Eleven years after becoming one of the first networks to go after millennials — young viewers born after 1980s — ABC Family is shifting to a new demo target it has coined “becomers,” the network will unveil at its upfront presentation today in New York. Unlike Gen X or Gen Y/Millennials, becomers are not associated with a birth year but with a life stage, from a first kiss to a first child, spanning from mid-teen to late 20s. ABCF is making the switch just as millennials are starting to exit its core people 12-34 demographic. They currently represent 70% of 12-34-olds but will be less than half in five years.
“Becomers are exploring and establishing who they are becoming – personally, professionally and romantically — they live in that magical and messy place between their first kiss and their first kid,” said ABC Family president Tom Ascheim. “We are doubling our commitment to original programming and will serve their modern media habits with gusto by reconceiving our Watch ABC Family app as a marriage of content and fandom that will make it a vital part of their viewing habit.”
ABCF is moving toward year-round programming with a pledge to double the amount of original programming it offers over the next four years. The network’s current programming slate — already geared toward “becomers” — is the biggest in its history.
There had been a recent push in unscripted programming with several pickups. That was because of the genre’s very limited presence on ABCF as the network’s brass are looking for a balanced portfolio of drama, comedy and reality series.
“We are going to expand in all genres,” ABCF EVP Programming Karey Burke said. “The goal is to get more year-round originals, so we need to have more of everything.”
On the unscripted side, the drive is for “more aspirational, more relatable stories and less trash TV whose days may be waning and which others are doing well,” Burke said.
On the half-hour comedy side, ABCF recently ordered its first single-camera pilots and series, Kevin From Work. That was followed by a return to the channel’s traditional multi-camera comedy brand with a pilot order to Gorgeous Morons.
The network plans to continue adding comedies in both formats. “We are not abandoning (multi-camera format), which has been a great business for us and done a great job building young adult audience for comedy,” Burke said.
Here is a detailed rundown on ABCF’s development slate (some projects, like Hearts and Clubs and Famous in Love Deadline has already written about), which includes a version of British format You’ve Got To Work It with Eva Longoria producing, comedy Sold Out directed by Burke’s former producing partner Todd Holland, and We Heart Disney special produced by David Foster and Nigel Lythgoe. Also listed are ABCF’s summer and midseaason lineups.
“Beyond” is a one-hour drama about a young man who wakes up from a coma after 12 years and discovers new supernatural abilities that propel him into the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. From Imperative Entertainment and Automatik, “Beyond” is created, written and executive produced by Adam Nussdorf (“Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”). Tim Kring (“Heroes”), Zak Kadison, Justin Levy and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones will serve as Executive Producers.
From ABC Signature Studios, “Gorgeous Morons” is a half-hour multi-cam comedy that focuses on two stunningly handsome but ridiculously simple brothers – one is a model, the other a personal trainer – who find their lives rocked by their brainy new roommate, a female literature PhD whose looks are, by their standards, in desperate need of help. “Gorgeous Morons” is co-created and executive produced by Emmy Award-nominated Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky (“The Office,” “Bad Teacher,” “Hello Ladies,” “Trophy Wife”), alongside former “The Office” head writer Danny Chun (“Happy Endings,” “The Office,” “The Simpsons”). Chun is penning the script.
“Hearts and Clubs” (Working title)
There are glamor, thrills and broken hearts around every corner in the alluring city of Las Vegas. Executive producer and music icon, Christina Aguilera, brings all that to life in an addicting new drama series “Hearts and Clubs.” The show celebrates the intersecting lives of young performers as they chase their dreams and fight off their demons in the always-unpredictable Sin City. With an incredible soundtrack, this series will capture the pulse of Las Vegas, where everyone craves acceptance, yet no one ever really fits in. Along with Aguilera, the one-hour drama comes from Austin Winsberg (“Gossip Girl”), Matthew Rutler, Prospect Park and Lionsgate TV.
“Famous In Love” (Working title)
Based on the novel by Rebecca Serle, “Famous In Love” follows ordinary college student Paige as she gets her big break after auditioning for the starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster. She must now navigate her new star-studded life and undeniable chemistry with her two co-leads, while uncovering the truth about what happened to a famous missing popstar. Bella Thorne (“The Duff”) will star as Paige. The pilot is executive produced by I. Marlene King (“Pretty Little Liars”) and Warner Horizon TV.
“Sold Out” (Working title)
The ensemble scripted comedy from ABC Signature Studios, “Sold Out,” is about a young band hitting the road for their first-ever tour. Turns out living the dream can sometimes be a nightmare…but it’s sure funny to watch. The project will be written by Andrea Abbate and is executive produced by Irving Azoff and will be directed by Todd Holland.
“I Am Maker” (Working title)
Emmy Award winning producers World Of Wonder will team with Maker Studios to share an unprecedented look at what it takes to become a successful You Tube star today. Inspired by the true roots of Maker Studios, “I Am Maker” is an aspirational docu-series that follows a group of up-and-coming You Tube sensations who will live together and be mentored by the biggest Maker talent – endeavoring to connect their authentic voices with a huge audience.
“You’ve Got To Work It” (Working title)
From Eva Longoria and ITV studios, this successful UK format comes to the US market. “You’ve Got To Work It” follows eight unemployed girls from diverse backgrounds who get a crash course in the working world – vying for seven job opportunities in seven very different industries. The girls will also have complete head-to-toe and emotional makeovers with the hope they change their ways, step up to the plate, and land a coveted job to kick start their career.
“We Heart Disney” (Working Title)
ABC Family presents the “We Heart Disney” music spectacular featuring some of today’s biggest pop stars singing classic Disney songs. David Foster and Nigel Lythgoe (“American Idol”) will serve as executive producers.
In the sixth season of the hit drama series, “Pretty Little Liars”, the Liars solve the puzzle and unmask Charles, finally putting an end to the “A” game. “Pretty Little Liars” will premiere on Tuesday, June 2nd at 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT.
ABC Family’s first procedural drama, “Stitchers,” follows Kirsten (Emma Ishta), a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be ‘stitched’ into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave. Working alongside Kirsten is Cameron (Kyle Harris), a brilliant neuroscientist whose passion for the program is evident in his work. The secret program is headed by Maggie (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), a skilled veteran of covert operations, and includes Linus (Ritesh Rajan), a socially immature bioelectrical engineer and communications technician. Kirsten’s roommate, Camille (Allison Scagliotti), a gifted computer science grad student, is also recruited to use her skills to assist Kirsten in her new role as a ‘stitcher.’ Created and written by Jeffrey A. Schechter (“Overruled!”), who will executive produce alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken, “Stitchers” stars newcomer Emma Ishta as Kirsten, Kyle Harris (“Carrie Diaries”) as Cameron, Ritesh Rajan (upcoming “Jungle Book” feature) as Linus, Salli Richardson-Whitfield (“Eureka,” “I Am Legend”) as Maggie, and Allison Scagliotti (“Warehouse 13”) as Camille. Todd Holland (“The Larry Sanders Show,” “Malcolm in the Middle”) will direct the premiere episode. ”Stitchers” will premiere on Tuesday, June 2nd at 9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT.
“Melissa & Joey” picks up where the first half of the season left off, with newlyweds Mel (Melissa Joan Hart) and Joe (Joey Lawrence) waiting to find out if she’s pregnant. Meanwhile, Ryder (Nick Robinson) announces he’s joining the Navy and Lennox (Taylor Spreitler) struggles with her feelings while working on a short film with her ex-boyfriend Zander (recurring guest star Sterling Knight). “Melissa & Joey” will premiere on Wednesday, June 3rd at 8:00 – 8:30 PM ET/PT.
In the summer premiere of “Baby Daddy,” Riley can’t face the mess she has made out of her relationships with Ben and Danny, so she runs home to her mom’s (Alex Kapp Horner) house in Jersey to hide from her problems. Once Ben realizes where Riley has gone, he stages a “friendervention” to get her to come home, but will Riley and Danny be able to move past their hurt feelings? Bonnie is thrilled when their next door neighbor, Evelyn, dies and plots to get the apartment listing. Once she discovers that Evelyn’s granddaughter Ashley (Lindsey Gort) is a big Danny Wheeler fan and knows all his hockey stats, Bonnie tries to trade her son for the listing, despite the fact that Danny is still dating Robyn (Christa B. Allen). Meanwhile, Tucker is determined to get his hands on the items Evelyn promised him. Eddie Cibrian (“The Playboy Club”) and country superstar Reba McEntire also guest star later this season. “Baby Daddy” will premiere on Wednesday, June 3rd at 8:30 – 9:00 PM ET/PT.
Now in its third season, the critically-acclaimed drama “The Fosters” picks up during summer, a few weeks after the cliffhanger finale left off, as the family deals with the aftermath of the terrible car accident involving Mariana, Jesus and their pregnant biological mother Ana. Now that Callie is back at the Adams Foster’s home, she is feeling secure for the first time in a long time and determined to have a summer of free-spirited fun, including trying her best to get over Brandon. Meanwhile, Brandon is going to Idyllwild Music Program, where he will be faced with serious competition. Jude and Connor continue to develop their relationship and what it means to be a young teen exploring new love. Stef and Lena continue to face challenges as a couple and as parents, yet are determined to fight through them together. “The Fosters” will premiere on Monday, June 8th at 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT.
The groundbreaking new unscripted drama series “Becoming Us” (formerly known as “My Transparent Life”) centers on a teenager named Ben who is learning to live with his dad becoming a woman. The series will follow Ben, his family and his friends as they support one another through this unexpected journey and navigate their new world with Charlie now living as Carly. The show is a generational story of a loving family and circle of friends supporting one another through this unfamiliar situation. “Becoming Us” will premiere on Monday, June 8th at 9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT.
Series Premieres Coming Later This Summer
“Monica the Medium,” is a fascinating look at Monica, a junior at Penn State navigating friends, family, relationships…and the fact that she’s a medium and can talk to dead people. Her uncommon vocation provides an endless supply of emotional and engaging stories, with a unique millennial perspective. The show is produced by Dave Caplan’s Trooper Entertainment in association with Lionsgate TV. Caplan will serve as executive producer alongside Malachi McGlone.
“Job or No Job” is an unscripted series from the producers of “Undercover Boss” that follows one young adult per episode on his/her journey to land a first job. Each job seeker will go on three interviews, and we will watch the intense ride to find out if he or she lands three, two, one… or zero offers. The series is produced by Studio Lambert/All3Media America. Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman, Greg Goldman and Sara Quick serve as executive producers.
From Lincoln Square Productions, comes “Next Step Realty: NYC,” a business based docu-series following the passionate and ambitious employees of Next Step Realty. The Manhattan-based real estate firm specializes in helping recent college graduates find their apartments in New York City while navigating interpersonal and professional conflicts in the workplace. Danielle Rossen (“What Would You Do?”) serves as the executive producer.
“Kevin from Work,” a half-hour workplace comedy, centers on Kevin, a young man who declares his unrequited love for his coworker Audrey in a letter, believing he’ll never see her again after he accepts a job overseas. But when the opportunity falls through and Kevin is forced to return to his old job, how will he and Audrey continue to work together now that his feelings are no longer secret? The series is written, created and executive-produced by Barbie Adler (“How I Met Your Mother,”). Aaron Kaplan at Kapital Entertainment (“Chasing Life”) and McG at Wonderland Sound & Vision (“Charlie’s Angels”) serve as Executive Producers. The comedy stars Noah Reid (“Backpackers“) as Kevin, Paige Spara as Audrey, Matt Murray (“Rookie Blue”) as Brian, Jordan Hinson (“Eureka”) as Roxie, Punam Patel as Patti, with guest star Amy Sedaris (“Strangers with Candy”) as Julia.
“Startup U” is an unscripted, one hour series from the producers of “House of Food” that follows a group of entrepreneurial millennials as they embark on a semester at Draper University in Silicon Valley. Led by billionaire founder and venture capitalist Tim Draper, the seven week program teaches the fundamentals of launching a startup company under the mentorship of America’s business leaders. In the end, students pitch their ideas to a panel of hungry venture capitalists with the hope that they’ll receive a life-changing investment to launch their business. To date, more than 150 Draper graduates have received funding totaling more than $15 million from mogul investors and Tim Draper himself. Brimming with innovation and determination, “Startup U” pulls back the curtain on what it takes to achieve success in the most innovative and competitive marketplace in the world. Viewers join a group of savvy millennials as they suffer through hard lessons and grab opportunities with both hands, all in the pursuit of their dreams. “Startup U” is produced by Ugly Brother Studios, a Sky Vision partner. Mike Duffy, Tim Duffy and Tim Draper serve as executive producers.
Returning Series Coming Later This Summer
“Young & Hungry” returns with more episodes with Gabi continuing to cook up drama and laughs in Josh’s kitchen and his life! Josh rolls out his biggest app yet, Elliot revels in the state of his love life and Yolanda gets even closer to Gabi and Sofia. “Pretty Little Liars” star Keegan Allen guest stars in one episode as Tyler.
Starting moments after Leo’s surprising marriage proposal, season two of “Chasing Life” will find April trying to live life to the fullest despite of her recent relapse. From wedding dress shopping to a surprise trip, and a bachelorette party ending in jail time, April is determined to enjoy everything. Meanwhile the rest of the Carver family must deal with the effects of April’s illness and choices as the medical bills start to mount up and questions arise about the surprising engagement.
In the fourth season of “Switched at Birth” Bay continues to deal with the fall-out of her assault and her break-up with Emmett, and Daphne struggles to find a balance between college and a new love, the Kennish family is rocked by news of an unexpected pregnancy.
Programming Coming in Early 2016
Based on the bestselling young adult fantasy book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, “Shadowhunters” follows 18-year-old Clary Fray, who finds out on her birthday that she is not who she thinks she is but rather comes from a long line of Shadowhunters – human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons. When her mother Jocelyn is kidnapped, Clary is thrown into the world of demon hunting with mysterious Shadowhunter Jace and her best friend, Simon. Now living among faeries, warlocks, vampires and werewolves, Clary begins a journey of self-discovery as she learns more about her past and what her future may hold. McG, who serves as executive producer will also direct the first episode.
“Recovery Road,” based on the popular young adult novel by Blake Nelson, focuses on a teenage girl dealing with addiction. Maddie (Jessica Sula, UK’s “Skins”) has a reputation as a party girl who doesn’t think she has a problem, until she’s confronted one day by her school guidance counselor (Alexis Carra) and is forced to choose between expulsion and rehab. Maddie makes the difficult decision to live with other recovering addicts at a sober living facility while facing the daily pressures of her teenage life. Sebastian De Souza, Kyla Pratt, Sharon Leal, Daniel Franzese and David Witts also star.