ABC, coming off the big return of Roseanne, continues to solidify its position as top comedy destination on broadcast with 10 half-hour series – all of them family comedies — on the fall schedule as the network reopens its Friday 8-9 PM comedy block. ABC entertainment president called it a return of TGIF, which now stands for “thank goodness it’s funny”. Additionally, ABC is adding the first regular primetime broadcast talk show in nine years with an Alec Baldwin interview program on Sunday.
Here is ABC’s fall 2018-19 schedule, followed by brief analysis and detailed descriptions of ABC’s new series.
ABC FALL 2018-19 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE)
8 PM — Dancing with the Stars
10 PM — The Good Doctor
8 PM — Roseanne
8:30 PM — THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
9 PM — black-ish
9:30 PM — Splitting Up Together
10 PM — THE ROOKIE
8 PM — The Goldbergs
8:30 PM — American Housewife
9 PM — Modern Family
9:30 PM — SINGLE PARENTS
10 PM — A MILLION LITTLE THINGS
8 PM — Grey’s Anatomy
9 PM — Station 19
10 PM — How to Get Away with Murder
8 PM — Fresh Off the Boat
8:30 PM — Speechless
9 PM — Child Support
10 PM — 20/20
8 PM — Saturday Night Football
7 PM — America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM – DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORS
9 PM — Shark Tank
10 PM — THE ALEC BALDWIN SHOW
After an experiment with a genre drama 8-10 PM Friday lineup this season that did not do particularly well, ABC is reverting to a 8-9 PM comedy block, followed by a reality series. During the 2016-17 season, it was multi-cam comedies Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken, followed by Shark Tank; this time it’s single-cam comedies Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless, followed by Ricky Gervais’ game show Child Support, returning for a second season after a short winter run. Fresh Off the Boat will now face LMS, which is slated in its old time slot on a new network, Fox. (Renewed Friday dweller Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return for 13 episodes in summer 2019.)
For a second season, Shark Tank will continue as a Sunday 9 PM anchor as ABC is switching to an all-unscripted lineup on the night, something it has done well with over the past couple of summers. I can’t think of a time when ABC has had no scripted series on Sunday in-season though. There was a progression in that direction, with scripted programming’s presence’s on the night cut to one hour (10 PM) this season.
The 10 PM time slot is now going to The Alec Baldwin Show (fka Sundays with Alec Baldwin), based on Baldwin’s podcast, which ABC sneaked after the Oscars in March. This is the first time a broadcast network has aired a regular talk show in primetime since The Jay Leno Show on NBC, also at 10 PM, had a brief run during the 2009-10 season. The episodes will be taped well in advance but the show will be able to be reactive to news with quicker-turnaround interviews.
Along with Shark Tank, warming up the Sunday 8-10 PM Sunday slot for American Idol, which will return for a second season on ABC in midseason, will be Dancing with the Stars: Juniors, the long-in-the-works Dancing spinoff featuring young celebrities. The hourlong Juniors, which will be pre-taped, will have a 10-episode run. Both the mothership and the offshoot will air at the same time on two consecutive nights, Sunday and Monday.
Overall, ABC is keeping a stable schedule — Monday is staying intact with Dancing/The Good Doctor and Thursday remains a TGIT/Shondaland night with Grey’s Anatomy, spinoff Station 19 and How To Get Away with Murder. HTGAWM, which has shorter orders, will be followed in the spring by the fourth Shondaland series, For the People.
There are few changes, mostly based on attrition, with new series replacing cancelled ones. That includes the most buzzed-about new ABC series, one-hours A Million Little a Things and The Rookie, starring Nathan Fillion, and comedies Single Parents and The Kids Are Alright, which all landed on the fall schedule.
Despite being single-camera — as are all ABC comedy series besides Roseanne — the 1970sIrish-Catholic family The Kids Are Alright had been considered a suitable companion for Roseanne, which originated in the 1980s, and has landed the plum Tuesday 8:30 PM slot behind the revival. Meanwhile, Single Parents has been assigned the other coveted comedy slot on the ABC schedule, behind Modern Family on Wednesday. (American Housewife, which aired at 9:30 PM this season, is relocating to 8:30 PM where Speechless was this season.)
Following ABC’s Wednesday comedy block at 10 PM is ensemble A Million Little Things, which has comedic elements. It replaces canceled drama Designated Survivor. And taking on the often-challenging ABC Tuesday 10 PM slot is new cop procedural The Rookie. While many high-concept dramas have fizzled in the hour over the past several years, it’s worth noting that the two that had performed the best were also character-based crime procedurals, Body of Proof and Forever.
In addition to American Idol and For the People, on the bench for midseason are renewed freshman comedy Splitting Up Together as well as new series The Fix, Grand Hotel, Whiskey Cavalier and The Goldbergs spinoff Schooled.
2018-19 SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT — Set in the 1970s, this ensemble comedy follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family, the Clearys, as they navigate big and small changes during one of America’s most turbulent decades. In a working-class neighborhood outside Los Angeles, Mike and Peggy raise eight boisterous boys who live out their days with little supervision. The household is turned upside down when oldest son Lawrence returns home and announces he’s quitting the seminary to go off and “save the world.” Times are changing and this family will never be the same. There are 10 people, three bedrooms, one bathroom and everyone in it for themselves. The series stars Michael Cudlitz as Mike Cleary, Mary McCormack as Peggy Cleary, Sam Straley as Lawrence, Caleb Martin Foote as Eddie, Sawyer Barth as Frank, Christopher Paul Richards as Joey, Jack Gore as Timmy, Andy Walken as William and Santino Barnard as Pat. The series is inspired by the childhood of writer/executive producer Tim Doyle. Randall Einhorn directed and was an executive producer on the pilot. The series is from ABC Studios.
SCHOOLED — This spinoff of the hit series “The Goldbergs” will be set in 1990-something and follow the hilarious teachers of William Penn Academy – led by Tim Meadows (Principal Glascott), Bryan Callen (Coach Mellor) and AJ Michalka (Lainey Lewis) – who, despite their eccentricities and crazy personal lives, are heroes to their students. Story by Marc Firek and Adam F. Goldberg. Teleplay by Marc Firek. The series is from Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios. Adam F. Goldberg, Doug Robinson and Marc Firek are executive producers.
SINGLE PARENTS — This ensemble comedy follows a group of single parents as they lean on each other to help raise their 7-year-old kids and maintain some kind of personal lives outside of parenthood. The series begins when the group meets Will, a 30-something guy who’s been so focused on raising his daughter that he’s lost sight of who he is as a man. When the other single parents see just how far down the rabbit hole of PTA, parenting and princesses Will has gone, they band together to get him out in the dating world and make him realize that being a great parent doesn’t mean sacrificing everything about your own identity. The series stars Taran Killam as Will, Leighton Meester as Angie, Kimrie Lewis as Poppy, Jake Choi as Miggy, Marlow Barkley as Sophie, Tyler Wladis as Graham, Devin Trey Campbell as Rory, Grace Hazelett as Emma, Sadie Hazelett as Amy and Brad Garrett as Douglas. The series is from 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. JJ Philbin and Liz Meriwether are creators and executive producers, and Katharine Pope is executive producer. The pilot was directed by Jason Winer, who is also an executive producer.
A MILLION LITTLE THINGS — They say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things; and that’s true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way, they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.”A Million Little Things” stars David Giuntoli as Eddie, Ron Livingston as Jon, Romany Malco as Rome, Allison Miller as Maggie, Christina Moses as Regina, Christina Ochoa as Ashley, James Roday as Gary, Stephanie Szostak as Delilah and Lizzy Greene as Sophie. DJ Nash is writer and executive producer; Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor are executive producers; and James Griffiths is the director on the pilot and an executive producer, from ABC Studios/Kapital Entertainment.
THE FIX — Attorney and author Marcia Clark co-writes and executive produces a new legal drama about Maya Travis, an L.A. district attorney who suffers a devastating defeat when prosecuting an A-list actor for double murder. With her high-profile career derailed, she flees for a quieter life in Washington. Eight years later when this same celebrity is under suspicion for another murder, Maya Travis is lured back to the DA’s office for another chance at justice. This legal thriller is executive produced/co-written by Clark, Liz Craft and Sarah Fain, and is from Mandeville TV and ABC Studios. “The Fix” stars Robin Tunney as Maya Travis, Adam Rayner as Matthew Collier, Merrin Dungey as CJ, Breckin Meyer as Alan Wiest, Marc Blucas as Riv, Mouzam Makkar as Loni Kampoor, Alex Saxon as Gabriel Johnson, with Scott Cohen as Ezra Wolf and Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje as Sevvy Johnson. Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain and Marcia Clark are writers and executive producers. David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks are executive producers (Mandeville). Larysa Kondracki directed the pilot.
GRAND HOTEL — Eva Longoria executive produces this bold, provocative drama set at the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach. Charismatic Santiago Mendoza owns the hotel, while his glamorous second wife, Gigi, and their adult children enjoy the spoils of success. The hotel’s loyal staff round out a contemporary, fresh take on an upstairs/downstairs story. Wealthy and beautiful guests bask in luxury, but scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior. The show is based on the Spanish series. The series stars Demian Bichir as Santiago Mendoza, Roselyn Sanchez as Gigi Mendoza, Denyse Tontz as Alicia Mendoza, Bryan Craig as Javi Mendoza, Wendy Raquel Robinson as Mrs. P, Lincoln Younes as Danny, Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, Anne Winters as Ingrid, Chris Warren as Jason, Feliz Ramirez as Carolina and Justina Adorno as Yoli. Brian Tanen is the writer and executive producer; Eva Longoria and Ben Spector (UnbeliEVAble), Ramon Campos and Teresa Fernandez-Valdes (Beta) are executive producers of the series. Ken Olin directed the pilot. The series is produced by ABC Studios.
THE ROOKIE — Starting over isn’t easy, especially for small-town guy John Nolan who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of being an LAPD officer. As the force’s oldest rookie, he’s met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis. If he can’t keep up with the young cops and the criminals, he’ll be risking lives including his own. But if he can use his life experience, determination and sense of humor to give him an edge, he may just become a success in this new chapter of his life. The series stars Nathan Fillion as John Nolan, Alyssa Diaz as Angela Lopez, Richard T. Jones as Sergeant Wade Grey, Titus Makin as Jackson West, Mercedes Mason as Captain Zoe Andersen, Melissa O’Neil as Lucy Chen, Afton Williamson as Talia Bishop and Eric Winter as Tim Bradford. Alexi Hawley is writer and executive producer; Mark Gordon, Nathan Fillion, Michelle Chapman and Jon Steinberg are executive producers on the series. Liz Friedlander directed and executive produced the first episode. Entertainment One (eOne) is the lead studio on “The Rookie,” a co-production with ABC Studios.
WHISKEY CAVALIER — Whiskey Cavalier” is a high-octane, hour-long action dramedy that follows the adventures of tough but tender FBI super-agent Will Chase (codename: “Whiskey Cavalier”), played by Scott Foley. Following an emotional breakup, Chase is assigned to work with badass CIA operative Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge (codename: “Fiery Tribune”), played by Lauren Cohan. Together, they lead an inter-agency team of flawed, funny and heroic spies who periodically save the world (and each other) while navigating the rocky roads of friendship, romance and office politics. The series is from writer/executive producer Dave Hemingson and executive producer Bill Lawrence with Warner Bros. Television. The series stars Scott Foley as Will Chase, Lauren Cohan as Francesca “Frankie” Trowbridge, Ana Ortiz as Susan Sampson, Tyler James Williams as Edgar Standish and Vir Das as Jai Datta. Dave Hemingson is writer and executive producer; Bill Lawrence and Jeff Ingold (Doozer Productions) are executive producers; Peter Atencio is director and executive producer (pilot), and Scott Foley is producer of the series from Warner Bros. Television.