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ABC Orders Six New Series

The Alphabet Net Officially Unveils its Programming Plans for 2017-18 Next Tuesday

ABC has confirmed at least six new series for 2017-18. They are Shondaland legal drama “For the People,” action drama “The Crossing,” Freddie Highmore’s medical themed “The Good Doctor,” the lighthearted hour-long series “The Gospel of Kevin,” comedy “The Mayor,” and sitcom “Start Up,” inspired by the podcast of the same name, from Zach Braff. Here are the descriptions:

“THE CROSSING”

In the idyllic American fishing town of Port Canaan, with its coffee shops, bakeries and bookstores, Sheriff Jude Miller’s days are typically filled with yoga and low-intensity police work. But the peace and quiet of his city is upended when the inexplicable happens: hundreds of bodies wash up on a beach on the outskirts of town. Scores are dead… but 47 have survived. At the site of the event he’s met by Department of Homeland Security Agent, Emma Ren, and they assess the situation. But the facts don’t add up. No plane crashes or nautical distress signals have been reported and, even stranger, the survivors are all asking for asylum. They say they are Americans, fleeing a war… a war that they claim won’t happen for another 150 years. Survivors like married couple Rebecca and Caleb explain that they are escaping a genetically superior population of humans who have ascended to power in the future and embarked on a campaign to kill off all members of the lower classes. They have been oppressed, hunted; they have come here hoping for a better life. Conspiracy theories begin to take root; no one knows if these people are actually refugees, invaders, or actors in a complicated hoax. Emma, though skeptical, reports back to her superiors at Homeland Security.

Until all the facts can be ascertained, and a plan of action realized, it is deemed necessary for the survivors to be held under strict supervision in a secret location. As the case grows in importance Jude finds himself marginalized by Emma and the Feds. But when he is confronted by Rae – a survivor of the crossing who has found herself separated from the others – she appears to have physical and mental capabilities that go far beyond the norm. She is a member of this advanced master race, of which the survivors have spoken. But Rae, he learns, is not some evil agent, sent to hunt the refugees. But just a mother, seeking her daughter, from whom she has been separated… and with whom she has come, like the others, seeking a better life. And in order to find her daughter, she is going to need Jude’s help. As the Feds continue to monitor the survivors, it becomes clear that this most unusual group of visitors will change and disrupt the lives of the people in this peaceful town… and that their presence here could ultimately put the whole world in grave danger.


“FOR THE PEOPLE”

A new legal drama from Shondaland set in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, aka “The Mother Court” – the most prestigious, high-profile trial court in America. Here, six new lawyers are about to face off and make history in its hallowed courtrooms. It’s Assistant Federal Public Defender Sandra’s first day as a lawyer and New Yorker. She’s sensible and resourceful but burdened by the decision to leave a Supreme Court clerkship – the story of which has followed her to this new job, and which her perhaps too big-hearted fellow defender Jay won’t let her forget. Thankfully Sandra’s best friend and roommate Allison has her back. Also an Assistant Federal Public Defender, Alison is wealthy, generous, and unfortunately in a relationship with– Seth, first-time Assistant U.S. Attorney. Being adversaries with his girlfriend and reluctant roommates with her best friend strains his low-key, Midwestern nature. Not making things any easier is his cocky, case-stealing colleague Leonard, while their fellow AUSA Kate just wants to stay out of the drama, do her job, and get the win. These colleagues, friends, and lovers will have to prove their worth to impress their veteran bosses, the smartest judges in the system, and a take-no-prisoners Court Clerk as they do battle in lower Manhattan.

THE GOOD DOCTOR

San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital is about to employ a new surgeon, 25 year-old Shaun Murphy; a young man unlike any doctor they’ve ever hired before, which is causing problems for the Board of Directors. Shaun is autistic. He also has savant syndrome, which means that while he has real and fundamental difficulties communicating and connecting, he is also a genius with almost perfect recall.

Growing up wasn’t easy–he was bullied by kids as well as his own father. But when he was 14 years-old, his genius attracted the attention of Dr. Ira Glassman who mentored him and now wants to hire him. Although he’s President of the hospital, Glassman still needs to convince key players that Shaun is the right person for the job. There’s Allegra Alexis, who controls the Board’s purse strings; Jessica Preston, whose grandfather started the hospital; and Horace Andrews, Head of Surgery who considers Shaun too big a risk for his department to take on. When Shaun uses his encyclopedic medical knowledge to save a young boy’s life, his detractors cannot deny he has the knowledge to be a great surgeon. But while his knowledge saved a life today, his lack of judgment could cost a life tomorrow. A surgeon must inspire confidence in patients and in their fellow doctors.

Can Shaun do that? Can he successfully work with the tough, brilliant surgeon Dr. Neil Melendez, or form an effective team with the medical residents like Elle Mclean, Jared Unger and Claire Brown. From David Shore (House) and Lost and Hawaii Five-O star Daniel Dae Kim, this is based on a South Korean format.

“THE GOSPEL OF KEVIN”

Kevin Flynn (Jason Ritter) is about to look at life a lot differently… As a big shot investor from New York City, Kevin’s life is on a downward spiral after he lost one of his clients a bunch of money. That’s when he called his twin sister, Amy Flores, which brings him to her house outside of Austin, Texas. Amy, a newly widowed mother, and her 14-year-old-daughter Reese, are going through a difficult time too. Reese is coping with the loss of her father by embracing her intense teenage attitude and having her estranged Uncle Kevin around is only making matters worse. That night, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has summoned Amy to their headquarters. Upon her arrival, Amy is briefed about dozens of meteor-like impact craters detected all over the globe. What’s strange is that none of these craters show evidence of a typical meteor strike. NORAD alerts Amy they are concerned this could be the result of a military attack, or worse yet, testing of a new dominant weapon. That same night, Kevin and Reese awaken to a meteor crashing in a nearby field. Inexplicably drawn to the meteor, Kevin touches it and is knocked out by the explosion it emits. But before he blacks out, he hears the words: Transform Yourself.

When he awakes, Kevin realizes that the meteor he has touched has transformed into Yvette, an otherworldly being who claims she is a Messenger from God. She explains that thirty-five righteous souls, who protect the world just by existing, have disappeared; Kevin must find and anoint thirty-five more righteous souls while she finds out what went wrong. This information alarms Kevin who identifies as a nonbeliever. While he struggles to figure out whether he’s legitimately going crazy, Yvette begins his spiritual training, causing Kevin to literally see the world through new eyes. But Yvette warns him he will have to keep his secret to himself. Meanwhile, Amy’s team at NORAD is investigating his suspicious behavior, and whoever has altered the original righteous beings from losing their faith could be plotting to stop Kevin from fulfilling his sacred mission to save the world. A light drama from Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters (Agent Carter, Resurrection, Reaper).

“THE MAYOR”

Young rapper Courtney Rose (Brandon Micheal Hall) needs his big break. For years, he’s toiled away in a small inner-city apartment, making music in his junk-filled bedroom closet. Courtney shares his home with the perfect roommate: his best friend, biggest fan, and mother, Dina Rose, a postal carrier who gets the neighborhood gossip by reading everybody’s mail. Tired of waiting for opportunity, Courtney cooks up the publicity stunt of the century: running for mayor of his hometown, Fort Grey, California, to generate buzz for his music career.

Unfortunately for Courtney, his master plan goes wildly awry, ending in the most terrifying of outcomes: an election victory. With his theatrical debate performance, penchant for honesty, and innate sense of empathy, the voters see someone who could shake up the dismal conditions of a city they all love. Or maybe they just cast a protest vote for the most outlandish candidate in the race. Either way, Courtney decides to postpone his rap ambitions and fulfill his accidental call of duty. But this charismatic, reluctant warrior won’t be going into battle alone. He’ll be leaning on the brilliant, ruthless, and tactical Valentina Barella (Lea Michele), who remembers Courtney as the class clown who cheated off her during high school pre-calc. His kitchen cabinet also boasts two unconventional political aides: his questionably qualified buddies, Jermaine, the smooth operator, and T.K., the sensitive sweetheart.

In his first big initiative, Courtney throws together a hastily organized cleanup party, which turns out to be a lot harder than this political newbie anticipated. If Courtney wants to live up to the hopes of his friends and neighbors and the high expectations of his mom, he’ll have to overcome his hubris and check his swagger at the door, without changing into someone the voters – and Courtney himself -don’t recognize. From Executive Producers Jeremy Bronson (Speechless, The Mindy Project, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), Grammy and Tony winner Daveed Diggs (Broadway’s Hamilton), and Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings). Directed by James Griffiths (black-ish).

“START UP”
Alex Schuman (Zach Braff) is a brilliant radio journalist, husband, and father of two who is about to plunge into the great unknown. He’s been working on the same radio show for 16 years and is tired of having his most original pitches rejected for fluff pieces. So he decides to put everything on the line, quit, and start a podcast company of his own to tell the stories that he believes in. His wife, Noush, is not thrilled about giving up his income, but loves Alex and so decides to support his leap, even though she still she has some concerns. She knows he is a great storyteller, but questions his ability to raise money and manage a small business. For this, he assembles a dream team to round out his skills: radio producer, Deirdre Riordan, who’s only a little bit in love with him; and his best friend from high school, fast-talking salesman Eddie Ramirez, a slick numbers guru with a business degree. The team quickly rents some office space that they share with other unlikely entrepreneurs trying to make big things happen, too. After Alex makes some disastrous pitches for funding, it’s his kids, 11 year-old budding magician Ben and 5 yearold Soraya, who give him the focus and confidence to fight for his dream. Based on the podcast START UP, Zach Braff stars, directs and executive produces with Matt Tarses (Scrubs) and Davis Entertainment (Dr. Ken, Blacklist).

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. The Good Doctor sounds like dramatic Doogie Howser. Pass.

    For the People sounds like the typical Shonda show. Hopefully it airs on Thursdays too.

    The Crossing feels like all sci fi shows that ABC has. May start hot but fizzle quick. Gut tells me this goes Sundays and simply fills until Idol.

    The comedies sound okay. The Mayor and Blackish should air together. Put Start Up behind Modern Family.

    The Gospel of Kevin feels like they’re take on This is Us. That said, Jason Ritter is a good actor and may be able to pull this off. Hopefully this airs after DWTS.

  2. These all sound like utter trash, they passed on two ratings contenders in Household Name and the Reba drama although I’m actually glad they passed on Household Name so NBC can get it. This network is lame now they cancelled LMS so hopefully FOX picks that up and this network is going to continue to go down down because most of these shows will be ratings losers.

    • Last Man Standing’s popularity is the real deal. ABC messed up dropping that one, especially since they kept much lower rated stuff in OUAT, Agents of Shield, and (probably) Quantico.

      • Yeah they really did mess up choosing low-rated series over this one and I think those series might be more expensive than LMS production wise. LMS had some huge reaction around the net so hopefully FOX can continue it on.

    • I was surprise that LMS got cancelled thought that was for sure coming back not that I have ever watched it. ‘

      • Me too I had it penciled into the Friday night plans for ABC and I also thought Ken might comeback with it. It was a shocking but bad decision as well.