Mirroring NBC, ABC will expand to a second night of comedies, with new Tuesday scripted half-hours Last Man Standing and Man Up leading into the returns of the live Dancing With the Stars Results Show and sophomore crime solver Body of Proof.
In total, ABC will add seven new series this fall (three comedies, four dramas), with changes impacting five nights of the week. Monday’s combination of Dancing With the Stars and Castle and Saturday Night College Football will remain intact.
“We had two goals in mind when we set up our lineup: stability for returning hits and real ambition for the new shows,” said Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment Group. “But we are just as ambitious in midseason as we are in the fall and recognize this is a 52-week business.”
As rumored, recent low-rated comedy Happy Endings made the cut, inheriting the Wednesday 9:30 p.m. half-hour out of Modern Family (and in place of Cougar Town, which returns in midseason). The Middle will remain the Wednesday 8 p.m. anchor, leading into new sitcom Suburgatory. At 10 p.m., drama Revenge inherits the perennially troubled time period, which housed two failed dramas this past season: The Whole Truth and Off the Map. Also like NBC, ABC has wisely trimmed back its current three-hour midweek comedy block to two.
The much talked about revival of Charlie’s Angels will open Thursday, leading into the return combination of Grey’s Anatomy and spin-off Private Practice. Veteran Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which lost noticeable steam this season, moves into the Friday 8 p.m. time period, followed by relocated Shark Tank and long-running newsmagazine 20/20.
Sunday caps off the week with two new scripted dramas: Once Upon a Time at 8 p.m. (out of America’s Funniest Home Videos) and Pan Am at 10 p.m. (out of Desperate Housewives). Highly touted new entry Good Christian Belles, which was expected to inherit the Sunday 10 p.m. hour, has been pushed back until midseason.
Other midseason entries on ABC are dramas Missing, The River and Scandal; and sitcoms Apartment 23 and Work It. Combined with midseason, ABC has 13 new series on the agenda.
That said, ABC has built a lineup that is both aggressive and consistent, with the majority of returning series remaining intact. But the network’s biggest obstacle remains aging hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, which are unlikely to stop the bleeding anything soon. Like anyone else, it is all about finding the next big hit. At first glance, that could be an uphill battle for ABC in 2011-12.
Not returning on ABC are dramas Brothers & Sisters, Off the Map, V, Detroit 1-8-7 and No Ordinary Family, and freshman comedy Better With You.
Here is ABC’s fall 2011 lineup (with new shows bolded in caps).
8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars (two hours)
10:00 p.m. Castle
8:00 p.m. LAST MAN STANDING
8:30 p.m. MAN UP
9:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars Results Show
10:00 p.m. Body of Proof
8:00 p.m. The Middle
8:30 p.m. SUBURGATORY
9:00 p.m. Modern Family
9:30 p.m. Happy Endings (new time)
10:00 p.m. REVENGE
8:00 p.m. CHARLIE’S ANGELS
9:00 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy
10:00 p.m. Private Practice
8:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (new day)
9:00 p.m. Shark Tank (new time)
10:00 p.m. 20/20
8:00 p.m. Saturday Night College Football
7:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos
8:00 p.m. ONCE UPON A TIME
9:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives
10:00 p.m. PAN AM
The new program descriptions are as follows:
Apartment 23 (Midseason)
Originally called The Bitch in Apartment 23, a sweet and optimistic girl from the heartland is forced to move in with a sexy, trouble-making party-girl roommate. Dreama Walker, Krysten Ritter, and James Van Der Beek star.
Last Man Standing
Former Home Improvement star Tim Allen is back as a so-called manly man working at a sporting goods store with wife who is now a top corporate executive, a 22-year-old daughter who works multiple jobs, and a slacker son who spends the majority of the day playing video games.
Three modern day men search for their identities and try to prove that there is also a sensitive family-driven side to “real men.” Mather Zickel, Christopher Moynihan, Henry Simmons, and Teri Polo star.
A New York City based single father (Jeremy Sisto) raising a 16-year-old girl (Jane Levy) heads to the suburbs, where life is not as innocent and simple as he thinks.
Work It (Midseason)
Shades of Bosom Buddies, two recently unemployed men (Ben Koldyke and Amaury Nolasco) play out-of-work car salesmen who dress as women to work as pharmaceutical reps.
An update of the classic 1976-81 campy crime solver (and recent theatrical series) about three women who work for a private investigation agency, this time set in Miami. Robert Wagner is the voice of Charlie.
Good Christian Belles (Midseason)
Based on the book of the same name and executive produced by Darren Starr (Sex and the City), a recently divorced mother of two (Leslie Bibb) moves back to the affluent Texas neighborhood where she grew up and discovers a malicious group of women in the Christian community.
After a woman (Ashley Judd) learns her son is missing while studying abroad, it’s a race against time as she rushes to Europe to track him down and protect her family.
Once Upon a Time
A young bail bonds collector (Jennifer Morrison), who is contacted by the 10-year-old child she gave up years ago, finds herself in a town where fairy tales are real.
Described as Mad Men meets Grey’s Anatomy, Addams Family star Christina Ricci leads the ensemble cast in this soapy tale set in 1963 of a group of pilots and stewardesses at Pan Am Airlines.
Set in the Hamptons and described as a modern day retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo from a female perspective, a beautiful young woman (Emily Van Camp) goes on a mission to seek revenge on the people who took everything from her years earlier.
The River (Midseason)
A missing adventurer (Bruce Greenwood) and the family that heads into the Amazon to try to find him is the focus of this action/adventure.
Kerry Washington plays a professional fixer who makes problems go away before anyone knows they exist in this new drama from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. Henry Ian Cusick (Lost) and Tony Goldwyn co-star.