ABC Fall 2016 Schedule: ABC Expands Tuesday Comedy Block With ‘The Middle’, Holds ‘Scandal’ For Midseason


Shondaland TGIT no more — but just for the fall. As speculated, in light of star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy, Scandal is being pushed to midseason, with new drama Notorious getting the hammock Thursday 9 PM slot between Shondaland’s Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away with Murder. Here is ABC’s fall schedule followed by analysis and descriptions of the network’s new series.


(New programs in UPPER CASE)

8 PM — Dancing with the Stars

8 PM — The Middle
9 PM — Fresh Off the Boat
9:30 PM — The Real O’Neals
10 PM — Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

8 PM — The Goldbergs
9 PM Modern Family”
9:30 PM — black-ish”
10 PM Designated Survivor

8 PM — Grey’s Anatomy
9 PM — NOTORIOUS/Scandal (midseason)
10 PM — How to Get Away with Murder/The Catch (midseason)

8 PM — Last Man Standing
8:30 PM — Dr. Ken
9 PM — Shark Tank
10:00 PM — 20/20

8 PM — Saturday Night Football

7 PM — America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM — Once Upon a Time
9 PM — Secrets and Lies/(TIME AFTER TIME midseason)
10 PM — Quantico

As we predicted, given the volume of ABC comedy series for next season, the network will be expanding its Tuesday comedy block to two hours, pushing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the 10 PM hour where ABC had had a hard time finding a drama that sticks. ABC renewed 8 comedies, including six single-camera shows that air on Wednesday and Tuesday, and picked up 4 new series – all single-camera.

Being the most successful network in adding solid new comedy performers in the past couple of years with The Goldbergs, Black-ish, and Fresh Off the Boat, ABC already had more comedy series on the fall schedule than any other network last year. This year, its comedy footprint is even larger – 5 hours, including the Friday multi-camera block, compared to 3.5 hours for Fox and one hour for NBC.

Veteran The Middle is being transplanted to anchor the expanded Tuesday comedy block, serving as a lead-in for American Housewife (fka The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport). To accommodate the new duo, Fresh Off the Boat and The Real O’Neals will slide an hour to 9 PM.

ABC’s hottest comedy pilot Speechless is getting a spot in ABC’s signature Wednesday comedy block. The only newbie in the lineup will air at 8:30 PM, behind The Goldbergs, which, after blossoming behind The Middle for two seasons, is being assigned a tentpole position.

On the drama side, strengthening the performance at 10 PM with new shows was a priority, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey said during a press call. The network’s “gap” strategy, favored by Dungey’s predecessor Paul Lee will not be “as big”, she said, with the gaps in the seasons of serialized dramas getting shorter.

Hot drama pilot Conviction will replace Castle on Mondays, getting a sizable viewership lead-in from Dancing with the Stars. “We think this is the procedural we were looking for,” Dungey said. The Kiefer Sutherland drama Designated Survivor will succeed Nashville in the ABC Wednesday 10 PM slot.

On Thursday, ABC is going for consistency in keeping The Catch on the bench, so Shondaland’s TGIT can return in midseason with the same lineup as this spring, Grey’s, Scandal and The Catch. For now, there are no plans for Shondaland’s fifth series, midseason period saga Still Star-Crossed, to join the Thursday lineup. Additionally, ABC brass decided to use the delay in Scandal‘s return to get a new show launched behind Grey’s on Thursday.

Secrets & Lies, originally set to return for a second season this past midseason, was held for fall and will air in the same slot its first installment did — Sunday 9 PM — with a new lead-out, Quantico, which is staying put. In midseason, the 10-episode Secrets & Lies will be succeeded by new time-travel drama Time After Time, which will follow Once Upon  Time to create a two-hour fantasy block on Sunday.



AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE — Katie Otto (Katy Mixon, “Mike and Molly”), a confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three, raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring.The series stars Katy Mixon as Katie Otto, Diedrich Bader as Jeff Otto, Johnny Sequoyah as Taylor, Daniel DiMaggio as Harrison, Julia Butters as Anna-Kat, Carly Hughes as Angela and Ali Wong as Doris. “American Housewife” is written by Sarah Dunn (“Spin City,” “Bunheads”) and produced by Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios. Aaron Kaplan, Rick Weiner and Kenny Schwartz are executive producers. Ruben Fleischer directed and was executive producer of the pilot.

Downward Dog (ABC)DOWNWARD DOG — Based on the web series, “Downward Dog” is about a struggling millennial, Nan (Emmy-nominated Allison Tolman, “Fargo”), from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog, Martin. One session at obedience school already makes them realize that even at their worst they may be the best thing for each other. The series stars Allison Tolman as Nan, Lucas Neff as Jason, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Jenn, Barry Rothbart as Kevin and Mo Collins as Kim. Samm Hodges is the voice of Martin.
“Downward Dog” creators/writers Samm Hodges and Michael Killen will executive produce with Mosaic Media Group’s Jimmy Miller and Sam Hansen, and Animal’s Kathy Dziubek. Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky were executive producers of the pilot. The series is from Legendary Television and ABC Studios.

IMAGINARY MARYImaginary Mary (ABC)Alice (Jenna Elfman, “Dharma & Greg,” “Friends With Benefits,” “EDtv”) is a fiercely independent career woman whose life is turned upside-down when she meets the love of her life – a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as a child suddenly reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family. The series stars Jenna Elfman as Alice, Stephen Schneider as Ben, Rachel Dratch as Mary (VO), Nicholas Coombe as Andy, Matreya Scarrwener as Dora and Erica Tremblay as Bunny. The live action/CGI hybrid comes from “The Goldbergs” team Adam F. Goldberg (writer/executive producer), David Guarascio (writer/executive producer) and Doug Robinson (executive producer). Mary CG animation is designed by Patrick Osborne (creator of Academy Award- winning animated short, “The Feast”), who is also executive producer. The pilot was directed by Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum,” “Cheaper by the Dozen”), who is also executive producer. The series is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television, Happy Madison and ABC Studios.

Speechless (ABC)SPEECHLESS — Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver, “About a Boy,” “The Riches,” “Good Will Hunting”) is a mom on a mission who will do anything for her husband, Jimmy, and kids Ray, Dylan, and JJ, her eldest son with special needs. As Maya fights injustices both real and imagined, the family works to make a new home for themselves and searches for just the right person to give JJ his “voice.” “Speechless” stars Minnie Driver as Maya DiMeo, John Ross Bowie (“The Big Bang Theory”) as Jimmy DiMeo, Mason Cook as Ray DiMeo, Micah Fowler as JJ DiMeo, Kyla Kenedy as Dylan DiMeo and Cedric Yarbrough as Kenneth. Scott Silveri (“Friends”) writes and is executive producer of the show, along with “Fresh Off the Boat”’s Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar. The series is from Twentieth Century Fox Television and ABC Studios.


CONVICTION — HAYLEY ATWELLLawyer and former First Daughter Hayes Morrison (Hayley Atwell, “Marvel’s Agent Carter”) is about to accept a job offered from her sexy nemesis, NY District Attorney Wayne Wallis, to avoid jail time for cocaine possession and avoid hurting her mother’s Senate campaign. Working with his team at the new Conviction Integrity Unit will let her use her brilliant mind to turn over cases, where there is credible suspicion of wrongful conviction, and give her a chance to turn things around with her high-powered political family.In addition to Atwell, “Conviction” stars Eddie Cahill as Wayne Wallis, Shawn Ashmore as Sam Sullivan, Merrin Dungey as Maxine Barton, Emily Kinney as Tess Thompson, Manny Montana as Franklin “Frankie” Rios and Daniel di Tomasso as Jackson Morrison. “Conviction” is from The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios. “Conviction” is co-created by writer Liz Friedman (“Elementary,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones”) and director Liz Friedlander (“The Following”). Friedman and Friedlander will executive produce with Mark Gordon (“Criminal Minds,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Saving Private Ryan”) and Nick Pepper.

Designated Survivor (ABC)DESIGNATED SURVIVOR — Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Kiefer Sutherland (“24”) returns to primetime in a conspiracy thriller as Tom Kirkman, a lower-level cabinet member who unexpectedly becomes president after a devastating attack on Washington. He will struggle to prevent the country and his own family from falling into chaos, as he is thrust into one of the most difficult presidencies in history. “Designated Survivor” stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, Natascha McElhone as Alex Kirkman, Maggie Q as Hannah Watts, Kal Penn as Seth Wheeler, Adan Canto as Aaron Shore, Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes, LaMonica Garrett as James Ritter, and Tanner Buchanan as Leo Kirkman. “Designated Survvor” is from The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios. David Guggenheim is creator and executive producer. In addition to Guggenheim, the series is executive produced by Simon Kinberg, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Gordon, Nick Pepper, Suzan Bymel, and Aditya Sood. Paul McGuigan directed the pilot episode.

NOTORIOUS — “Notorious” is inspired by the true-life stories of famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and cable news producer Wendy Walker, who serve as executive producers. The series is a provocative look at the unique, sexy and dangerous interplay of criminal law and the media. Josh Berman (“Blacklist,” “Bones,” “CSI”) is writer and executive producer, and Allie Hagan (“Suri’s Burn Book”) is writer and co-executive producer. “Notorious” stars Piper Perabo (“Covert Affairs”) as Julia George, Daniel Sunjata (“Graceland”) as Jake Gregorian, Sepideh Moafi as Megan Byrd, Kate Jennings Grant as Louise Herrick, Ryan Guzman as Ryan, Kevin Zegers as Oscar Keaton, J. August Richards as Bradley Gregorian and Aimee Teegarden as Ella Benjamin. “Notorious” is from Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios. Michael Engler, Kenny Meiselas, Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry are also executive producers. Michael Engler directed the pilot.

STILL STAR-CROSSEDStill Star-Crossed (ABC)“Still Star-Crossed,” a period drama from Shondaland, picks up where the famous story of Romeo and Juliet ends, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate. The series is based on the book by Melinda Taub. “Still Star-Crossed” stars Wade Briggs (“Home and Away”) as Benvolio Montague, Anthony Head as Lord Silvestro Capulet, Zuleikha Robinson as Lady Guiliana Capulet, Lashana Lynch as Rosaline, Ebonee Noel as Livia, Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus, Medalion Rahimi as Princess Isabella, Grant Bowler as Damiano Montague, Susan Wooldridge as Nurse, Torrance Coombs as Paris and Dan Hildebrand as Friar Lawrence. Heather Mitchell (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) is writer and executive producer. Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers and Michael Goldstein are executive producers. Michael Offer is executive producer and director of the pilot, from ABC Studios.

FREDDIE STROMA, JOSH BOWMANTIME AFTER TIME — Based on the novel and movie “Time After Time,” executive producer/writer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Scream” franchise, “Dawson’s Creek”) delivers a fantastical cat and mouse adventure through time when famed science fiction writer H.G. Wells is transported to modern day Manhattan in pursuit of Jack the Ripper. Once H.G. arrives in New York City, he finds a world he never thought possible and a young woman who captivates him. The series stars Freddie Stroma (“Harry Potter” films) as H.G. Wells, Josh Bowman (“Revenge”) as John Stevenson/Jack the Ripper, Genesis Rodriguez (“Big Hero 6”) as Jane and Regina Taylor (“Dig”) as Vanessa Anders. “Time After Time” is from Outerbanks Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television. Williamson and Marcos Siega (“Blindspot,” “The Following”) are executive producers. Siega directed the pilot. Williamson wrote the teleplay. “Time After Time” is based on the novel written by Karl Alexander.

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