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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

UPFRONTS 2011: ABC's Official Fall Schedule

Here is ABC's fall schedule. Click on the link to see my commentary on the official fall schedules of NBC and FOX!

8:00 Dancing with the Stars (13th/14th Edition)
10:00 Castle (4th season)
ABC is keeping the status quo on Monday night. Some thought they would use the Dancing with the Stars lead-in to launch a new drama but that will not be the case. Perhaps this is because NBC is putting The Playboy Club in this hour? Either way, Castle should continue to be very strong when it has a Dancing lead-in but weaker when The Bachelor is the lead-in in midseason. This sort of continues ABC's reluctance to move existing shows to launch new ones. At least in this case, Castle performs well whereas sometimes they leave underperformers in the same slot.

8:30 MAN UP
9:00 Dancing with the Stars Results
10:00 Body of Proof (2nd season)
As many predicted, ABC will launch an hour of comedies on Tuesday nights. However, they did not go with two multicam sitcoms, instead choosing to pair Tim Allen's new show with the singlecam Man Up instead of Work It like many thought. Tim Allen should get a sampling but he has a tall order from ABC to jump start a new night of comedies. If anyone can do it though, he can as he had a loyal ABC audience throughout the 1990s. The Dancing with the Stars results edition stays put at 9pm to continue to prop up Body of Proof which has had success but isn't ready to stand on its own yet. This is a smart move because Proof has potential. Their plan as of now is to add Cougar Town and the new Apt 23 to this night when Dancing ends its fall run.

8:00 The Middle (3rd season)
9:00 Modern Family (3rd season)
9:30 Happy Endings (2nd season)
Many thought ABC would stick to three hours of comedy on this night but that will not be the case, more on that in a moment. ABC will continue to use The Middle and Modern Family as anchors to the night and will plug Suburgatory in-between them which, on paper, seems like a better fit than Better With You. The surprise here is that the 9:30 slot will go to Happy Endings which has gotten some buzz in its brief midseason run. ABC is hellbent on making this show a hit and now it gets the best comedy slot the network has. It's do or die time for this show. Perhaps the poorest move of the entire schedule is placing new drama Revenge at 10pm here. New dramas Eastwick, Happy Town, The Whole Truth, and Off the Map have all failed in this timeslot in the last two seasons and there's no reason to believe the prospects for Revenge are any better. Why didn't ABC stick with comedies or at least put an existing drama (Castle, Private Practice) here?

9:00 Grey's Anatomy (8th season)
10:00 Private Practice (5th season)
ABC is going back to three dramas on Thursdays. 8pm Thursday has been another very troublesome slot for ABC but they may have a better chance of breaking the streak here because Charlie's Angels is a name brand that will certainly get some attention to start. This is the slot for the old version of Angels and it's not a bad move. If they were going to try any new drama in this slot, this is the one to try. The aging Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice follow and it seems surprising that Practice continues to keep this slot though perhaps ABC is thinking of slotting Scandal here at midseason. In that case, it would make a bit more sense.

8:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (8th season)

9:00 Shark Tank (3rd season)
10:00 20/20 (30th season)
As the other networks will all be airing scripted programming on Friday nights, ABC is choosing to go all unscripted, which is not a bad idea. As many thought, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will take over the Fridays 8pm slot after years on Sundays. This may help the aging show get a few more years. Shark Tank will slide back to 9pm after having some decent results this spring and longtime stalwart 20/20 closes out the night as usual where it will continue to be in competition with Dateline NBC.

8:00 College Football

7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (22nd season)
9:00 Desperate Housewives (8th season)
10:00 PAN AM
ABC is making big changes to Sunday night and going with three dramas for the first time. After the long-running America's Funniest Home Videos will be new fantasy drama Once Upon a Time. It is escapist but this will be a tough sell in a slot that ABC has used for reality for the last decade plus. Desperate Housewives will be used to launch a new show (finally!) and the lucky show is Pan Am. It has potential but does Housewives have enough power anymore? Surprisingly, Good Christian Belles was saved for midseason when many thought it would air post-Desperate Housewives

MIDSEASON: The Bachelor, Cougar Town, Primetime: What Would You Do?, Secret Millionaire, Wipeout, APT. 23, GOOD CHRISTIAN BELLES, MISSING, THE RIVER, SCANDAL, WORK IT
ABC has plenty on deck for midseason. I already discussed The Bachelor, Cougar Town, and Apt. 23. I don't have confirmation that Primetime: What Would You Do? and Wipeout were renewed but I'd imagine they'll be used as fillers at some point. Secret Millionaire can be a backup if Once Upon a Time fails. As far as new shows, Good Christian Belles can get a tryout at 10pm Sunday, Scandal might go Thursday at 10pm, Work It can replace a failed comedy or one that takes a break. Missing and The River can fill in where there's a need.

CANCELLED: Better With You, Brothers & Sisters, Detroit 1-8-7, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Mr. Sunshine, My Generation, No Ordinary Family, Off the Map, Skating with the Stars, Supernanny, V, The Whole Truth
No surprises here on the cancellation list. Included are all new shows from this past season except for Happy Endings and Body of Proof which makes 2 survivors per network with ABC, NBC, and FOX (you could also count Secret Millionaire but that had a failed run on FOX first).

ABC is making steps in the right directions to scheduling. My constant gripe with them is that they leave shows with modest ratings in the same timeslots year after year. There are some changes to that this year - they have finally cancelled Brothers & Sisters and will launch a new drama at 10pm. It's quite possible that they will put Scandal on after Grey's Anatomy and they stopped giving Cougar Town the cushy Modern Family lead-in. Like NBC, their new shows look very interesting and diverse, I like the overall escapism theme to them but we'll see how they turn out. They are smart to branch off comedies to another night but made a huge mistake by putting another drama in the Weds 10pm slot where a drama hasn't worked since... I don't even remember. I thought their fall schedule was the worst of the bunch last year but they are making steps in the right direction with a captivating slate of shows.

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