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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

UPFRONTS 2016: ABC's Official Fall Schedule

Here is the ABC schedule!

Past ABC schedules: 2015   2014   2013   2012   2011

8:00 Dancing with the Stars (23rd Edition)
Well we all knew it would finally not be Castle on Monday nights at 10pm for the first time since the 2008-09 season. ABC is replacing it with another procedural - Conviction, which looks like it could be right on brand for ABC. It is expected to air for the full year if it works so it will get the benefit of following a total viewer powerhouse in Dancing with the Stars and one of the demo leaders in The Bachelor. It has been so long since a new show got this prime slot on the ABC schedule. It's about time for this change and Conviction seems like a show that could work here.

8:00 The Middle (8th Season)
9:00 Fresh Off the Boat (3rd Season)

9:30 The Real O'Neals (2nd Season)
10:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (4th Season)
ABC is finally taking the big swing on Tuesdays and going with a four comedy block which I have advocated for years. With eight returning sitcoms and four new sitcoms ordered, this was the time. And they are not going halfway with it, they are bringing The Middle over to Tuesdays after seven years on Wednesdays. They needed to bring one of their big shows over to the night and they are counting on this veteran show to change course for them on Tuesdays. The Middle will lead into the new American Housewife. I'm skeptical of this but they also have comedies on the bench. The 8pm hour from this past season shifts to 9pm where Fresh Off the Boat will be asked to be the 9pm anchor. It's a tall order but I think it can benefit from being in the midst of a comedy block. It is followed by The Real O'Neals, which will have to show some signs of life after a narrow renewal. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will move to 10pm which is the right call as the audience is pretty narrow at this point.

8:00 The Goldbergs (4th Season)
9:00 Modern Family (8th Season)

9:30 Black-ish (3rd Season)
ABC is revamping its Wednesday lineup. After two years being carefully nurtured, The Goldbergs has blossomed into a hit and now will be tasked with starting the Wednesday night lineup in a slot that The Middle has held since 2010. I think it's ready for this and it has a lot of life left. At 8:30pm is the new Speechless, which must be ABC's favorite comedy project given the prime slot. At 9pm, Modern Family remains in the only slot it has ever known while Black-ish continues at 9:30pm. This is a smart move because Black-ish wasn't strong enough to move and become an anchor, and ABC is launching a new drama at 10pm. That new drama is the highly anticipated Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland. This is a tough slot but the show has a lot of buzz and it won't have to do much to be an improvement on Nashville.

8:00 Grey's Anatomy (13th Season)
10:00 How to Get Away with Murder (3rd Season)
TGIT will no longer be all Shondaland in the fall as Scandal will be held until midseason where it can have an uninterrupted run starting in January. I know part of that is due to Kerry Washington's pregnancy but ABC would have found a way to make it work if it was still a stronger show. Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder will keep their slots but in between is Notorious, a Shonda-like show but not from Shondaland. It's a risk but it is on brand. As of now the plan is for Scandal to get its slot back in January. That could change if Notorious is a hit, but I'm skeptical of that happening. The Catch will eventually take over for How to Get Away with Murder again.

8:00 Last Man Standing (6th Season)
8:30 Dr. Ken (2nd Season)
9:00 Shark Tank (8th Season)
10:00 20/20 (35th Season)
With the Friday comedies renewed, Fridays will stay exactly the same as they should. Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken were an excellent pair and Dr. Ken is the first show to get a second season following Last Man Standing. Shark Tank has lost some luster but remains a solid Friday option while 20/20 will be heading into its 35th season.

8:00 College Football

7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (27th Season)
8:00 Once Upon a Time (6th Season)
9:00 Secrets and Lies (2nd Season)
10:00 Quantico (2nd Season)
ABC is not being very aggressive on Sundays with America's Funniest Home Videos, Once Upon a Time, and Quantico all returning to the same slot. ABC is looking to upgrade the 9pm slot though and they will try with Secrets and Lies, a show that has now not been seen for over a year. In Spring 2015, it had a so-so start in this same slot after the Oscars but built momentum and ended on a high note, earning it a renewal. But that second season never aired and ABC will wait until fall for us to finally see the next installment of the anthology series. I don't think any good will from the first season will carry over here, it's going to have to do it on its own. It's basically like launching a new show again on ABC. Since it's an anthology, it has a limited order and the plan is for genre drama Time After Time to replace it at midseason.

ABC doesn't have as much on deck for midseason as some networks. I already mentioned the plans for Time After Time, The Bachelor, The Catch, and Scandal. ABC is planning to move away from the lengthy hiatuses and "bridge" shows that they have done so much of in recent years. The comedies can be backups in case either new comedy or The Real O'Neals fails. Still Star-Crossed will be an interesting placement while American Crime could still be a bridge series if they pick one or two shows to have a long break (perhaps Designated Survivor).

CANCELLED/ENDED: Blood & Oil, Castle, The Family, Galavant, Marvel's Agent Carter, The Muppets, My Diet is Better Than Yours, Nashville, Of Kings and Prophets, Wicked City
ABC is still deciding on Beyond the Tank while I couldn't find any information on The Great Christmas Light Fight or The Great Holiday Baking Show, but I think they'll be back for a short December run.

I really like this ABC schedule. It is so much better than past schedules from this network and the schedules released by NBC and FOX. Thursdays are now a question mark and Sundays still could be weak but they without question put themselves in position to improve on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10pm and I absolutely love the switch to four comedies led by The Middle on Tuesdays. I also love that they could finally part with Castle and Nashville. Even if Conviction or Designated Survivor flop, it's still the right (and long overdue) move. Kudos to ABC!

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