May 8, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15: ABC Pick-Ups and Renewals


ABC, unlike all the other networks, didn’t renew all its sure-thing returning shows weeks ago, so it had a lot to announce today.  Most of these aren’t surprising, but the following series will be back next season:  SCANDAL, GREY’S ANATOMY, MODERN FAMILY, ONCE UPON A TIME, RESURRECTION, REVENGE, CASTLE, AGENTS OF SHIELD, THE GOLDBERGS, and THE MIDDLE.  It’s believed that LAST MAN STANDING is returning as well, but for the moment that may be a piece in a larger discussion between ABC and the show’s studio 20th Century Fox TV, which has some pilots still in play.

ABC hasn’t confirmed any cancellations yet, and it’s possible some more renewals are on the way tomorrow, but at the moment, conspicuously absent from the renewal list are NASHVILLE, TROPHY WIFE, and SUBURGATORY.  Less surprisingly missing:  THE NEIGHBORS (dammit), SUPER FUN NIGHT and MIXOLOGY.

The network also announced quite a few pick-ups:

DRAMAS (note:  ABC had already given straight-to-series orders to THE CLUB and ASTRONAUT WIVES’ CLUB )

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER:  Even if all this show had going for it was “produced by Shonda Rhimes,” it probably would have gotten on the air, but as it happens, Viola Davis is also the powerhouse star, playing a criminal law professor who along with her students is embroiled in a murder.  The writer is Peter Nowalk, who has Grey’s Anatomy in his credits, and the pilot was directed by Michael Offer.  It’s an in-house ABC Studios production.

AMERICAN CRIME:  Another legal thriller with high-class credentials, this time a script by John Ridley, who just won an Oscar for 12 Years A Slave.  (He also directed the pilot.)  The cast includes Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman, and it’s from ABCS.

AGENT CARTER:  This much-rumored top secret Marvel project never had an official pilot, but it’s an offshoot of the first Captain America movie (also the subject of a short on the Captain America DVD), about the title character (Hayley Atwell) and the development of SHIELD during the post-WWII era.  It’s not clear whether this will be a standalone series, or if it will run during the winter break between the fall and spring portions of the Agents of SHIELD season.

THE WHISPERS:  sounds like a potential companion piece to Resurrection, this time about aliens trying to take over Earth through unwitting children.  The cast includes Lily Rabe and Milo Ventimiglia, the writer is Soo Hugh, who’s written on The Killing and Under the Dome, the pilot director was Mark Romanek, and it’s also from ABCS.

FOREVER:  Along with CW’s iZombie, a medical examiner-driven procedural with a fantasy twist, this one being that the hero (Ioan Gruffudd) is immortal.  His co-stars include Alana De La Garza and Joel David Moore, the series creator is Matt Miller, a writer/producer on 666 Park Avenue, and the show is from Warners.


GALAVANT:  Dan Fogelman was one of two ABC series creators to get both good and bad news today.  His underrated comedy The Neighbors was canceled (apparently), but he has a new series, and this one sounds equally oddball:  an original fairy-tale musical, with a score by multi-Oscar winner Alan Menken.  Those who watched the musical episode of The Neighbors will find this prospect quite intriguing (unfortunately, there aren’t many of those).  It’s an ABCS show.

SELFIE:  Also having a good news/bad news day:  Suburgatory creator Emily Kapnek, whose new project is a modern (although non-musical) take on My Fair Lady about a scandal-ridden reformed narcissist who hires an image consultant to make her over.  It’s from Warners.

MANHATTAN LOVE STORY:  ABC’s new comedies don’t lack for gimmicks, and this one is that we hear the internal thoughts of the couple (Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman) who’ve just started dating.  (Think Strange Interlude, but without the Eugene O’Neill-ness.)  The series creator is Jeff Lowell, who’s worked on sitcoms all the way back to Cybill and Spin City, and it’s from ABCS.

BLACK-ISH:  Anthony Anderson was the best thing about NBC’s defunct Guys With Kids, and now he has a family sit-com of his own.  It’s inspired by the real life of series creator Kenya Barris (of The Game), and it’s worth noting that the showrunner will be the great Larry Wilmore, while Laurence Fishburne is both a producer and a recurring guest star.  It’s another in-house production.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."