So, even after you account the overall viewership declines, ABC really had a good year. And this upcoming season looks to be very ambitious, with a wide variety of appealing new shows.
On standby for midseason are new dramas Mistresses (actually intended for next Summer with an inseason launch possible), Red Widow and Zero Hour with returning drama Body of Proof, which was incredibly lucky to have been spared the axe despite dismal ratings in its second season. (Reportedly, it's a big seller overseas.) In addition, some interesting choices for proposed follow-up schedules are listed amongst the lineup below.
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8/7c - Dancing With the Stars (Reality Competition; 8th Season)
10/9c - Castle (Drama; 5th Season)
8/7c - The Bachelor (Reality Competition; 11th Season)
Well, this may be the single most conservative detail on the entire lineup. Two reality shows that have proven immensely successful for the network, and both followed at 10 by good ol' Nathan Fillion and his crime drama success story. And given the note we've seen the most recent season end on, I'm not sure if this show even needs to move.
8/7c - Dancing With the Stars Results Show
9/8c - Happy Endings (Comedy; 3rd Season)
9:30/8:30c - Don't Trust the B--- in Apt. 23 (Comedy; 2nd Season)
10/9c - Private Practice (Drama; 6th Season)
8/7c - HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (New Comedy; A single mother moves back in with her parents)
8:30/7:30c - THE FAMILY TOOLS (New Comedy; A man takes over his father's handyman business)
The biggest change associated with Dancing with the Stars just may be moving the results show up an hour. It really shows how ABC's still willing to shake things up a bit, since they did manage to launch at least one sitcom in the 8/7c time slot...sort of. Meanwhile, they're still going to try comedies on this night, hoping that series that have had time to find their footing on a little later would work out. The primary concerns I have heard involved the fact that NBC and FOX are airing comedies in this same hour as well, with some wondering if this is overcrowding the broadcast landscape. One wonders how these three blocks competing with each other will work out, since it hasn't been seen in a while. If nothing else, I at least say Happy Endings is still pretty funny and that I hope it doesn't really flounder here. As for the follow-up plans, I admit I was surprised when I saw the trailer for How to Live With Your Parents, misinterpreting from some reports that it was a multi-camera comedy. But, I saw that it was the single camera standard for ABC, resembling a comedy film more than a traditional sitcom. As for whether or not it was funny, I didn't feel anything special out of it. Still, you've got a veteran cast going for it, at least, but we'll still have to wait a little while longer to see it. The Family Tools remakes the British comedy Old Man Van by offering JK Simmons, a great character actor in the vaunted role of the father in this father-son dynamic. And the trailer seems to rely a little too much on slapstick and physical humor for its own good. On top of that, I don't know what good I can make of that title, both in the pun and the exact words it's playing on.
8/7c - The Middle (Comedy; 4th Season)
8:30/7:30c - Suburgatory (Comedy; 2nd Season)
9/8c - Modern Family (Comedy; 4th Season)
9:30/8:30c - THE NEIGHBORS (New Comedy; A family moving into a neighborhood learn that their new neighbors are aliens)
10/9c - NASHVILLE (New Drama; Soap about country musicians, focusing on a legendary veteran and a young, new artist)
Joining the primarily established slate of comedic hits on Wednesday is The Neighbors, a high-concept sitcom from a well-established writer (Dan Fogelman, of Crazy, Stupid Love and work on more than one Disney/Pixar animated feature). The trailer is funny enough, and establishes a premise that's an interesting twist on the fish-out-of-water scenario. This time, we have fairly ordinary people moving into a strange, surreal environment full of weird characters. I would say that this seems to have the most potential of the new comedies set to launch. However, I also acknowledge that very rarely in its history has ABC launched a high-concept sitcom very well. Looking back, I consider that Happy Days spun off Mork and Mindy into a successful show. There was also Doogie Howser, MD, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch on TGIF toward the end of the 90s. And we also got The Wonder Years, and while I couldn't call it a "high concept show" it did buck so many trends in sitcoms with its more dramatic tone. But otherwise, the best I can think of include The Charmings, the comedic answer to Once Upon A Time back in the 80s which only ran for one season. And in 1997, TGIF had a genie on You Wish along with Teen Angel, both of which only ran for that one season. And a few years earlier was Aliens in the Family, which quickly got itself dumped to Saturday Mornings (it was a different time) from TGIF. So, I can't deny that it's also a bit of a gamble. The primetime soap Nashville also seems okay, with ABC hoping that it can launch in the Wednesday dramatic slot the same way Revenge did this year.
8/7c - LAST RESORT (New Drama; A nuclear submarine becomes embroiled in a conflict with the government after questioning orders to attack)
9/8c - Grey's Anatomy (Drama; 9th Season)
10/9c - Scandal (Drama; 2nd Season)
On Thursdays, we swap the Grey's Anatomy spinoff Private Practice (that's moving to Tuesdays, where it'll likely conclude its run) for another series from the same creator. That show, Scandal has shown substantial legs since launching in April, giving a greater impression than just the whole "Last show to debut gets spared" detail with Body of Proof last season. And leading off the night is Last Resort, which acts as both a military and politically-themed thriller, aiming for even greater heights and wishing to push the envelope in ways that most other ABC dramas never seemed to dream about. (Well, one Castle episode this past season dealt with a supposed lynchpin to launch a nuclear war and destroy the USA, but even that was never confirmed nor denied.) Suitably enough, it makes for a hell of an exciting trailer, promising a dynamic setup with betrayals, heated debates and questions of morality abound. It does just what a trailer should do, giving exciting scenarios and leaving you itching for more.
8/7c - Shark Tank (Reality Competition; 4th Season)
9/8c - Primetime: What Would You Do? (Newsmagazine)
10/9c - 20/20 (Newsmagazine)
8/7c - Last Man Standing (Comedy; 2nd Season)
8:30/7:30c - MALIBU COUNTRY (New Comedy; Reba McEntire plays a wife who leaves her husband after he cheats on her)
9/8c - Shark Tank (Reality Competition; 4th Season)
The only thing that's getting remotely shaken up here is a likely change in November, and one that could easily be rescinded. We're going to start out with the same lineup offering one reality show and the social experiment newsmagazine. Then, What Would You Do is supposed to be pulled as network Paul Lee hopes against reason to get the ball rolling on bringing back TGIF by putting an hour of traditional-styled sitcoms. Aside from the Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing, which seemed to have done well enough last year, we also have Reba McEntire as a divorced single Mom on Malibu Country. At least, the idea is to bring back TGIF, and I will remain skeptical that they will even go through with this plan. I have fond memories of the block too, but times are different and we've gotta face reality.
8/7c - Saturday Night College Football
7/6c - America's Funniest Home Videos (Reality Competition)
8/7c - Once Upon a Time (Drama; 2nd Season)
9/8c - Revenge (Drama; 2nd Season)
10/9c - 666 PARK AVENUE (New Drama; A young couple take up running an apartment building in Manhattan only to find out its dark, supernatural secret)
And what better way to try and keep the ball rolling on one freshman hit by putting it on after the other? In the case of Revenge, which is more than a touch different from new lead-in Once Upon A Time, it may have been an even bigger risk for it to stay on Wednesdays than if it tried a different night altogether. And that leave the new show, 666 Park Avenue is a new drama brimming with potential like some of the other new entries. This supernatural thriller about a supposedly eee-vil NYC apartment has the atmosphere of a ritzy housing complex going for it, and makes for a potentially surprising entry outside the young adult comfort zone of TV/book series producer Alloy Entertainment, of Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and Pretty Little Liars.
Cougar Town has been picked up, but not by ABC. Instead, TBS will air a fourth season of the Courtney Cox sitcom next year, and has the option of a fifth. And the ABC shows that aren't coming back are Charlie's Angels, GCB, Man Up, Missing, Pan Am, The River, and Work It.