TV Upfront

ABC Upfront: TGIT No Longer Home to Only Shonda Rhimes

Network Doubles Down on Family Comedy

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Kerry Washington on 'Scandal.'
Kerry Washington on 'Scandal.' Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright

Thursday nights on ABC will no longer be entirely dedicated to Shonda Rhimes' sexy, thrilling and titillating dramas.

While "Grey's Anatomy" will remain in the Thursday 8 p.m. timeslot, "Scandal" will make way in the fall for new drama "Notorious" at 9 p.m. "How to Get Away With Murder" will round out the night.

"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.

Mid-season, "Grey's" will be rejoined on Thursdays by fellow Rhimes shows "Scandal" and "The Catch."

It remains to be seen where in the week ABC will place "Still Star-Crossed," a take on William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" from Ms. Rhimes' production company ShondaLand, when it debuts mid-season.

After canceling a batch of its freshman series as well as some of its longer-running shows, ABC is adding a total of nine new series to its schedule next season.

Monday nights will continue to be the home of "Dancing With The Stars," but will add new drama "Conviction" in the slot previously held by the canceled "Castle."

"Conviction" follows a lawyer and former First Daughter who takes a job at a new Conviction Integrity Unit to avoid both jail time for cocaine possession and hurting her mother's Senate campaign.

"The Middle" moves to Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. from Wednesdays as ABC expands its family comedy block on the night. New sitcom "American Housewife," about a "confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three," raising her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Conn., will air at 8:30 p.m., followed by "Fresh off the Boat," "The Real O'Neals" and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Wednesdays will also continue to be home with family comedies, with "The Goldbergs" kicking off the night at 8 p.m. That will lead into another new comedy, "Speechless," about a mom played by Minnie Driver on a mission who will do anything for her husband and children, one of whome has special needs. "Modern Family" and "Black-ish" will remain at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. respectively, and "Designated Survivor" will be added to the 10 p.m. slot.

"Designated Survivor" marks Kiefer Sutherland's return to TV as Tom Kirkman, a low-level cabinet member who unexpectedly becomes president after a devastating attack on Washington, D.C.

Both Friday and Sunday nights remain steady. "Last Man Standing," "Dr. Ken," "Shark Tank" and "20/20" will continue on Friday and "America's Funniest Home Videos," "Once Upon a Time," "Secrets and Lies" and "Quantico" will air on Sunday in the fall.

"American Crime" will return during the year as a limited series. There will also be a three-hour musical event based on "Dirty Dancing," a special honoring boxing legend Mohammed Ali and a David Blaine special.

All eyes will be on Channing Dungey, who became president of ABC Entertainment in February, replacing Paul Lee, to turn around the alphabet network.

"Our new shows reflect the inclusive and empowering storytelling that defines the ABC brand. We will continue to raise the bar for our audience, investing in great storytellers and reflecting the authentic faces and voices of the world around us," Ms. Dungey said in a statement.

Mid-season will also find ABC partaking in TV's recent time-travel trend with "Time After Time." The show transports science fiction writer H.G. Wells to modern day Manhattan in pursuit of Jack the Ripper.

Other new comedies include "Downward Dog," based on the web series about a struggling millennial from the point of view of her lonely and philosophical dog; and "Imaginary Mary," about an independent career woman whose life is turned upside-down when the imaginary friend she created as a kid reappears to help her navigate the transition from single girl to woman ready for a family.

ABC is on track to end the season in last place among the all-important 18-to-49 demographic, averaging a 1.8 rating in the demo, down 18% from last season.

The network didn't have much luck with its most recent freshman series: Its now-cancelled "Muppets" reboot flopped despite significant fanfare; "Blood & Oil" had its episode order cut; quick cancellations for "Wicked City" and "Of Kings and Prophets" left Tuesday's 10 p.m. time slot a mess; and even "Quantico" has faded after a promising start. (It doesn't help that ABC lacks NFL programming, one of the juggernauts of today's TV landscape.)

The network also made the decision last week not to renew "Nashville," "Catle," "Galavant," "Agent Carter" and "The Family."

ABC's fall primetime schedule is as follows (all times listed are Eastern/Pacific). New shows are in bold:


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

10:00 p.m. "Conviction"

TUESDAY: 8:00 p.m. "The Middle" (new day/time)

8:30 p.m. "American Housewife"

9:00 p.m. "Fresh Off the Boat" (new time)

9:30 p.m. "The Real O'Neals" (new time)

10:00 p.m. "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (new time)

WEDNESDAY: 8:00 p.m. "The Goldbergs" (new time)

8:30 p.m. "Speechless"

9:00 p.m. "Modern Family"

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

10:00 p.m. "Designated Survivor"

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

9:00 p.m. "Notorious"

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

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

8:30 p.m. "Dr. Ken"

9:00 p.m. "Shark Tank"

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

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

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

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

9:00 p.m. "Secrets and Lies"

10:00 p.m. "Quantico"

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