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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

UPFRONTS 2012: ABC's Official Fall Schedule

Here we go with ABC!

8:00 Dancing with the Stars (15th edition)
10:00 Castle (5th season)
ABC is choosing to keep the status quo on Mondays as Castle will continue to have the lead-in of Dancing with the Stars. Stars will be an all-star edition which should help it build from a disappointing spring. Given that, it's surprising that ABC wasn't more aggressive at 10pm. I think they really had an opportunity to try a new drama such as Nashville or Mistresses but they blew it by giving one of the best lead-ins to a fifth year show.

8:00 Dancing with the Stars Results (15th edition)
9:00 Happy Endings (3rd season)
9:30 Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (2nd season)
10:00 Private Practice (6th season)
With NBC and FOX launching many new shows on Monday and Tuesday, ABC is opting for all returning shows on Tuesday as well. The results edition of Dancing with the Stars will slide up an hour to compete directly with The Voice, which also slid up to 8pm. At 9pm, ABC is trying to carve out a new comedy lineup with its younger, hip comedies that have buzz but don't fit on Wednesday. It's not a bad idea but it has to compete with similar genres of comedy on both NBC and FOX. That will be quite a dogfight in that timeslot. At 10pm, Private Practice returns to its new Tuesday slot for a 13 episode, possibly final, season. If all goes well with the comedies, the plan is to launch new sitcoms How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life and The Family Tools in the 8pm hour in January.

8:00 The Middle (4th season)
8:30 Suburgatory (2nd season)
9:00 Modern Family (4th season)
ABC is continuing to perfect its sitcom lineup on Wednesday and they fixed the 8:30pm this season with Suburgatory. Now they will focus on the 9:30pm slot to follow their top show - Modern Family. They made a very odd choice with The Neighbors, an alien comedy that seems like it could be the new Work It. ABC passed over some real interesting pilots including ones starring Kirstie Alley, Portia DeRossi, Mandy Moore, and Judy Greer. What made them pick up this show? I think the Modern Family audience is going to think The Neighbors is idiotic. ABC made the bold move of sending Revenge away from Wednesday night. In its place is Nashville which could find an audience against procedurals on the other channels. There are a lot of country fans out there.

9:00 Grey's Anatomy (9th season)
10:00 Scandal (2nd season)
It looks like ABC is going to keep trying with the Thursday 8pm hour. FlashForward, The Deep End, My Generation, Charlie's Angels, and Missing have all failed here in recent years but their newest attempt, Last Resort, looks promising even if it doesn't really fit with other ABC shows. Much like FlashForward a few years ago, this is a big swing by ABC in this hour and they're hoping it turns out better this time. Unless they moved Castle here, I can't really think of a better option. There's nothing else like it in the time period. ABC will keep 9-11pm in tact and give Scandal a chance to grow behind Grey's Anatomy after a very steady but unspectacular season one performance. I think that is the right move.

8:00 Last Man Standing (2nd season)
9:00 Shark Tank (4th season)
10:00 20/20 (31st season)
Fridays are turning into quite the competitive night! Like NBC, ABC will try to bring comedies to the night starting in November (Shark Tank/Primetime: What Would You Do? airs for the first two months). Unlike NBC, ABC has a track record of comedies on this night with their very successful TGIF lineup in the 1990s. The older-skewing family show Last Man Standing will be joined by a very tonally similar sitcom in Reba McEntire's Malibu Country. If there is enough of an audience left on Fridays, this is a good move for ABC.

8:00 College Football
As usual.

7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (23rd season)
8:00 Once Upon a Time (2nd season)
9:00 Revenge (2nd season)
10:00 666 PARK AVE
Sundays are interesting for ABC. They will keep 7-9pm in tact as Once Upon a Time became a new anchor in a very successful first season. The biggest move on the whole schedule is the move of Revenge to Sunday nights. This could certainly pay off for ABC but I have my reservations. While Revenge is buzzy, it wasn't a runaway hit and they have had such a hard time with Wednesday 10pm only to move the first show to work there. Still, they needed something big to take over for Desperate Housewives and they're hoping Revenge can grow here. They are adding the spooky 666 Park Avenue to 10pm which sounds like a good fit with the other two shows on the night. This lineup after Once could sink or swim for ABC. It's a big gamble for sure.

ABC doesn't have as much on reserve as it usually does. Besides the comedy slots already mentioned, they are tentatively planning Mistresses for May 2013 but it wouldn't surprise me if it turned up sooner than that. No specific plans for Red Widow or Zero Hour yet.

CANCELLED/ENDED: Charlie's Angels, Cougar Town (moved to TBS), Desperate Housewives, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, GCB, Man Up!, Missing, Pan Am, The River, Work It, You Deserve It
Nothing unsurprising on this list. I haven't been able to find whether Wipeout has been renewed or not but it wouldn't shock me to see it as a filler yet again.

My Thoughts:
I was very critical of ABC's scheduling before last season but then I felt like they made a lot of good moves going into last season and much of it paid off thanks in part to good scheduling and part to a very strong freshman class. However, this year I think both the shows and the scheduling are weaker. There are several things I don't get - why continue to air Castle in one of their best timeslots when its more than ready to be on its own? Why move Revenge from a slot that has been horrible for ABC for years? Why pick up The Neighbors, much less give it the best comedy timeslot? I just don't understand a lot of this. Nashville seemed like it would fit tonally with Dancing with the Stars while 666 Park Avenue probably would have been better for 9pm than 10pm. And none of the comedies look particularly great. ABC had a great year for freshmen in 2009-2010 and this past season but in-between (2010-2011) was a bad year for their new shows. I have a feeling 2012-2013 could be closer to the bad year than the good years.

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