of the Wednesday comedy block.
8:00 - Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (NEW)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Scandal
This is strange to me. All signs pointed to Once Upon a Time in Wonderland being a very limited series that would air while Once Upon a Time was on hiatus, thereby cutting down on repeats in the spring. Seeing it on the fall schedule, especially in a timeslot with which ABC hasn't exactly had success, is a total surprise. Maybe trying something female-oriented will help (though it didn't do much for Charlie's Angels and Missing two seasons ago).
8:00 - Last Man Standing
8:30 - The Neighbors (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Shark Tank
10:00 - 20/20
As expected, The Neighbors takes the post-Last Man Standing slot, and Suburgatory is saved for midseason (or until a new comedy bombs).
8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Revenge
10:00 - Betrayal (NEW)
I also correctly predicted this line-up. Betrayal was tailor-made to pair with Revenge, though if they were going to put Once Upon a Time in Wonderland on the fall schedule, I'm surprised it's not paired with its parent show.
Not on the schedule are returning comedy Suburgatory and several new shows: comedy Mixology and dramas Resurrection, Mind Games and Killer Women (which is still in dire need of a new title). Paul Lee stated that various fall dramas (Once Upon a Time, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and possibly Revenge) will take extended breaks in the winter/early spring for new limited series. New reality series The Quest will take over for Once, while the others are still up in the air; additionally, Lee stated that Betrayal and Resurrection are designed to only run for 12-13 episodes per season. So it seems likely that Resurrection will then occupy the 10:00 slot on Sunday nights at midseason. That leaves only two new dramas to debut with three possible shows airing in two separate blocks (10-12 in the fall, break, 10-12 in the spring) and then no options for replacing low-rated fall shows. In other words, I don't know if I trust that this model will actually work Also returning at midseason are reality series The Bachelor and The Taste, the latter of which is a bit of a surprise after its very low-rated final episodes.
This schedule is surprising, but not terrible. I like that Tuesday got a complete and total rehaul, and I mostly like the placement of the new shows (even if I would have liked to see Resurrection on this fall). Cutting Dancing with the Stars back an hour will hopefully help improve ABC's overall ratings picture, especially since it's being replaced with such a high-profile new series. I'm surprised they only moved one returning show (The Neighbors); everything else is in the same place as last year's upfront, with new shows filling in holes for canceled series or series returning at midseason. Some of these shows likely could have benefitted from a time change (Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Nashville), but, with any luck, the new shows can provide subsequent boosts to them. I think there's a good possibility for success here, which ABC needs after failing to secure any real hits this past season. I still question the decision to spin-off Once Upon a Time at all, considering the decline in both quality and ratings; but Alice in Wonderland does seem to have some sort of timeless power over people to make them love the story so much, so perhaps it's a good idea. Time will tell.
Read after the jump for descriptions of ABC's new series
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Tuesdays at 8:00) - Clark Gregg reprises his role of Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel's feature films, as he assembles a small, highly select group of Agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Together they investigate the new, the strange and the unknown around the globe, protecting the ordinary from the extraordinary. Coulson's team consists of Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), highly trained in combat and espionage; Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), expert pilot and martial artist; Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), brilliant engineer; and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), genius bio-chemist. Joining them on their journey into mystery is new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet). Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel's first television series, is from executive producers Joss Whedon (Marvel's The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen, who co-wrote the pilot (Dollhouse, Dr.Horrible's Sing-Along Blog). Jeffrey Bell (Angel, Alias) and Jeph Loeb Smallville, Lost, Heroes) also serve as executive producers. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television.
The Goldbergs (Tuesdays at 9:00) - Before there were parenting blogs, trophies for showing up and peanut allergies, there was a simpler time called the '80s. For geeky 11-year-old Adam (Sean Giambrone) these were his wonder years, and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. The Goldbergs are a loving family like any other, just with a lot more yelling. Mom Beverly (Wendi McClendon-Covey) is a classic "smother," an overbearing, overprotective matriarch who rules this brood with 100% authority and zero sense of boundaries. Dad Murray (Jeff Garlin) is gruff, hot-tempered and trying to parent without screaming. Sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is 17, hot, terrifying and not one to mess with. Barry (Troy Gentile) is 16, a grade-A spaz with classic middle child syndrome. Adam (Sam Giambrone) is the youngest, a camera-wielding future director who's crushing on an older woman. Rounding out the family is beloved grandfather Al "Pops" Solomon (George Segal), the wild man of the clan, a shameless Don Juan who's schooling Adam in the ways of love. When Pops buys a new sports car and offers his Caddy to middle child Barry, it's enough to drive this already high-strung family to the brink of chaos. The Goldbergs stars Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids) as Beverly, Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Murray, George Segal (Don't Shoot Me) as Pops, Hayley Orrantia (The X Factor) as Erica, Sean Giambrone as Adam and Troy Gentile (Good Luck Chuck) as Barry. The Goldbergs was written and executive-produced by Adam F. Goldberg (Breaking In, Fanboys) and also executive produced by Doug Robinson. The pilot was directed by Seth Gordon (Identity Thief, Horrible Bosses). The Goldbergs is from Adam Sandler's production company, Happy Madison, and is produced by Sony Pictures Television.
Trophy Wife (Tuesdays at 9:30) - They say the third time's the charm, and reformed party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) is hoping that's true when she becomes Pete's (Bradley Whitford) third wife. She fell into his arms (literally) at a karaoke bar, and a year later Kate's got an insta-family, complete with three stepchildren and two ex-wives. Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) is ex-wife number one, an intense, over-achieving doctor and the mother of twin teenagers Hillary (Gianna LePera) and Warren (Ryan Scott Lee). Diane is quick to convey her withering disapproval of Kate's barely tapped maternal instinct. Ex-wife number two, Jackie (Michaela Watkins), is mother to adopted son Bert (Albert Tsai), and can pull Pete's strings with her special blend of neurotic, new-ageyness. Juggling all this baggage is uncharted territory for Kate, who finds support with her best friend Meg (Natalie Morales), a party-hearty singleton and the only woman Kate knows who has less experience with kids than she has. Trophy Wife stars Malin Akerman (Suburgatory) as Kate, Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) as Pete, Marcia Gay Harden (Into the Wild, Damages) as Diane, Michaela Watkins (Saturday Night Live) as Jackie, Natalie Morales (90210) as Meg, Ryan Scott Lee (Super 8) as Warren, Albert Tsai (How I Met Your Mother) as Bert and Gianna LePera (Modern Family) as Hillary. Trophy Wife is written and executive-produced by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins, executive produced by Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky (The Office), produced by Malin Ackerman. The pilot was directed by Jason Moore (Pitch Perfect, Avenue Q). Trophy Wife is from ABC Studios.
Lucky 7 (Tuesdays at 10:00) - In Astoria, Queens, a group of seven gas station employees have been chipping into a lottery pool for months, never thinking they'd actually win. Money could solve problems for each of them: Matt (Matt Long) could get his girlfriend and two kids out of his mother's house; Matt's brother, Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush), an ex-con, could pay off a dangerous debt; Samira (Summer Bishil), a second-generation Pakistani immigrant, could afford to go to Juilliard; Denise (Lorraine Bruce), a plucky cashier, could focus on rebuilding her crumbling marriage; Leanne (Anastasia Phillips), a young mother, could help her daughter realize her dreams; Bob (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), the store's manager, could finally retire; and Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos) could give his wife and kids a whole new life. Lucky 7 stars Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (The Wire) as Bob Harris, Matt Long (Private Practice) as Matt Korzak, Stephen Louis Grush (Detroit 1-8-7) as Nicky Korzak, Lorraine Bruce (Eden Lake) as Denise, Anastasia Phillips (Stoked) as Leanne, Summer Bishil (Towelhead) as Samira Rajpur, Luis Antonio Ramos (The Ruins) as Antonio Clemente and Christine Evangelista (The Joneses) as Mary. Written by David Zabel (ER) and Jason Richman (Detroit 1-8-7), Lucky 7 is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, David Zabel and Jason Richman. The pilot was directed by Paul McGuigan. Lucky 7 is produced by ABC Studios and Amblin Television.
Back in the Game (Wednesdays at 8:30) - Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson) was an All Star softball player until life threw her a few curve balls -- a baby, a lost college scholarship and a loser for a husband. After striking out on her own, Terry and her son, Danny (Griffin Gluck), move in with her estranged father, Terry Sr., aka "The Cannon" (James Caan). The Cannon is an opinionated, beer-guzzling, ex-athlete who never quite made the cut either as a single father or professional baseball player. As hard as Terry tries to keep Danny away from the sports-driven lifestyle of her youth, Tommy wants to play Little League. His stunning lack of baseball skills (he doesn't even know which hand the mitt goes on) makes him the laughing stock of the baseball field and of his grandfather's living room. When Danny and a group of other athletically-challenged hopefuls fail to make the team, Danny's disappointment forces Terry to face her past. So when a wealthy neighbor volunteers to finance a team for the rejected kids, Terry reluctantly offers to coach the team of misfits. Back in the Game stars Maggie Lawson (Psych) as Terry, Jr., James Caan (Las Vegas) as Terry "The Cannon" Gannon, Sr., Lenora Crichlow (Being Human, Fast Girls) as Gigi, Griffin Gluck (Private Practice) as Danny, Ben Koldyke (Big Love) as Dick, Kennedy Waite (I-Doll) as Vanessa, J.J. Totah (Jessie) as Michael and Cooper Roth as David. Back in the Game was written by Mark and Robb Cullen (Lucky, Las Vegas), who also executive-produce along with directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (Bad Santa, Crazy, Stupid, Love) and Aaron Kaplan (The Neighbors). Back in the Game is from 20TH Century Fox Television/ Kapital Entertainment.
Super Fun Night (Wednesdays at 9:30) - Junior attorney Kimmie Boubier (Rebel Wilson) and her two best friends, Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira) and Marika (Lauren Ash), have had a standing date every Friday night for the last 13 years. They even have a motto for what they call "Friday Night Fun Night": "Always together! Always Inside!" However Kimmie's recent promotion throws a monkey wrench into the tradition. Not only is she now working with her idol, "Lady Lawyer of the Year" Felicity Vanderstone (Kelen Coleman), but she meets a dashingly handsome British attorney, Richard Lovell (Kevin Bishop), who invites her to his party at a trendy club. Determined to spend time with Richard and heed Felicity's advice to network, Kimmie sets out to convince her friends to take Super Fun Night on the road. Super Fun Night stars Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect, Bridesmaids) as Kimmie, Lauren Ash (Lars and the Real Girl) as Marika, Liza Lapira (Don't Trust the B - in Apartment 23) as Helen-Alice, Kelen Coleman (The Newsroom) as Felicity and Kevin Bishop (Star Stories) as Richard. Super Fun Night was written by Rebel Wilson who also serves as co-executive producer. Executive producers are Conan O'Brien, Jeff Ross, David Kissinger and John Riggi (30 Rock), who also directed the pilot. Super Fun Night is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Conaco and Warner Bros. Television.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thursdays at 8:00) - In Victorian England, the young and beautiful Alice (Sophie Lowe) tells a tale of a strange new land that exists on the other side of a rabbit hole. An invisible cat, a hookah smoking caterpillar and playing-cards that talk are just some of the fantastic things she's seen during this impossible adventure. Surely this troubled girl must be insane, and her doctors aim to cure her with a treatment that will make her forget everything. Alice seems ready to put it all behind her, especially the painful memory of the genie she fell in love with and lost forever -- the handsome and mysterious Cyrus (Peter Gadiot). But deep down Alice knows this world is real, and just in the nick of time the sardonic Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) and the irrepressible White Rabbit (John Lithgow) arrive to save her from a doomed fate. Together the trio will take a tumble down the rabbit hole to this Wonderland where nothing is impossible. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland stars Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate) as Alice, Michael Socha (This Is England) as Knave of Hearts, Peter Gadiot (The Forbidden Girl) as Cyrus, Emma Rigby (Hollyoaks) as Queen of Hearts and John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun) as the voice of the White Rabbit. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland was written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Once Upon a Time), who serve as executive producers. Steve Perlman and Zack Estrin also serve as executive producers, and the pilot was directed by Ralph Hemecker. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is produced by ABC Studios.
Betrayal (Sundays at 10:00) - A chance meeting between photographer Sara Hadley (Hannah Ware) and Attorney Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend) leads to an instant and undeniable attraction. Sarah's husband, Drew (Chris Johnson), is a successful prosecutor with political aspirations, while Jack is married to Elaine (Wendy Moniz), the daughter of his boss, Thacher Karsten (James Cromwell). When Karsten's brother-in-law Lou is murdered, all evidence points to Karsten's son, T.J. (Henry Thomas). Jack, the company's lead counsel, will have to defend him, but for Sara's prosecutor husband, Drew, this is the kind of high-profile murder case that can secure his political future. Just as Sara and Jack's affair is starting, the lovers find themselves in an impossible situation -- on opposite sides of a murder investigation. Betrayal stars Hannah Ware (Shame, Boss) as Sara, Stuart Townsend (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) as Jack, James Cromwell (Babe, American Horror Story) as Thacher Karsten, Henry Thomas (E.T., Gangs of New York) as T.J. Karsten, Chris Johnson (The Vampire Diaries) as Drew, Wendy Moniz (Guiding Light, The Guardian) as Elaine, Elizabeth McLaughlin (The Clique) as Val and Braeden Lamasters (Men of a Certain Age) as Vic. Betrayal was written by David Zabel (ER) and directed by Patty Jenkins (The Killing, Monster) and is executive-produced by David Zabel, Rob Golenberg (Red Widow) and Alon Aranya. Betrayal is produced by ABC Studios.
Killer Women (Midseason) - Of all the notorious lawmen who have ever patrolled the violent Texas frontier, none are more storied than the Texas Rangers. But being the only female ranger in this elite squad isn't going to stop ballsy, badass Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer). Molly is committed to finding the truth and seeing justice served. While she's surrounded by law enforcement colleagues who want to see her fail, including Police Lieutenant Guillermo Salazar (Vic Trevino), the Rangers have her back, led by Company Commander Luis Zea (Alex Fernandez). Molly has also got her brother, Billy (Michael Trucco), and his wife Becca (Marta Milans). On the verge of getting divorced from her smarmy husband, Jake (Jeffrey Nordling), Molly begins an affair with sexy DEA Agent Dan Winston (Marc Blucas). Killer Women stars Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) as Molly Parker, Mark Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Dan, Marta Milans (Shame) as Becca, Alex Fernandez (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) as Luis and Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica) as Billy. Killer Women was written by Hannah Shakespeare and is executive-produced by Sofía Vergara (Modern Family), Martin Campbell, Ben Silverman, Luis Balaguer, Electus, Latin World Entertainment. The pilot was directed by Larry Trilling. Killer Women is produced by ABC Studios.
Mind Games (Midseason) - Clark (Steve Zahn) and Ross (Christian Slater) Edwards are brothers and partners in a unique agency committed to solving clients' problems using the hard science of psychological manipulation. Clark is a former professor and a world-renowned expert in the field of human behavior. But he has a checkered history due to bipolar disorder, which sometimes results in quirky, manic episodes. Older brother Ross is a slick con man who has spent time in prison. Each in their own way knows what makes people tick. Drawing from the most cutting edge research in psychology, they can a tailor a plan to influence any situation. It's a little bit science, a little bit con artistry, plus a smattering of Jedi mind tricks. The brothers, along with their team of master manipulators, are offering clients an alternative to fate. Mind Games stars Steve Zahn (Treme) as Clark, Christian Slater (True Romance) as Ross, Megalyn Echikunwoke (CSI: Miami) as Megan, Cedric Sanders (The Social Network) as Latrell, Gregory Marcel (The Good Shepherd) as Miles and Wynn Everett (The Newsroom) as Claire. Written and executive-produced by Kyle Killen, the series is also executive-produced by Keith Redman. Mind Games is a 20th Century Fox Television production. Miguel Sapochnik directed the pilot.
Resurrection (Midseason) - The people of Arcadia, Missouri are forever changed when their deceased loved ones suddenly start to return. An 8-year-old American boy (Landon Gimenez) wakes up alone in a rice paddy in a rural Chinese province with no idea how he got there. Details start to emerge when the boy, who calls himself Jacob, recalls that his hometown is Arcadia, and an Immigration agent, Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps), takes him there. The home he claims as his own is occupied by an elderly couple, Harold (Kurtwood Smith) and Lucille Garland (Frances Fisher), who lost their son Jacob more than 30 years ago. While they look different, young Jacob recognizes them as his parents. Those closest to the family try to unravel this impossible mystery, including Sheriff Fred Garland (Matt Craven), whose wife Barbara drowned 30 years ago while trying to save Jacob. But this boy who claims to be the deceased Jacob knows secrets about his own death that no one else knows -- secrets that Fred's daughter, Gail (Devin Kelly), will begin to investigate and discover to be true. Resurrection stars Omar Epps (House) as Martin Bellamy, Matt Craven (Crimson Tide, A Few Good Men) as Fred, Devin Kelley (Chernobyl Diaries, The Chicago Code) as Gail, Frances Fisher (Titanic) as Lucille, Kurtwood Smith (That '70s Show) as Harold, Sam Hazeldine (The Raven) as Abel, Samaire Armstrong (Entourage, The O.C.) as Elaine, Nicholas Gonzalez (Off the Map) as Connor, Mark Hildreth (Dragon Ball Z) as Tom and Landon Gimenez as Jacob. Written by Aaron Zelman (Damages, The Killing), Resurrection is executive-produced by Aaron Zelman, JoAnn Alfano, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Jon Liebman, Brillstein Entertainment and Plan B. The pilot was directed by Charles McDougall. Resurrection is produced by ABC Studios.
Mixology (Midseason) - One bar. One night. Ten single people. Welcome to Union, a high-end bar in Manhattan's trendy meat-packing district. Recently dumped by his fiancée, Tom (Blake Lee) hasn't been out on the town in a decade. His best friends, handsome, confident Cal (Craig Frank) and fast-talking Bruce (Andrew Santino), are throwing Tom back into the dating pool whether he likes it or not. Tom's first encounter is with Maya (Ginger Gonzaga), an attorney who's as beautiful as she is brutal; before long, Tom is in tears. After that, it only gets worse. Rounding out Union's chic crowd is Maya's engaged-for-now friend, Liv (Kate Simses); aggressive single mom Jessica (Alexis Carra); her younger, naive sister, Janey (Sarah Bolger); bubbly cocktail waitress Kacey (Vanessa Lengies); dark, mysterious bartender Dominic (Adan Canto); and failed internet entrepreneur Ron (Adam Campbell), who's having the worst night of his life. Mixology stars Blake Lee (Parks and Recreation) as Tom, Andrew Santino (+) as Bruce, Kate Simses (What's Your Number) as Liv, Adam Campbell (Epic Movie) as Ron, Craig Frank (8.13) as Cal, Vanessa Lengies (Glee) as Kacey, Alexis Carra (Incredible Girl) as Jessica, Sarah Bolger (Once Upon a Time) as Janey, Ginger Gonzaga (Legit) as Maya and Adan Canto (The Following) as Dominic. Mixology was written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (The Hangover, 21 and Over), and is executive-produced by Lucas, Moore, Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass and Adam Sher. It's directed by Larry Charles (Seinfeld, Entourage, Borat), and is produced by ABC Studios.
The Quest (Midseason) - The Quest is a new reality adventure that takes 12 lucky contestants on the journey of a lifetime when they enter the world of "Everealm." For The Quest, the producer of the blockbuster movie franchise The Lord of the Rings has joined forces with the creators and producers of The Amazing Race to conjure a land of magic and malevolence, where mythical creatures lurk in the woods, agents of darkness stir in the shadows, and mystical beings infiltrate the keep. For 12 lucky souls, a fantastic world will come alive in a unique competition series where players will engage in epic challenges. Fantasy meets reality when one player emerges as a real-life hero. The Quest is from executive producers Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri (The Amazing Race, Profiles Television), executive producers Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming (Court Five), and executive producers Rob Eric and Michael Williams (Green Harbor Productions).