TV Upfront

ABC's Fall Lineup Looks Like Much of the Same

Thursdays Dedicated to Shonda Rhimes

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Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating in 'How to Get Away With Murder.'
Viola Davis as Professor Annalise Keating in 'How to Get Away With Murder.' Credit: ABC

Despite cancelling most of last year's new shows and some new entries including an "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" spin-off, ABC's lineup for next fall looks very similar to last year.

On a conference call with press, Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group, said the lineup reflects "stability and boldness."

"We now have building blocks on every night of the week for which we can launch new shows," Mr. Lee said.

Where new shows are arriving, Mr. Lee said they reflect the changing face of America. New series include "Cristela," which has a Latin voice in Cristela Alonzo; "Black-ish," about an African-American man who worries that his success has brought too much assimilation to his black family; "American Crime," a drama that explores racial tensions; and Shonda Rhimes' "How to Get Away With Murder," which stars Viola Davis. In 2012, ABC and Shonda Rhimes' "Scandal" made Kerry Washington the first black woman to star in in a broadcast prime-time show since the 1970s.

ABC Monday will remain exactly the same with "Dancing With The Stars" and "Castle."

Two new comedies -- "Selfie" and "Manhattan Love Story" -- will kick off Tuesday night. "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." will follow them, moving to 9 p.m. from 8 p.m.

"Shield" was the most-hyped new show of last season but failed to live up to early chatter. Mr. Lee acknowledged that "S.H.I.E.L.D." took time to find its footing, but said that the final nine episodes of the season were strong.

The new procedural "Forever" will round out Tuesday nights.

"The Middle," "Modern Family" and "Nashville" will remain in their current Wednesday-night time-slots. They will be joined by "The Goldbergs," which will shift from Tuesday for its sophomore season, and "Black-ish."

Mr. Lee says that moving "The Goldbergs" to Wednesdays, where it will have the company of more established shows than in its first season out, puts it in a position to stay on the network for a very long time.

Thursday night for ABC is all about Shonda Rhimes, with "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal" moving an hour earlier to make room for "How to Get Away with Murder," her new legal thriller. That means "Scandal" will go up against NBC's "The Blacklist" in February, when "Blacklist" will move to Thursday from Monday.

New comedy "Cristela," will join "Last Man Standing," "Shark Tank" and "20/20" on Friday.

Sports will continue to air on Saturday, and Sundays will remain the same with "Once Upon a Time," "Resurrection" and "Revenge."

Mr. Lee said most of its shows will have a split season -- premiering in the fall, taking a break, and returning in the second half of the season. "S.H.I.E.L.D." spin-off "Marvel's Agent Carter" and "Galavant," a musical comedy fairytale, will serve as bridge programming between the fall finales and the winter premieres of "S.H.I.E.L.D." and "Once Upon a Time," respectively.

Mid-season shows include "American Crime," "Fresh Off the Boat," "Secrets and Lies" and "The Whispers."

ABC is currently tied with Fox for No. 4 in total viewers and is pacing to end the season in last place among the Big Four broadcast networks in the 18-to-49 demographic.

ABC's fall prime-time schedule is as follows (all times listed are Eastern); new shows are in bold:


8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars"

10:00 p.m. "Castle"


8:00 p.m. "Selfie"

8:30 p.m. "Manhattan Love Story"

9:00 p.m. "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

10:00 p.m. "Forever"


8:00 p.m. "The Middle"

8:30 p.m. "The Goldbergs"

9:00 p.m. "Modern Family"

9:30 p.m. "Black-ish"

10:00 p.m. "Nashville"


8:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"

9:00 p.m. "Scandal"

10:00 p.m. "How to Get Away with Murder"


8:00 p.m. "Last Man Standing"

8:30 p.m. "Cristela"

9:00 p.m. "Shark Tank"

10:00 p.m. "20/20"


8:00 p.m. "Saturday Night Football"


7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"

8:00 p.m. "Once Upon a Time"

9:00 p.m. "Resurrection"

10:00 p.m. "Revenge"

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