Upfronts Week — ABC
It's Upfronts Week! Each May, as one broadcast season ends, the major networks — NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, and The CW — present their new fall schedules to the world. This includes changed time slots, new series, and what's been cancelled. Each day this week I'll be taking a look at the new schedules as they're released.
Best Scheduling Move: Comedy is something that has fallen away on networks. But one place where it's thrived is on ABC, which has created somewhat of a niche for itself with family comedies. Its Wednesday night block has been strong for a couple seasons, so wisely ABC is expanding to build a comedy block on Tuesdays for two hours, too. Mixed in are two new comedies, joining six existing comedies that have been shuffled a bit. It could end up helping to establish a stronger brand for ABC, especially since their schedules the previous few seasons have been such a mess on Tuesday nights.
Most Curious Scheduling Move: Thursday nights on ABC belong to Shonda Rhimes. She had four shows on ABC last season, and with the addition of another, now have five in the network stable. Yet, curiously, ABC is only airing two on Thursday nights in the fall, sandwiched around a new series from someone else. Why? Obviously they like "Notorious," and it could fit with the night's brand, but why not keep the Shondaland block together? "Scandal" is taking the fall off to accommodate Kerry Washington, but "The Catch" or the new "Still Star-Crossed." It seems odd to break up the standard TGIT block.
Most Promising New Show for Fall: ABC ordered five new series for the fall. That's the most of any network so far, and on the whole I liked the concepts of what I'm seeing. The network was seeking some new life and a new spark, and this could provide that. But since I'm narrowing it down, I'm going with "Designated Survivor." The set up is simple — a cabinet member (Kiefer Sutherland) left behind suddenly gets elevated to the Presidency. Of course, this means a tragedy occurred, because that's how someone like the Secretary of the Interior becomes President. But I like the concept, and I think it could have some promise. It's been a decade since "The West Wing" went off the air, but we still love political dramas. "House of Cards" soars for Netflix, "VEEP" is the best comedy on HBO, and "Madame Secretary" has been a modest hit for CBS on Sunday nights. I see promise in this series, and think it's a good fit on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
Least Promising New Show for Fall: Again, I think all five of these could be OK, and certainly all feel like they are "on brand" for ABC. That being said, I haven't been a fan of the ABC style of comedy. They have been ratings successes, but I don't watch any of them on a regular basis. "American Housewife" certainly feels like another show I'll never watch. It's already undergone a name change — formerly "Second Fattest Housewife in Westport" — and the entire premise elicits a shoulder shrug. Again, it is probably on brand for ABC and might work in this Tuesday night comedy block, but it's the least interesting of the five for me.
8-10 p.m. — Dancing With The Stars
10 p.m. — Conviction (NEW)
8 p.m. — The Middle
8:30 p.m. — American Housewife (NEW)
9 p.m. — Fresh off the Boat
9:30 p.m. — The Real O'Neals
10 p.m. — Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
8 p.m. — The Goldbergs
8:30 p.m. — Speechless (NEW)
9 p.m. — Modern Family
9:30 p.m. — Black-ish
10 p.m. — Designated Survivor (NEW)
8 p.m. — Grey's Anatomy
9 p.m. — Notorious (NEW)
10 p.m. — How To Get Away With Murder
8 p.m. — Last Man Standing
8:30 p.m. — Dr. Ken
9 p.m. — Shark Tank
10 p.m. — 20/20
7 p.m. — America's Funniest Home Videos
8 p.m. — Once Upon A Time
9 p.m. — Secrets and Lies
10 p.m. — Quantico