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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UPFRONTS 2017: ABC's Official Fall Schedule

Here is the ABC schedule!

Past ABC schedules: 2016   2015   2014   2013   2012   2011

MONDAYS
8:00 Dancing with the Stars (25th Edition)
10:00 THE GOOD DOCTOR
Monday nights will once again pair Dancing with the Stars with a new drama. Last year, it was Conviction, which looked good on paper but didn't work out. This time, it is The Good Doctor, a medical drama starring Freddie Highmore that has gotten some decent buzz already. It will be in a similar situation as Conviction last year: airing after Dancing and competing against (likely) Scorpion plus a new NBC drama. I thought Conviction would do well and I thought Deception seemed like a better fit, but it's a great opportunity for ABC to launch a show. If The Good Doctor is the right show, it has a real chance here.

TUESDAYS
8:00 The Middle (9th Season)
8:30 Fresh Off the Boat (4th Season)
9:00 Black-ish (4th Season)
9:30 THE MAYOR
10:00 THE GOSPEL OF KEVIN
Tuesday nights remain a comedy block, but there are some significant changes. After three years airing behind Modern Family, Black-ish has been given an anchor role on a Tuesday night that got easier with the departure of This is Us from the night. It will be paired with the seemingly compatible The Mayor, which is shockingly the only new comedy to premiere on ABC's fall schedule. Earlier in the night, The Middle remains at 8pm but it is now paired with Fresh Off the Boat, moving back to its old slot. At 10pm is a new drama in a slot where ABC has had a ton of trouble. The Gospel of Kevin sounds promising, but this is such a troubled timeslot for ABC and it will have an unproven lead-in. I just don't feel too high about its chances.

WEDNESDAYS
8:00 The Goldbergs (5th Season)
8:30 Speechless (2nd Season)
9:00 Modern Family (9th Season)
9:30 American Housewife (2nd Season)
10:00 Designated Survivor (2nd Season)
Wednesday nights are not being used for anything new, but there is one big change. American Housewife will move over from Tuesdays at 8:30pm to Wednesdays behind Modern Family. No question this is a timeslot upgrade, but it's still a significant risk. This sort of move can help a show break out, but ABC learned a hard lesson when they tried to do the same thing with promising sophomore Suburgatory a couple years ago. While I think Housewife is deserving, I'm a little surprised they didn't just leave it paired with The Middle, which is such a natural companion. Also, with the stability of the rest of the night, I'm surprised they didn't try a new comedy in the 9:30pm slot. The Goldbergs, Speechless, Modern Family, and Designated Survivor all remain in the slots they held this whole season.

THURSDAYS
8:00 Grey's Anatomy (14th Season)
9:00 Scandal (7th Season)
10:00 How to Get Away with Murder (4th Season)
Thursday nights gets the main TGIT crew back together as they will hold Shondaland's For the People for midseason. I wonder if this was planned the whole time or decided once NBC put This is Us in the 9pm slot. We may never know for sure. Either way, this is a reliable but obviously declining lineup that now has much tougher competition from NBC. It is the final season of Scandal, so there will certainly be a big push from ABC in that regard.

FRIDAYS
8:00 Once Upon a Time (7th Season)
9:00 MARVEL'S THE INHUMANS
10:00 20/20 (36th Season)
Friday nights are undergoing a major makeover to a genre night. The renewal of Once Upon a Time seemed dumb to me, but if they were going to renew it, putting it Fridays at 8pm is not a bad idea. The bigger surprise is that the long-announced Marvel's The Inhumans has been dropped on Friday nights. I certainly expected a better timeslot for this show and I have to wonder if it's not what ABC planned. It's only supposed to have eight episodes so Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is slotted to take its place. Stalwart 20/20 remains at 10pm.

SATURDAYS
8:00 Saturday Night Football

SUNDAYS
7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (28th Season)
8:00 To Tell the Truth (3rd Season)
9:00 Shark Tank (9th Season)
10:00 TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY
As most know by now, American Idol is slotted for Sunday nights in March, so the fall lineup definitely has a placeholder feeling. To Tell the Truth is definitely filler while Shark Tank can bounce in and out of the lineup and plug in where needed. New straight to series drama Ten Days in the Valley starring Kyra Sedgwick is primed for a limited run and it will certainly have a tough time attracting an audience in this timeslot. Obviously, this is a low priority night in the fall, but ABC is hoping things will turn around in March.

MIDSEASON: ALEX INC., AMERICAN IDOL, THE BACHELOR: WINTER GAMES, THE CROSSING, DANCING WITH THE STARS JUNIOR, DECEPTION, FOR THE PEOPLE, ROSEANNE, SPLITTING UP TOGETHER, UNTITLED GREY'S ANATOMY SPINOFF, The Bachelor, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Quantico
ABC has a ton on deck for midseason led by American Idol. Some are winter filler like The Bachelor: Winter Games and perhaps Dancing with the Stars Junior. I expect a new drama to premiere after American Idol so that could be The Crossing, Deception, the newly announced Grey's spinoff, or perhaps For the People. I actually don't know where ABC is going to put all these shows.

CANCELLED/ENDED: American Crime, Big Fan, The Catch, Conviction, Dr. Ken, Imaginary Mary, Last Man Standing, Notorious, People Icons, The Real O'Neals, Secrets and Lies, Time After Time, The Toy Box

TO SUM UP:
There are some things I like about this ABC schedule. They should have never renewed Once Upon a Time or Quantico, but at least one is buried on Fridays and the other held off the fall schedule. I get launching four dramas because they need to find some dramas that work, but they are in tricky slots. And I don't understand ABC actually reducing the number of comedy hours on the schedule in the week. That is easily what's working best for them and I just don't understand why they would get rid of an hour and only launch one new sitcom in the fall. ABC has made some real bonehead schedule decisions in the past and I don't think there's any major catastrophe here. I just think it is not playing to its strengths or giving its new shows the best chances to succeed.

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