Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2016 Fall Schedule: ABC

Monday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Conviction (NEW)

With Castle gone after eight seasons, the Monday 10:00 timeslot is finally open, and ABC will be using it to launch a new procedural.

Tuesday

8:00 - The Middle (New Timeslot)
8:30 - American Housewife (NEW)
9:00 - Fresh Off the Boat (New Timeslot)
9:30 - The Real O'Neals (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (New Timeslot)

This is exciting to me for two reasons: one, I've been hoping for The Middle to move to Tuesdays to start a new comedy hour for two years now; and two, this lineup looks really strong. ABC clearly has a lot of faith in Fresh Off the Boat, pushing it to anchor the night at 9:00, and having an established name at 10:00 like Marvel will likely allow the network to focus elsewhere for the seasons, rather than throwing a bunch of freshmen dramas in the timeslot and watching them burn.

Wednesday

8:00 - The Goldbergs (New Timeslot)
8:30 - Speechless (NEW)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - black-ish
10:00 - Designated Survivor (NEW)

The Goldbergs has proven itself in its 8:30 timeslot, often growing out of its lead-in, so it becomes the new 8:00 lead-off. I expected Fresh Off the Boat to join the Wednesday night lineup, but Speechless seems like a good fit with its "quirky family" premise, much like every other show in the mix. And the 10:00 slot goes to an action show now that Nashville is gone. It's been more than five years since ABC tried anything but a soap at that time, so we'll see how that goes.

Thursday

8:00 - Grey's Anatomy
9:00 - Notorious (NEW)
10:00 - How to Get Away with Murder

On the heels of Kerry Washington's pregnancy announcement, Scandal is being held for midseason, making way for newbie Notorious. I think it probably would have been better to try The Catch there, just to see if it could perform better in the fall, but Notorious looks like the kind of guilty pleasure stuff that can fit into TGIT.

Friday

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

For the first time since it moved to Fridays in 2012, Last Man Standing will be paired with the same show for a second season: Dr. Ken. The rest of the night remains unchanged as well.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time
9:00 - Secrets & Lies
10:00 - Quantico

The second season of Secrets & Lies was originally ordered for this past season, but it was held over to give it a better chance of success (otherwise, ABC could have easily shoved it in the Tuesday 10:00 slot following the swift cancellation of Of Kings & Prophets). It'll air where the first season was in spring of 2015. Once Upon a Time and Quantico stay where they are.

Midseason

Coming up at midseason, ABC has two other new comedies (Imaginary Mary and Downward Dog) and three new dramas (miniseries When We Rise, Shondaland production Still Star-Crossed, and Time After Time, which is tentatively scheduled for Sundays at 9:00), plus the returns of American Crime, Scandal, and The Catch. They also have the three-hour telefilm remake of Dirty Dancing on tap, as well as a new special from magician David Blaine.


This is the first schedule of the season that I have not had an adverse reaction to. The Tuesday comedy expansion makes sense, considering ABC has had more success launching comedies than they have launching dramas. Moving The Middle to lead-off the night is the smartest choice; The Goldbergs could have done the job as well, but that show is really flourishing on Wednesdays, more than enough for it to take the lead-off position now. Scandal suffered this past season in terms of ratings and reception, so perhaps holding it until midseason will give the creators a chance to focus the story (having a 16 episode order, rather than 22, should help things) and the fans/critics a chance to breathe. I think Conviction is the best choice to take the late slot on Monday; it's on-target with ABC's typical demographic, and they have no other procedurals on the air, so it fills a niche. The only slightly questionable move is putting Designated Survivor on Wednesdays at 10:00, since a violent action-thriller doesn't really go with the comedy block before it. But that was always a difficult slot for them to fill prior to Revenge's success in 2011, so maybe taking the risk on Designated Survivor will pay off in the same way. Everything else is relatively stable for the network. Sundays will probably need a makeover this time next year, with Once Upon a Time continuing to slide in the ratings and Quantico basically rebootng itself in season two with no sign of how that will be received, but for now it's good enough.

Read descriptions of ABC's new series after the jump.

Comedies

American Housewife - Katie Otto (Katy Mixon, Mike & Molly), a confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three, raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring.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. American Housewife 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. Ruben Fleischer directed and was executive producer of the pilot.

Downward Dog - Based on the web series, Downward Dog is about a struggling millennial, Nan (Emmy-nominated Allison Tolman, Fargo), 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. The series stars Allison Tolman as Nan, Lucas Neff as Jason, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Jenn, Barry Rothbart as Kevin and Mo Collins as Kim. Samm Hodges is the voice of Martin. 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.

Imaginary Mary - Alice (Jenna Elfman, Dharma & Greg, Friends With Benefits, EDtv) is 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. The series stars Jenna Elfman as Alice, Stephen Schneider as Ben, Rachel Dratch as Mary (VO), Nicholas Coombe as Andy, Matreya Scarrwener as Dora and Erica Tremblay as Bunny. 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 (Night at the Museum, Cheaper by the Dozen), who is also executive producer. The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, Happy Madison and ABC Studios.

Speechless - Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver, About a Boy, The Riches, Good Will Hunting) is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her husband, Jimmy, and 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.” Speechless stars Minnie Driver as Maya DiMeo, John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory) as Jimmy DiMeo, Mason Cook as Ray DiMeo, Micah Fowler as JJ DiMeo, Kyla Kenedy as Dylan DiMeo and Cedric Yarbrough as Kenneth. Scott Silveri (Friends) writes and is executive producer of the show, along with Fresh Off the Boat's Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar. The series is from Twentieth Century Fox Television and ABC Studios.

Dramas

Conviction - Lawyer and former First Daughter Hayes Morrison (Hayley Atwell, Marvel's Agent Carter) 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 Barton, Emily Kinney as Tess Thompson, Manny Montana as Franklin “Frankie” Rios and Daniel di Tomasso as Jackson Morrison. “Conviction” is from The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios. Conviction is co-created by writer Liz Friedman (Elementary, Marvel’s Jessica Jones) and director Liz Friedlander (The Following). Friedman and Friedlander will executive produce with Mark Gordon (Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, Saving Private Ryan) and Nick Pepper.

Designated Survivor - Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland (24) returns to primetime in a conspiracy thriller as Tom Kirkman, a lower-level 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. Designated Survivor stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman, Maggie Q as Hannah Watts, Kal Penn as Seth Wheeler, Adan Canto as Aaron Shore, Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes, LaMonica Garrett as James Ritter, and Tanner Buchanan as Leo Kirkman. Designated Survivor is from The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios. David Guggenheim is creator and executive producer. In addition to Guggenheim, the series is executive produced by Simon Kinberg, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Gordon, Nick Pepper, Suzan Bymel, and Aditya Sood. Paul McGuigan directed the pilot episode.

Notorious - Notorious is inspired by the true-life stories of famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and cable news producer Wendy Walker, who serve as executive producers. The series is a provocative look at the unique, sexy and dangerous interplay of criminal law and the media. Josh Berman (The Blacklist, Bones, CSI) is writer and executive producer, and Allie Hagan (Suri's Burn Book) is writer and co-executive producer. Notorious stars Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs) as Julia George, Daniel Sunjata (Graceland) as Jake Gregorian, Sepideh Moafi as Megan Byrd, Kate Jennings Grant as Louise Herrick, Ryan Guzman as Ryan, Kevin Zegers as Oscar Keaton, J. August Richards as Bradley Gregorian and Aimee Teegarden as Ella Benjamin. Notorious is from Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios. Michael Engler, Kenny Meiselas, Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry are also executive producers. Michael Engler directed the pilot.

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 as Rosaline, Ebonee Noel as Livia, Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus, Medalion Rahimi as Princess Isabella, Grant Bowler as Damiano Montague, Susan Wooldridge 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, from ABC Studios.

Time After Time - Based on the novel and movie Time After Time, executive producer/writer Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, Dawson's Creek, Scream franchise) 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. The series stars Freddie Stroma (Harry Potter films) as H.G. Wells, Josh Bowman (Revenge) as John Stevenson/Jack the Ripper, Genesis Rodriguez (Big Hero 6) as Jane and Regina Taylor (Dig) as Vanessa Anders. Time After Time is from Outerbanks Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television. Williamson and Marcos Siega (Blindspot, The Following) are executive producers. Siega directed the pilot. Williamson wrote the teleplay. Based on the novel written by Karl Alexander.

Events

Dirty Dancing - The global pop-cultural phenomenon becomes a three-hour filmed musical event this season on the ABC Television Network. An adaptation of the beloved 1987 romantic drama and instant music classic, Dirty Dancing will be produced by Lionsgate Television in association with Allison Shearmur Productions, executive produced by Allison Shearmur (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Hunger Games franchise, Cinderella); Eleanor Bergstein, who wrote the screenplay for the original movie; and Grammy Award-nominee Adam Anders (Glee, Rock of Ages), who also serves as executive music producer. Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) is the director, and Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, Bring It On, In the Heights) is the choreographer. Dirty Dancing stars Abigail Breslin as Baby, Debra Messing as Marjorie Houseman, Bruce Greenwood as Dr. Jake Houseman, Nicole Scherzinger as Penny, Colt Prattes as Johnny, Sarah Hyland as Lisa Houseman, Tony Roberts as Max Kellerman, Trevor Einhorn as Neil, Shane Harper as Robbie Gould, J. Quinton Johnson as Marco, Beau "Casper" Smart as Billy, Katey Sagal as Vivian Pressman and Billy Dee Williams as Tito.

When We Rise - When We Rise chronicles the real-life personal and political struggles, setbacks and triumphs of a diverse family of LGBT men and women who helped pioneer one of the last legs of the U.S. Civil Rights movement from its turbulent infancy in the 20th century to the once unfathomable successes of today. Written and created by Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk, Big Love, J. Edgar), the limited series event stars Guy Pearce as LGBT activist Cleve Jones, Mary-Louise Parker as women's rights leader Roma Guy and Rachel Griffiths as her wife, social justice activist Diane. Also starring are Austin McKenzie as Younger Cleve Jones, Emily Skeggs as Younger Roma Guy, Jonathan Majors as Younger Ken Jones, and Fiona Dourif as Younger Diane. The miniseries is executive produced by Black, Laurence Mark (Julie & Julia, Dreamgirls, I, Robot, Jerry Maguire), Bruce Cohen (American Beauty) and Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) for ABC. Van Sant will direct the two-hour premiere of the seven-episode-limited series event. When We Rise is from ABC Studios.

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