May 12, 2015

NIELSENWAR: The ABC Fall Schedule (with Trailer Reviews)


ABC made some impressive strides this past season, especially on Wednesday and Thursday, and it was probably wise that the network decided to adopt a conservative schedule for the Fall.  Here’s a quick look, along with the network’s reported midseason plans, and reviews of the new shows’ trailers (new shows are in ALL CAPS, new timeslots are in italics):


8PM:  Dancing With the Stars

9PM:  Castle

The night is working well enough, and while Castle in particular may be getting too pricey for much more tenure, there was no reason to make changes.


8PM:  THE MUPPETS (trailer here)

8:30PM:  Fresh Off the Boat

9PM:  Agents of SHIELD

10PM:  QUANTICO (trailer here)

MIDSEASON:  THE MUPPETS will have a limited run, and when it’s done, FRESH OFF THE BOAT moves to 8PM, and THE REAL O’NEALS (trailer here) will take over at 8:30PM.  Also, WICKED CITY (trailer here) will inherit QUANTICO’s slot (although QUANTICO may return in the Spring if it gets a back order), and AGENT CARTER will once again hold the fort for AGENTS OF SHIELD during the winter.

The Muppets looks like it could be a slam-dunk, with a more sophisticated (mock-doc) approach to the family franchise that could appeal to young and old.  That would only help Fresh Off The Boat, (which matches up well with Real O’Neals in the cheerfully-dysfunctional-family subgenre ABC has claimed as its own) and might even carry over to Agents of SHIELDQuantico‘s pilot looks like it just establishes the premise for the show (Grey’s at the FBI morphing into a conspiracy thriller), but it’s  a slick faux-Shondaland hour that makes it the most promising show ABC has had in that slot in a long time.  Wicked City a crime anthology series with this edition about a serial killer in 1980s LA, appears to be a solid substitute for Quantico fans when that one is off the air.


8PM:  The Middle

8:30PM:  The Goldbergs

9PM:  Modern Family

9:30PM:  Black-ish

10PM:  Nashville

MIDSEASON:  A new version of SECRETS & LIES (mostly recast, with a new storyline) will take NASHVILLE’s slot between the two halves of that show’s season.

There were a couple of moves the network could have made here, slotting Fresh Off the Boat into the comedy line-up, or moving Black-ish away from what will now be fall and spring stanzas of Empire.  But all 2 hours of the comedy block are working, for the first time since Modern Family began, and hands-off seems like a smart approach.  Nashville will never be a smash, but it was competitive with CBS and NBC at 10PM.


8PM:  Grey’s Anatomy

9PM:  Scandal

10PM:  How To Get Away With Murder

MIDSEASON:  Shonda Rhimes’ new THE CATCH (trailer here) will take over for MURDER after that show finishes its 15-episode season

No surprise, The Catch looks like it’s utterly on-brand with the night (Mireille Enos, far more glam than on The Killing, as a fraud investigator who gets conned by her own boyfriend), and if it lives up to its trailer, the segue between Murder and it should be seamless, allowing for a full season of A-level ratings all night.


8PM:  Last Man Standing

8:30PM:  DR. KEN (trailer here)

9PM:  Shark Tank

10PM:  20/20

Last Man Standing is tired (and ABC doesn’t own it), but Dr. Ken seems like a good fit, so perhaps an extra tenth or two can be squeezed out of the hour.


7PM:  America’s Funniest Home Videos

8PM:  Once Upon A Time

9PM:  OIL (trailer here)

10PM:  OF KINGS AND PROPHETS (trailer here)

MIDSEASON:  THE FAMILY (trailer here) will move into the OF KINGS AND PROPHETS slot.  Also, GALAVANT will again bridge the halves of ONCE UPON A TIME’s season.  

Oil is a neo-Dallas soap, and it’s certainly ABC’s kind of show.  The network’s one big swing is Of Kings and Prophets, which looks all too much like recent failures The Dovekeepers and AD, complete with the stilted dialogue.  If that doesn’t work, though, The Family seems a much better fit, a soap mystery about a missing boy who returns to his troubled family years later–if it’s really him.

NOT YET SCHEDULED:  The new UNCLE BUCK (trailer here), and the rebooted AMERICAN CRIME, which will feature a new story but some of the same cast members a la AMERICAN HORROR STORY.

OVERALL:  ABC’s Wednesday and Thursday are doing very well (and THE CATCH may make Thursday into even more of a season-long powerhouse), DR. KEN certainly won’t hurt Fridays, and Mondays, while dull, are puttering along.  THE MUPPETS and QUANTICO give the network more hope for a strong Tuesday than it’s had in memory.  Sunday, with 2 new dramas, is a riskier proposition, and OF KINGS AND PROPHETS could be an early casualty, but there’s enough on the shelves that ABC seems poised for some further steps forward.





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."