ABC. The home of many high rated shows in the past. From Alias, Desperate Housewives, Private Practice, Ugly Betty and Brothers and Sisters, to Boston Legal, LOST, According to Jim, Scrubs and Happy Endings; the American Broadcasting Company has had its fair share of shows that have been popular throughout the years, either during the run of the series itself, or even years after the show’s been on the air. ABC has always been able to deliver at least one good fall show (and maybe one good midseason show- each to be renewed) in a TV season- and when analysing the TV season of 2013/14, there have been some great decisions, some poor decisions and some decisions that hardly make any sense. Nevertheless, upfronts week is now upon us, and TV schedules for the upcoming 2014/15 TV season are now being finalised by each of the 5 networks. With ABC virtually making all their decisions prior to the writing of this article, the channel is set to go and make their minds about which show debuts on which night, and whether certain shows debut in the fall, held to midseason, or are even held back until the American summer, and therefore debut at an undisclosed TBA date.
Dancing with the Stars finally took the plunge and cut its Tuesday’s results show, leaving the space open for an all-new lineup of Agents of Shield, The Goldbergs, Trophy Wife and Lucky 7 to premiere on Tuesday, only two of which (S.H.I.E.L.D., The Goldbergs) have survived to see a second season. Critically acclaimed, Trophy Wife probably would’ve succeeded in a different timeslot (after Modern Family?) and hence may have been renewed. Despite receiving raving reviews all throughout its run, Trophy Wife sadly didn’t receive the viewers needed, and unfortunately was a one-and-done series in the end. Mondays were sadly not much better, with Castle regularly dipping below the 2.0 demo for the first time in 6 years, along with Dancing With the Stars, Castle’s lead in, also shedding some viewers of its own, primarily because of the success of The Voice/The Blacklist Monday combination. While both Dancing and Castle were renewed for this forthcoming season, maybe they need to switch up the combination. Since Castle (picture below) has always been its Monday 10pm slot since its inception in 2009, it would be bold and out-of-the-box thinking to move it- let’s say to Tuesday 10pm, thereby avoiding any new drama premiering in that spot and failing (the last ‘successful’ drama to be placed on Tuesdays at 10pm was Boston Legal, and to some extent, Private Practice and Body of Proof).
Comedies at the ABC during recent times have been somewhat of a mixed bag in terms of shows being renewed, shows being cancelled, and every facet of it all in between. Shows like Modern Family, The Middle and to some extent Last Man Standing and The Goldbergs thrived last season and it was a no brainer to give all these shows (Last Man Standing is currently in negotiations for a renewal at this point) a well-deserved renewal. Back in the Game, starring Psych alum Maggie Lawson, sadly was given the axe late 2013, and while the decision didn’t seem ideal (at that time, The Goldbergs was receiving less viewers than the baseball themed show) and brought to the fore thoughts of favouritism to The Goldbergs, the decision did lead to the return of Suburgatory (picture shown below), a show that I recently started to watch late 2013. While the ratings didn’t scream ‘renewal’ straight away, I was pretty confident that the Jane Levy led comedy would score a renewal, at least a 13 episode season (even with Emily Kapnek creating the newly ordered-to-series Selfie, a show about an individual who loves ‘likes’ and being liked rather than having friends of her own).
Alas, this was not the case. Since Selfie was picked up to series, Suburgatory Season 4 was the cost. A show that was my first comedy series that I truly enjoyed enough to be placed within my top 30 TV shows ever (Samantha Who, which I saw back in 2007, was alright, but Suburgatory was much better quality-wise), Suburgatory joins the ranks of shows like Almost Human, The Tomorrow People, Revolution and Growing Up Fisher that I will mourn for. Other comedies to also fall by the wayside- Super Fun Night, The Neighbours, Mixology- all of which I haven’t seen except for a few episodes of the latter- meant for the addition of Selfie, Galavant (a musical fairytale comedy), Fresh Off The Boat (a story set in the 90’s about a migrant family adjusting to life in America), Cristela (a family multi-camera comedy about a Mexican/American family and their ups and downs, including the ambition to become a lawyer by the titular character), Manhattan Love Story (a romantic comedy about the trials, dreams, loves and losses of a relationship from start til end) and Black-ish (a family comedy centred around an African American family- a la The Goldbergs but in present day).
Once Upon a Time In Wonderland, originally going to air between the two segments of 11 of Once Upon a Time Season 3, premiered in the infamous death slot of Thursday 8pm, leading to yet another failed drama series, and a cancellation of the show in April 2014. And while OUAT in Wonderland is a self-contained 13 part series, it does pose a problem for what to put in the 8pm Thursday slot for this coming TV season. The answer to this conundrum may be simple- since the ordering-to-series of the Shonda Rhimes’s murder/scandal/mystery/intrigue drama How to Get Away With Murder, it may just be a shifting of Grey’s to the 8pm slot, and premiering the new drama between that and Scandal.
The addition of the supernatural drama Forever (picture shown above), about a man who has lived for hundreds of years (remember FOX’s New Amsterdam?), can also bode well for Sunday’s lineup, with what I think will be the first year where OUAT doesn’t anchor the Sunday lineup of shows. With Forever fitting great thematically with Resurrection, it would make sense if OUAT is moved out of its slot to another day- maybe Tuesday before S.H.I.E.L.D.? Agent Carter, a drama that is a direct sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, was a show that was kept under wraps before social media informed us all that Agent Carter will be heading to our small screens this September. Let us hope that they don’t give the show its own time slot, and have it in the spot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. when it takes a break in the midseason.
American Crime (above) (a murder mystery drama), The Whispers (unseen alien force themes, kinda like ‘V’) Secrets and Lies (a who dunnit murder mystery based on the Australian show of the same name) and The Club (an upstairs/downstairs country club drama) all round out the remaining hour long pilots that have series commitments, and while I personally don’t have much faith in these aforementioned four, I will reserve judgement until official trailers are released next week.. Summer show The Astronaut’s Wives Club (a story about the wives of the astronauts during the Apollo missions), originally slated for a July 2014 premiere, has been shelved to midseason 2015, and with the buzz for this new show considerably less than others, the period drama may not be a frontrunner to be renewed for another season. Although a trailer could prove me wrong.
Rounding the total new dramas to 8 and the new comedies to 6, let’s take a look as to how I think they would be placed and spaced out in the fall and midseason schedules.
7: America’s Funniest Home Videos
8: Dancing With the Stars
10: Secrets and Lies (Fall)
10: The Club (Midseason)
8: Once Upon a Time
9: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Fall and Spring)
9: Agent Carter (Midseason)
10: The Astronaut’s Wives Club (Spring/Summer)
8: The Middle
8:30: Selfie (Fall/Midseason)
8:30: Galavant (Midseason/Spring)
9: Modern Family
9:30 :The Goldbergs
10: The Whispers
8: Grey’s Anatomy
9: How To Get Away With Murder
10: Scandal (Fall/Spring)
10: Rookie Blue (Midseason/Summer)
8: Last Man Standing
9: Shark Tank
8: Saturday Night Football
Manhattan Love Story
Fresh Off The Boat