For the first time in years, ABC has a Wednesday comedy block that is clicking, with tentpoles Modern Family and The Middle getting support from transplant The Goldbergs, which is regularly building on its Middle lead-in, and newbie Black-ish, which has showed solid retention behind Modern Family. Not surprisingly, all four ABC Wednesday comedies are getting two extra episodes each. (For Black-ish, the extra two episodes come on top of the back-nine pickup the new comedy received earlier this month.) In contrast, ABC’s Tuesday comedies, freshmen Selfie and Manhattan Love Story, are fighting for survival as the network has not decided on a back episodic orders yet. Also awaiting word on a full-season pickup is new drama Forever.
Also expanded to 24 is Season 11 of Thursday drama Grey’s Anatomy, which is adjusting well to its new 8 PM time slot. The medical soap has been a hard worker on the ABC schedule, regularly delivering 24 episodes a season, which is not an easy task for a primetime drama.
Two ABC dramas — veteran Castle and Sunday anchor Once Upon A Time, which has enjoyed a boost from its Frozen arc — have received orders for one extra episode each and will produce 23 episode apiece. Originally, sophomore Resurrection too was poised to get an extra episode to go up to 14 but the plan changed at the last minute and the supernatural drama is staying at 13. Back in May, ABC announced that Resurrection will share a time slot with John Ridley’s 11-episode midseason series American Crime though I hear that might change.
Absent from the list are dramas Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nashville and Revenge – for different reasons. ABC would’ve loved to get more Scandal and HTGAWM originals, but both are dense, serialized dramas. So Scandal will stick to 22, while HTGAWM is producing 15, per star Viola Davis’ contract. That show will be succeeded in midseason by drama Secrets & Lies. Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D requires extensive post-production and special effects work and Marvel already has to deliver 8 more visual effects-heavy episodes than last season with new midseason drama Agent Carter.