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TV Upfront

ABC Upfront: 'Scandal' Ending Confirmed, 'Idol' Future Still Unclear

By Published on .

ABC confirms the next season of 'Scandal' will be its last.
ABC confirms the next season of 'Scandal' will be its last.  Credit: ABC/Richard Cartwright
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Like NBC and Fox before it, ABC won't have too much newness on its schedule in the fall. The Alphabet network will air four new dramas and one new comedy in the first half of the year, keeping at least several of its nights relatively consistent from last season.

The biggest changes will come to Friday and Sunday nights. A home to comedy over the last few seasons, Fridays will instead focus on fantasy and sci-fi programming, said Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment. To this end, "Once Upon a Time" will move to Friday nights from Sundays and is joined by "Marvel's Inhumans." "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." will air for 22 episodes after "Inhumans" finishes its fall run.

These shows will take the place of "Last Man Standing," which was unceremoniously canceled to the chagrin of many who have complained that the decision was made because of Tim Allen's conservative political leanings.

Dungey said the decision to cancel the comedy was made once it was decided Fridays would no longer be dedicated to comedies.

And Sundays, where some of the network's most high-profile dramas have typically aired, is now being taken over by reality series. The Anthony Anderson-hosted game show "To Tell the Truth" will air at 8 p.m. followed by "Shark Tank" at 9 p.m. "Ten Days in the Valley," about a single mother whose world is turned upside down when her daughter goes missing in the middle of the night, will air at 10 p.m.

The biggest question going into ABC's upfront is what will come of the reboot of "American Idol." That's still unclear. Dungey did not provide any detail on when the show will air or when it will bow. What is known, is that "Idol" will take up a lot of time in ABC's schedule that otherwise would have gone to scripted programming.

"From where we sit we think it is a good time to bring the series back," Dungey said, noting that it is about uplifting, heartfelt stories about people who make their dreams come true. "That's what we do…it's the perfect home and the perfect time."

Dungey added that "this is going to be ABC's version of "American Idol" and when it airs there will be "very clear ABC hallmarks."

ABC will end the season in last place among the big four broadcasters, marking the fourth time in five years for it to do so.

"Dancing with the Stars" remains on Monday nights and is followed by the new drama "The Good Doctor," about a young surgeon with autism.

Tuesday nights will continue to be a home to comedies. "The Middle" will once again kick off the night, followed by "Fresh Off the Boat." "Black-ish" will air at 9 p.m., moving from Wednesday nights. It's joined by the new comedy, "The Mayor," about a rapper who runs for mayor to boost his music career, and the "light" drama "The Gospel of Kevin," about a down-and-out man who is presented with a mission to save the world.

"The Goldbergs" remains steady at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, and is followed by "Speechless," "Modern Family" and "American Housewife." "Designated Survivor" stays put at 10 p.m.

Shonda Rhimes' TGIT lineup will return to the fall with "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and "How to Get Away with Murder." Dungey confirmed that the seventh season of "Scandal" will be its last.

New midseason dramas include: "The Crossing," about refugees from a war-torn country seeking asylum in a small American fishing town. But there's a catch, the refugees are from America and the way they are fleeing hasn't happened yet; "Deception" about a magician turned FBI agent; and "For the People," another Shondaland drama, which follows new lawyers working for both the defense and prosecution in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

New midseason comedies include "Alex," based on the podcast "StartUp," about a radio journalist played by Zach Braff who quits his day job to start a company, and "Splitting Up Together," about a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce.

"Quantico" will return midseason for an abbreviated third season.

ABC is extending its "Bachelor" franchise with a sports-themed competition series, while "Dancing with the Stars" will get a junior version where professional junior ballroom dancers will be paired with celebrities. If "Bachelor in Paradise" is also picked up for another season, the network will have four versions of the reality dating series on the air.

Dungey also confirmed a "Roseanne" revival is in the works.

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. "The Good Doctor"

TUESDAY
8:00 p.m. "The Middle"
8:30 p.m. "Fresh Off the Boat" (new time period)
9:00 p.m. "black-ish" (new day and time period)
9:30 p.m. "The Mayor"
10:00 p.m. "The Gospel of Kevin"

WEDNESDAY
8:00 p.m. "The Goldbergs"
8:30 p.m. "Speechless"
9:00 p.m. "Modern Family"
9:30 p.m. "American Housewife" (new day and time period)
10:00 p.m. "Designated Survivor"

THURSDAY
8:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"
9:00 p.m. "Scandal"
10:00 p.m. "How to Get Away with Murder"

FRIDAY
8:00 p.m. "Once Upon a Time" (new day and time period)
9:00 p.m. "Marvel's Inhumans"
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. "To Tell the Truth" (new day and time period)
9:00 p.m. "Shark Tank" (new day and time period)
10:00 p.m. "Ten Days in the Valley"