Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Fantasy Schedule: ABC

ABC didn't have any runaway hits this season (though sophomore Scandal grew into something of a pop culture phenomenon and ended its run last week as the network's highest-rated drama), so they will be doing some extensive housecleaning and reworking. Prior to Friday's spree of renewals and pickups, this schedule would have looked much different. But working with what they have, my best shot is below.

Monday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Castle

I really do think ABC needs to consider cutting Dancing with the Stars down to one cycle per season. It's getting very tired, and the ratings are pretty much in the toilet. I think it will remain on the fall schedule, but at midseason I hope they will consider new options.

Tuesday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars - Results
9:00 - Super Fun Night (NEW)
9:30 - Mixology (NEW)
10:00 - Nashville

Despite bad early reviews, Super Fun Night received a series order (after being passed over by CBS last season) because its star, Rebel Wilson, is enjoying a moment in the sun thanks to the success of the film Pitch Perfect. It's a youth-oriented show, and I think it would pair nicely with Mixology, a comedy about ten single people who meet and form bonds at their local bar. Rebel Wilson could be the kind of up-and-comer ABC needs to get eyes on a new comedy block, which failed miserably last season with two series that just couldn't find an audience without an appropriate lead-in. The 10:00 slot also gave ABC trouble this season, with two shows (Private Practice and Body of Proof) airing there and eventually being canceled. Nashville is the only returning freshman drama, and this would be a safe place to put it without there being much pressure (unlike, say, Sundays at 10:00).

Wednesday

8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - The Goldbergs (NEW)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Back in the Game (NEW)
10:00 - Resurrection (NEW)

The Wednesday night comedy block has given ABC more trouble than it should have lately. Suburgatory just couldn't retain its Modern Family lead-in in the fall, and then it couldn't retain The Middle's lead-in at midseason. Both it and The Neighbors were renewed, but I don't see either of them returning to this block. ABC needs to find its next comedy hit this year, because every new show launched at 9:30 has failed. So I think they will stick two new comedies in there, likely The Goldbergs, a 1980s-set family sitcom starring another Bridesmaids cast member, Wendi McLendon-Covey; and Back in the Game, a James Caan led baseball-themed sitcom. The latter has the potential to appeal to a wide audience (read: males), so I think it'l be the ideal candidate for the post-Modern Family slot. Resurrection has a supernatural element as well as a soap element, and that seems to be the kind of show ABC has been trying in the 10:00 slot. It's also a respectable slot for a show with a huge ensemble cast, including familiar faces like Omar Epps and Frances Fisher, and Brad Pitt as producer.

Thursday

8:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (NEW)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Scandal

I don't see ABC breaking up the Shonda Rhimes shows at 9:00 and 10:00, and I also was originally thinking that they wouldn't try another new drama at 8:00 after having nearly everything in recent memory fail there. But if anything is going to succeed in this slot, it's the new Marvel pilot. This show should draw in a huge male audience, and I think that if it's scheduled in this slot, it will likely give The Big Bang Theory's demo a sizable hit. And if it fails, the show can be moved; I don't see ABC giving up on it.

Friday

8:00 - Last Man Standing
8:30 - The Neighbors
9:00 - Shark Tank
10:00 - 20/20

Since ABC canceled Malibu Country and didn't pick up a new multi-camera pilot, Last Man Standing will have to be paired with a single-camera. The Neighbors got a full season order this week, as did Suburgatory. I think the former will being its run on Fridays with Last Man Standing, and the latter will be saved in case any other comedy bombs immediately. Shark Tank could easily be moved to another night, but since it's usually the highest-rated show on Fridays, I left it where it is.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Revenge
10:00 - Betrayal (NEW)

Despite both Once Upon a Time and Revenge plummeting in the ratings this season, particularly this spring, I don't see the pair being broken up, especially if Revenge goes through a revamp now that creator/showrunner Mike Kelley has departed. Betrayal, a soapy murder mystery, is a perfect fit with Revenge.

Midseason

The spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is scheduled to be a limited run during its parent series' winter hiatus. Lucky 7, an ensemble drama about how winning the lottery affects a group of people, screams for a limited run as well, kind of in the vein of 2012's The River, perhaps between cycles of Dancing with the Stars, if indeed there are two cycles next season. They also have two other dramas, Killer Women (which I really hope gets a new title) and Mind Games, to fit in, plus the new sitcom Trophy Wife and veteran series Suburgatory. I think the former will be inserted into the Wednesday block, if needed, at midseason and the latter will be saved if something fails horribly either on Tuesday or Wednesday; if not, I expect it to finish a run after Last Man Standing when The Neighbors completes its season.

Bottom Line Predictions

New Series - Betrayal, Killer Women, Lucky 7, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, Mind Games, Resurrection, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Back in the Game, The Goldbergs, Mixology, Super Fun Night, Trophy Wife

Canceled Series - 666 Park Avenue, Body of Proof, Last Resort, Private Practice, Red Widow, Zero Hour, Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23, Family Tools, Happy Endings, How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life), Malibu Country

Since ABC has ordered and renewed/canceled all their shows already, these aren't really predictions, but still...

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