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ABC in Fall 2016: Five New Series; Changes on Five Nights of the Week

ABC Will Rise to 10 Comedies on the Schedule

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ABC has announced five new series for this fall: dramas “Conviction,” “Designated Survivor” and “Notorious;” and comedies “American Housewife” and “Speechless.” Five established series (“The Middle,” ”Fresh Off the Boat,” “The Real O’Neals,” “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” and “The Goldbergs”) are moving to new time periods. Sophomore drama “Secrets and Lies” is returning after a one season absence. And the changes will impact five nights of the week (excluding Friday and Saturday, which will continue to house College Football in fourth quarter).

Already the platform to more comedies than any of its competitors, ABC will expand from 8 to 10 half-hours with Tuesday two-hour sitcom block (“The Middle,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “The Real O’Neals” and newbie “American Housewife”) into “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, now at 10 p.m. Losing “The Middle” on Wednesday is an easy fix: “The Goldbergs” will shift to 8 p.m. And it leads into new comedy “Speechless” at 8:30 p.m. New drama “Designated Survivor” with Kiefer Sutherland closes Wednesday at 10 p.m.

With Kerry Washington pregnant, “Scandal” will be held back until midseason and replaced with new drama “Notorious” in the Thursday 9 p.m. hour. Sophomore crime solver “Secrets and Lies” returns to Sunday (at 9 p.m.) after a one year-absence, and will be replaced in midseason by new drama “Time After Time.”

Also waiting in the wings at ABC for midseason are new comedies “Downward Dog” and “Imaginary Mary,” new Shonda Rimes drama “Still Star-Crossed” and returning “American Crime” and “The Catch” (also from Shonda Rhimes). Canceled on the alphabet net are dramas “Castle,” “Nashville,” “Marvel’s Agent Carter” and “The Family,” and musical farce “Galavant.”

What follows is ABC’s primetime lineup for fall 2016 (with new shows in bold caps), followed by the new series descriptions:

Monday
8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars” (two hours)
10:00 p.m. “CONVICTION”

Tuesday
8:00 p.m. “The Middle” (new day)
8:30 p.m. “AMERICAN HOUSEWIVE”
9:00 p.m. “Fresh Off the Boat” (new time)
9:30 p.m. “ The Real O’Neals” (new time)
10:00 p.m. “”Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” (new time)

Wednesday
8:00 p.m. “The Goldbergs” (new time)
8:30 p.m. “SPEECHLESS”
9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”
9:30 p.m. “black-ish”
10:00 p.m. “DESIGNATED SURVIVOR”

Thursday
8:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
9:00 p.m. “NOTORIOUS”
10:00 p.m. “How To Get Away With Murder”

Friday
8:00 p.m. “Last Man Standing”
8:30 p.m. “Dr. Ken”
9:00 p.m. “Shark Tank”
10:00 p.m. “20/20”

Saturday
8:00 p.m. College Football / NBA

Sunday
7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m. “Once Upon a Time”
9:00 p.m. “Secrets and Lies” (return) / “TIME AFTER TIME” (midseason)
10:00 p.m. “Quantico”

New Program Descriptions

DRAMA

“Conviction”
Studio: The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios
Team: Mark Gordon, Liz Friedman (“Elementary,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”), Liz Friedlander (“The Following”)
Logline: Lawyer and former First Daughter Hayes Morrison is about to accept a job offered from her sexy nemesis, NY District Attorney Wayne Wallis, to avoid jail time for cocaine possession and avoid hurting her mother’s Senate campaign. Working with his team at the new Conviction Integrity Unit will let her use her brilliant mind to turn over cases where there is credible suspicion of wrongful conviction, and give her a chance to turn things around with her high-powered political family.
Cast: Hayley Atwell, Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore, Merrin Dungey, Emily Kinney, Manny Montana and Daniel DiTomasso

“Designated Survivor”
Studio: The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios
Team: Mark Gordon, David Guggenheim, Simon Kinberg, Nick Pepper, Suzan Bymel and Kiefer Sutherland
Logline: Kiefer Sutherland (“24”) returns to primetime in a conspiracy thriller as Tom Kirkman, a lower cabinet member who unexpectedly becomes president after a devastating attack on Washington. He will struggle to prevent the country and his own family from falling into chaos, as he is thrust into one of the most difficult presidencies in history.
Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Maggie Q, Kal Penn, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, Emily Rhodes, LaMonica Garrett and Tanner Buchanan


“Notorious”

Studio: Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios
Team: Josh Berman (“The Blacklist”), Allie Hagan (“Suri’s Burn Book”), Michael Engler, Kenny Meiselas, Brian Gersh, Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry
Logline: Inspired by the true-life stories of famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and cable news producer Wendy Walker, who serve as executive producers, “Notorious” is a provocative look at the unique, sexy, and dangerous interplay of criminal law and the media.
Cast: Piper Perabo, Daniel Sunjata, Sepideh Moafi, Kate Jennings Grant, Ryan Guzman, Kevin Zegers, J. August Richards and Aimee Teegarden.

“Still Star-Crossed” (midseason)
Studio: Shondaland
Team: Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Michael Goldstein, Michael Offer
Logline: Based on the book by Melinda Taub, “Still Star-Crossed” is a period drama which picks up where the famous story of Romeo and Juliet ends, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.
Cast: Wade Briggs, Anthony Head, Zuleikha Robinson, Lashana Lynch, Ebonee Noel, Sterling Sulieman, Medalion Rahimi, Grant Bowler, Susan Wooldrigde, Torrance Coombs and Dan Hildebrand.


“Time After Time”
(midseason)
Studio: Outerbanks Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television
Team: Kevin Williamson, Marcos Siega
Logline: Based on the novel and movie of the same name, “Time After Time” delivers a cat and mouse adventure through time when famed science fiction writer H.G. Wells is transported to modern day Manhattan in pursuit of Jack the Ripper. Once H.G. arrives in New York City, he finds a world he never thought possible and a young woman who captivates him.
Cast: Freddie Stroma, Josh Bowman, Genesis Rodriguez, Regina Taylor

COMEDY

“American Housewife”`
Studio: Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios
Team: Aaron Kaplan, Rick Weiner, Kenny Schwartz, Ruben Fleisher
Logline: Katie Otto is a confident, unapologetic, plump wife and mother of three who raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring. She lets us in on her deepest, most unfiltered thoughts through voiceover as the she lives her life as the second fattest housewife in Westport.
Cast: Katy Mixon (“Mike & Molly”), Diedrich Bader, Johnny Sequoyah, Daniel DiMaggio, Julia Butters, Carly Hughes and Ali Wong.

“Downward Dog”
(midseason)
Studio: Legendary Television and ABC Studios
Team: Samm Hodges, Michael Killen, Jimmy Miller, Sam Hensen
Logline: Based on the web series, “Downward Dog” is about a struggling millennial, Nan, from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. One session at obedience school already makes them realize that even at their worst, they may be the best thing for each other.
Cast: Allison Tolman, Lucas Neff, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Barry Rothbart and Mo Collins.


“Imaginary Mary”
(midseason)
Studio: Sony Pictures Television, Happy Madison and ABC Studios.
Team: Adam F. Goldberg, David Guarascio, Doug Robinson
Logline: Alice is a fiercely independent career woman whose life is turned upside-down when she meets the love of her life – a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as a child suddenly reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.
Cast: Jenna Elfman, Stephen Schneider, Rachel Dratch, Nicholas Coombe, Matreya Scarrwener and Erica Trembay.


“Speechless”

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Television and ABC Studios
Team: Scott Silveri, Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar
Logline: Maya DiMeo is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her husband Jimmy, her kids Ray, Dylan, and JJ, her eldest son with special needs. As Maya fights injustices both real and imagined, the family works to make a new home for themselves, and searches for just the right person to give JJ his “voice.”
Cast: Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie, Mason Cook, Micah Fowler, Kyla Kennedy and Cedric Yarbrough

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of weekly column “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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  1. Bravo ABC Bravo!

    Finally some smart moves by a network. Yeah Sundays are not where they want them but given how pathetic network tv demos are on Sunday in general, they’ll be competitive.

    Tuesdays should see some nice gains. I like the look of their new dramas and comedies.

  2. Other than shows that have been cancelled and then came back, I really can’t think of any network shows that have skipped a season and come back like Secrets and Lies. Has the second season filmed already, was supposed to air this season and just got pushed back to next season?

  3. Looks like another low-rated year for ABC some of the moves they made should’ve been made 2-3 years ago. Not impressed don’t see where they get better against CBS and NBC right now. They look good enough to beat FOX again but that’s about it.

    Conviction looks like the only good pilot they have the rest they have look terrible, this literally might be the worst slate of new comedies I’ve ever seen in my life for one network. Thank God they still have Dancing with the Stars and Grey’s Anatomy right?

    I do believe Conviction is in the right slot and I think Designated Survivor would’ve done better there than on Wednesdays against Chicago PD who owns the slot right now or whatever CBS schedules there. Notorious might do good in the TGIT block but not real sure right now with football and Chicago Med there. I’m real glad they didn’t start the year off with The Catch there. Looking forward to The Blacklist against Murder as well as Blacklist will finally have a good lead-in on Thursday.

    Comedy wise they were already declining badly on Wednesdays and now without The Middle this block is going to tumble and I don’t think The Middle will do as well on Tuesdays so that block is DOA as The Middle has a bunch of losers around it.

    Grade: 4/10 on my Bret Hart shit.

    • FYI: ABC lost to FOX this year, oh and Chicago PD can’t possibly own anything when its barely .2 above its competition….that isn’t “owning” that is called barely winning.

  4. The most aggressive schedule so far. Their Tuesday two hour comedy block should have no problem at all creaming FOX’s entire night.

    I’m curious at how well/not well Notorious will do. Chicago Med has an opening here against that.

    Overall, much better than I figured. They still need to think down the road about Once Upon a Time. The air is let out of that show ratings wise.

  5. I’m somewhat impressed, these are decent moves

    Conviction gets a good lead-in
    American Wife gets the Middle as a lead-in
    Speechless/Designated Survivor on a decent night with Modern Family support
    Notorious gets a solid lead-in with Greys Anatomy

    Not bad, I even like the Middle moving to anchor Tuesdays (though this should of happened last season IMO, may be to little to late. AOS at 10pm isn’t good I think but no one watches anyway. Sundays and Fridays look weak but the nights are weak anyways.

    Notorious sounds like it will mess well with the other Thursday night shows.

    I will check out Speechless, American Wife & Designated Survivor….the rest aren’t my taste…I will say that Time after Time was a great movie so I’m looking forward to this show more than the others.

    Grade B

    • ABC gets a B+ in my book. Had the network addressed the Sunday 8 p.m. hour and not pretended Once Upon a Time is fine it would have been an A-.

  6. ABC finally got the message: after three years of failure with first-year shows in the 10:00 Tuesday hour, it’s time to move a veteran series there…even if it’s one that is, as TV Grim Reaper says, “running out the syndication clock.”

  7. Watching the Conviction trailer I was like, Wow, this looks like a movie! Then I realized it is. That is not the Conviction ABC is looking for.