May 13, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15: The ABC Schedule – Grid and Instant Analysis


Come February, Thursday nights are going to feature an old-fashioned broadcast network slugfest, as ABC’s announcement that Scandal is moving to 9PM will put it squarely in the path of NBC’s The Blacklist when that series moves at midseason–may the best crazy plot twist-laden melodrama win.  The Scandal move is part of ABC’s new all-Shonda Rhimes Thursday, and that’s just the start of the network’s changes.  Here’s the scoop:

ABC Fall Schedule 2014

MONDAY:  No changes to the DANCING WITH THE STARS/CASTLE line-up, which makes sense considering that CBS will probably drop without How I Met Your Mother, and NBC’s Monday may have peaked, especially with its Katherine Heigl drama taking the place of The Blacklist.

TUESDAY:  AGENTS OF SHIELD is moving to 9PM, where it has a chance to thrive against sitcoms on both NBC (the 9PM show untried) and FOX (low-rated), and the aging NCIS LA, assuming no move by CBS in the hour.  ABC will launch its own sitcoms in the 8PM hour, SELFIE from the creator of Suburgatory and then MANHATTAN LOVE STORY.  Both are somewhat high-concept (Selfie is modeled after My Fair Lady, and Manhattan features the characters’ thoughts spoken aloud), and expectations will be low against The Voice.  In the black hole that has been Tuesday 10PM, ABC will try the otherworldly procedural FOREVER, which won’t have to achieve much to improve the network’s recent performance there.  (Note:  Marvel’s AGENT CARTER will run in the SHIELD slot during the winter break between SHIELD‘s winter and midseason arcs, allowing for an almost unbroken flow of Marvel material, an expensive but potentially beneficial strategy.)

WEDNESDAY:  THE MIDDLE and MODERN FAMILY retain their 8PM and 9PM slots, with THE GOLDBERGS forming a sensible pair with The Middle and the new Anthony Anderson comedy BLACK-ISH getting the post Modern Family prize.  Whatever Black-ish may be, it’s sure to be more compatible with Modern Family than Don’t Trust the B____, Super Fun Night or Mixology, since it’s about, you know, a family.  NASHVILLE keeps its 10PM hour.

THURSDAY:  Welcome to Shonda Rhimes Thursdays, as GREY’S ANATOMY and SCANDAL each shift back an hour and Rhimes’ new thriller HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER takes the 10PM slot. Grey’s is certain to vastly improve ABC’s results at 8PM, and Murder will have no excuses if it doesn’t succeed at 10PM, but onlookers will be rubbing their hands together all fall waiting for Blacklist to make its midseason move to Thursdays so that the heavyweight bout can begin.

FRIDAY:  LAST MAN STANDING, SHARK TANK and 20/20 stay put, with the new sitcom CRISTELA airing at 8:30PM.  It features Latina comic Cristela Alonso as the semiautobiographical lead.  The word is that it tested well, and it also happens to feature several of the same producers, not to mention hailing from the same studio, as Last Man Standing.

SUNDAY:  AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS, ONCE UPON A TIME, RESURRECTION and REVENGE remain as-is, because if it ain’t broke (or in the case of Revenge, if it’s still barely holding together), don’t fix it.  Two footnotes:   Dan Fogelman’s seemingly very compatible musical fairy tale GALAVANT will run in the Once Upon a Time slot during the winter months, just as Agent Carter is doing on Tuesdays for Agents of SHIELD, and the legal soap AMERICAN CRIME will take over Resurrection‘s slot when that show is done for the season (it’s not clear how many episodes have been ordered).

ABC has the dramas SECRETS AND LIES and THE WHISPERS, as well as comedy FRESH OFF THE BOAT, on the shelf for midseason.

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."