A Shonda Rhimes 8-11 PM Thursday lineup highlights ABC’s fall schedule, with Rhimes’ red-hot Scandal bracing for a 9 PM showdown with another sizzling drama that is moving to Thursday next season, NBC’s The Blacklist. Here is ABC’s fall schedule, which ABC president Paul Lee says “reflects a judicious mix of boldness and stability,” followed by analysis and new series descriptions:
ABC FALL 2014-2015 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8 PM Dancing with the Stars
10 PM Castle
8 PM SELFIE
8:30 PM MANHATTAN LOVE STORY
9 PM Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10 PM FOREVER
8 PM The Middle
8:30 PM The Goldbergs
9:00 PM Modern Family
9:30 PM BLACK-ISH
10:00 PM Nashville
8 PM Grey’s Anatomy
9 PM Scandal
10 PM HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER/SECRETS & LIES
8 PM Last Man Standing
8:30 PM CRISTELA
9 PM Shark Tank
10 PM 20/20
8 PM Saturday Night Football
7 PM America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM Once Upon a Time
9 PM Resurrection/AMERICAN CRIME
10 PM Revenge
ABC is showing a lot of faith in new comedy Black-ish, which lost showrunner Larry Wilmore a day after the project was picked up to series. The network has given Kenya Barris’ family comedy starring Anthony Anderson, with Laurence Fishburne recurring and executive producing, the plum post-Modern Family slot. In landing a series pickup, Black-ish edged another strong Black family comedy ABC pilot, Kevin Hart’s Keep It Together. Besides Black-ish being owned by ABC, possibly a key factor was the fact that Black-ish is single-camera (Keep It Together is multi), making it a better fit for the network’s Wednesday comedy lineup. No surprise at 8:30 PM. The Goldbergs, which had been promised the slot after suffering in the Tuesday 9 PM slot last season, got it and is expected to provide a smoother flow from The Middle to Modern Family.
Speaking of flow, ABC also is making an improvement in that department on Tuesday where it had dramas at 8 PM (Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and 10 PM (variety of short-lived ones) bridged by two comedies, The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife. Now Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is forming a 9-11 PM drama block with new supernatural procedural Forever. (ABC tested S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 9 PM hour in March and was happy with the results.) This way, ABC will no longer have comedies facing NBC and Fox’s Tuesday 9-10 PM comedy blocks. However, ABC is asking a lot of new comedies Selfie and Manhattan Love Story, which are tasked with opening the night at 8 PM with no lead-in protection against NBC’s The Voice.
As expected, new Marvel drama, Agent Carter, described by Lee as a “S.H.I.E.L.D. origin story,” will bridge the fall and winter runs of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., as the network is expanding its strategy for splitting the seasons of drama series introduced at last year’s upfront.
Dan Fogelman’s new fairytale musical comedy Galavant will link the fall finale and winter premiere of Sunday fairytale drama Once Upon A Time, with its eight half-hour episodes airing back-to-back in the 8 PM hour for four weeks. ABC originally had the same plan for Once spinoff Wonderland last year before slating it concurrently with the mothership series in the difficult for ABC Thursday 8 PM slot.
That slot, which has seen the demise of a slew of drama series over the past few years, has been assigned to ABC’s trusted veteran Grey’s Anatomy, sliding from its long-time 9 PM home. It will be replaced by Scandal, which is taking over the 9 PM tentpole position and will be used as a launch pad for Rhimes’ latest drama series, How To Get Away With Murder, penned by Peter Nowalk. Grey’s and Scandal again are eyed for split seasons while How to Get Away With Murder is targeted for a 15-16-episode run for creative and talent reasons. That means that it is quite possible for a bridge show at 9 PM to take the brunt of The Blacklist’s post-Super Bowl bow before Scandal comes back. (ABC is not announcing what shows would be used to supplement the Thursday lineup though the 10-episode mystery drama Secrets & Lies seems like a viable contender.) UPDATE: At ABC’s upfront presentation, Lee confirmed that Secrets & Lies will succeed How To Get Away with Murder at 10 PM.
Young Latina comedienne Cristela Alonzo will join veteran standup Tim Allen on Friday, with their multi-camera comedies Last Man Standing and Cristela running from 8-9 PM. On Sunday, Resurrection, whose order is for 15-16 episodes, will wrap early and will be followed by John Ridley’s dark new drama American Crime, tailored for a limited run. Here are descriptions for ABC’s new series, including new dramas Secrets & Lies and Whispers and new comedy Fresh Off The Boat, which are being held for midseason. Kept on the bench from ABC’s returning lineup is reality series The Taste.
NEW FALL AND MIDSEASON SERIES:
AMERICAN CRIME – All over the news are reports about a young couple in Modesto, California, who were attacked in their home. Matt Skokie, a war vet, was killed, and his wife, Lily, is unconscious, barely hanging on. Both sets of parents are at her bedside hoping for a miracle while four suspects are about to be arrested. The case sends shock waves into the community stirring up tensions across racial lines in this gritty drama—from the point of view of the victims. “American Crime” stars Felicity Huffman as Barb, Timothy Hutton as Russ, W. Earl Brown as Tom, Richard Cabral as Hector Tonz, Caitlin Gerard as Aubry, Benito Martinez as Alonzo Gutierrez, Penelope Ann Miller as Eve, Elvis Nolasco as Carter and Johnny Ortiz as Tony Gutierrez. “American Crime” was written, directed and produced by John Ridley (“12 Years A Slave”). Executive producers are John Ridley and Michael J. McDonald. “American Crime” is produced by ABC Studios.
FOREVER – Doctor Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), New York City’s star medical examiner, has a secret. He doesn’t just study the dead to solve criminal cases, he does it to solve the mystery that has eluded him for 200 years—the answer to his own inexplicable immortality. This long life has given Henry remarkable observation skills which impresses his new partner, Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza). Each week, a new case and their budding friendship will reveal layers of Henry’s long and colorful past. Only his best friend and confidant, Abe (Judd Hirsch) knows Henry’s secret. “Forever” stars Ioan Gruffudd as Henry, Alana De La Garza as Det. Jo Martinez, Barbara Eve Harris as Lt. Marcia Roark, Donnie Keshawarz as Detective Hanson, Joel David Moore as Lucas, and Judd Hirsch as Abe. “Forever” was written and executive-produced by Matt Miller (“Chuck,” “Las Vegas”). Dan Lin (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Gangster Squad”) and Jennifer Gwartz (“Veronica Mars,” “Cupid,” “Party Down”) are executive producers. “Forever” was directed by Brad Anderson and is produced by Warner Bros. Television.
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER – The brilliant, charismatic and seductive Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) gets entangled with four law students from her class, “How to Get Away with Murder.” Little do they know that they will have to apply what they learned to real life, in this masterful, sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller from Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, executive producers of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.” “How to Get Away with Murder” stars Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating, Billy Brown as Nate, Alfred Enoch as Wes, Jack Falahee as Conner, Katie Findlay as Rebecca, Aja Naomi King as Michaela, Matt McGorry as Asher, Karla Souza as Laurel, Charlie Weber as Frank and Liza Weil as Bonnie. Written by executive producer Peter Nowalk, “How to Get Away with Murder” is executive-produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, directed by Michael Offer, and produced by ABC Studios.
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER – “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” starring “Captain America’s” Hayley Atwell, follows the story of Peggy Carter. It’s 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life – Steve Rogers. Inspired by the feature films “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” along with the short “Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter.” Starring Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, “Marvel’s Agent Carter” was written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Executive producers are Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Chris Dingess, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Joe Quesada, Stan Lee and Jeph Loeb. “Marvel’s Agent Carter” is produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television.
SECRETS AND LIES – Ben Garner (Ryan Phillippe) is about to go from Good Samaritan to murder suspect, after he discovers the body of his neighbor’s young son in the woods. As Detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) digs for the truth, the secrets and lies of this town come to the surface and no one is above suspicion. Ben’s family’s life will be turned upside down as he sets out on a complicated journey to prove his innocence in this thriller mystery from Barbie Kligman (“Private Practice”) based on the original Australian series of the same name. “Secrets and Lies” stars Ryan Phillippe as Ben, KaDee Strickland as Christy, Natalie Martinez as Jess, Clifton Collins, Jr. as Dave, Indiana Evans as Natalie, Belle Shouse as Abby and Juliette Lewis as Detective Cornell. “Secrets and Lies” was written by Barbie Kligman. Executive producers are Barbie Kligman, Aaron Kaplan, Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield. “Secrets and Lies” was directed by Charles McDougall, executive-produced by Kapital Entertainment with Hoodlum Entertainment and produced by ABC Studios.
THE WHISPERS – Aliens have invaded Earth by using our most unlikely resource to achieve world domination—our children. As the kids unwittingly help these unseen enemies, the clock counts down in this suspenseful race to save humanity. “The Whispers” stars Lily Rabe as Claire Bennigan, Barry Sloane as Wes Lawrence, Milo Ventimiglia as John Doe/Drew Bennigan, Derek Webster as Jessup Rollins, Brianna Brown as Lena Lawrence, Catalina Denis as Dr. Maria Benavidez, Kylie Rogers as Minx Lawrence and Kyle Harrison Breitkopf as Henry. “The Whispers” was written and co-executive-produced by Soo Hugh, with Amblin TV co-producing. Executive producers are Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Dawn Olmstead. “The Whispers” was directed by Mark Romanek and produced by ABC Studios.
BLACK-ISH – Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids, and a colonial home in the ‘burbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family? With a little help from his dad (Laurence Fishburne), Dre sets out to establish a sense of cultural identity for his family that honors their past while embracing the future. “Black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson as Dre, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow, Yara Shahidi as Zoey, Marcus Scribner as Andre Jr., Miles Brown as Jack, Marsai Martin as Diane and Laurence Fishburne as Pops. “Black-ish” was written by Kenya Barris, who also serves as executive producer. Executive producers are Larry Wilmore, Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland, Tom Russo, Brian Dobbins, Peter Principato, Paul Young and James Griffiths, who directed the pilot. “Black-ish” is produced by ABC Studios.
CRISTELA – In her sixth year of law school, Cristela (Cristela Alonzo) is finally on the brink of landing her first big (unpaid) internship at a prestigious law firm. The only problem is that her pursuit of success is more ambitious than her traditional Mexican-American family thinks is appropriate. She’s stuck straddling the old culture she’s trying to modernize at home with her working-class family and the modern world she’s trying to embrace in her professional career. Breakout comedian Cristela Alonzo stars in this hilarious comedy about laughing your way down the path to the new American dream. “Cristela” stars Cristela Alonzo as Cristela, Carlos Ponce as Felix, Terri Hoyos as Natalia, Andrew Leeds as Josh and Sam McMurray as Trent. “Cristela” was written by Cristela Alonzo and Kevin Hench. Executive producers are Kevin Hench, Marty Adelstein, Becky Clements and Shawn Levy. “Cristela” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
FRESH OFF THE BOAT – It’s the 90s and 11 year old, hip-hop loving Eddie (Hudson Yang) just moved to suburban Orlando from DC’s Chinatown with his parents (Randall Park and Constance Wu). It’s culture shock for his immigrant family in this comedy about pursuing the American Dream. “Fresh Off the Boat” is based on Chef Eddie Huang’s memoir Fresh Off the Boat. “Fresh Off the Boat” stars Randall Park as Louis, Constance Wu as Jessica, Hudson Yang as Eddie, Forrest Wheeler as Emery and Ian Chen as Evan. “Fresh Off the Boat” was written by Nahnatchka Khan, who also serves as executive producer. Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar are executive producers, and Eddie Huang is producer. The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
GALAVANT – Screenwriter/executive producer Dan Fogelman (“Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Tangled,” “Cars”) teams up with Broadway and Hollywood award-winning musical team—composer Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and lyricist Glenn Slater (“The Little Mermaid,” “Tangled”)—for a musical comedy fairytale of epic proportions. Once upon a time, the dashing hero, Galavant (Joshua Sasse), lost the love of his life, Madalena (Mallory Jansen), to the evil King Richard (Timothy Omundson). Now, our fallen hero is ready to take revenge and restore his “happily ever after.” But it won’t be without a few twists and turns along the way. “Galavant” stars Joshua Sasse as Galavant, Timothy Omundson as King Richard, Vinnie Jones as Gareth, Mallory Jansen as Madalena, Karen David as Isabella and Luke Youngblood as Sid. “Galavant” was written by Dan Fogelman, who also serves as executive producer. Executive producers are Alan Menken, Glenn Slater and Chris Koch. “Galavant” was directed by Chris Koch. Abbey C Studios Ltd. produces “Galavant” for ABC Studios.
MANHATTAN LOVE STORY – Have you ever wondered what your date was thinking? This romantic comedy exposes the differences between men and women through the unfiltered thoughts, and often contradictory actions, of a new couple who have just begun dating. “Manhattan Love Story” stars Analeigh Tipton as Dana, Jake McDorman as Peter, Nicolas Wright as David, Jade Catta-Preta as Amy, Chloe Wepper as Chloe and Kurt Fuller as William. “Manhattan Love Story” was written by Jeff Lowell (“Drew Carey Show,” “Spin City”). Peter Traugott, Jeff Lowell, Robin Schwartz, Rachel Kaplan and Jon Liebman are executive producers. Michael Fresco directed the pilot. “Manhattan Love Story” is produced by ABC Studios.
SELFIE – “Instafamous” Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) has 263,000 followers who hang on to her every post, tweet and selfie. But one lonely day, she has a revelation: being friended is not the same as having actual friends. She asks marketing guru Henry (John Cho) to ‘rebrand’ her self-obsessed reputation and teach her how to connect with people in the real world. Loosely based on “My Fair Lady,” “Selfie” explores the modern struggles of Eliza and Henry, as he tries to teach her how to live life offline—whether she ‘likes’ it or not. “Selfie” stars Karen Gillan as Eliza, John Cho as Henry, Tim Peper as Ethan, Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Charmonique, Allyn Rachel as Bryn and David Harewood as Sam. “Selfie” was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Julie Anne Robinson, who also serve as executive producers. “Selfie” is produced by Piece of Pie Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.