ABC Prepares for a Final Season of Scandal and Revives Its Hit Sitcom Roseanne for Midseason

The Shonda Rhimes series will face off against This Is Us next season

The Kerry Washington drama will end next year, after seven seasons. Bob D’Amico/ABC
Headshot of Jason Lynch

ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey is shaking up almost every night of ABC’s schedule next season in an effort to jump-start the network after it finished fourth in adults 18-49 for the second consecutive season.

The new schedule, which she unveiled ahead of ABC’s upfront this afternoon at New York’s Lincoln Center, features new nights and time slots for some of the network’s most popular shows, including Black-ish, Shark Tank, Once Upon a Time and Fresh Off the Boat.

One show that is staying put: Scandal, which Dungey confirmed today will end after Season 7 next year. The show will continue to anchor Thursday’s TGIT lineup at 9 p.m., despite NBC’s aggressive scheduling move on Sunday to relocate This Is Us—the No. 2 broadcast series in adults 18-49—to the same time slot this fall, as part of its efforts to resurrect Must-See TV.

Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes “has had for a while a sense of where she wanted the story to end,” said Dungey, who said she would also prefer for a show to go out on top rather than fizzle out creatively. “It was a decision that she felt really good about and we support wholeheartedly.”

ABC is saving its most highly-anticipated show, the revival of American Idol, until midseason, but will be airing four new dramas and one new comedy this fall. Dungey told reporters today that she’s not ready yet to announce when Idol will premiere, or which night it will air. The only thing she can confirm for now: “This is going to be ABC’s version of American Idol,” she said. When it debuts, “it is going to have a very clear ABC hallmark and brand on it.”

But Idol isn’t the only hit show that ABC will be reviving in midseason: Dungey said the network has also landed the revival of its hit sitcom Roseanne. The eight-episode season will feature the return of original cast members Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson. Sarah Chalke, who replaced Goranson as daughter Becky in later seasons, will also return, in another role.

On Mondays, Dancing with the Stars will lead into new drama The Good Doctor, starring Bates Motel’s Freddie Highmore as a surgeon who has Savant syndrome who ends up working in a pediatric surgical unit of a hospital. The new drama is “one of our most broad appeal shows,” said Dungey.

Tuesday’s comedy lineup will shift Fresh Off the Boat to 8:30 p.m., after The Middle, with Black-ish moving from Wednesday to anchor the lineup at 9 p.m. “After three years behind Modern Family, Black-ish is ready to anchor its own night of television,” said Dungey.

That will lead into new comedy The Mayor, about a rapper who runs for office as a publicity stunt and is elected, only to find out he’s good at the job. New drama The Gospel of Kevin, about a man (Jason Ritter) ordered by God to save the world, airs at 10 p.m. “It tackles spirituality in a way that feels fresh and heartwarming,” said Dungey.

Wednesday’s comedy lineup remains mostly the same, with The Goldbergs, Speechless and Modern Family (renewed last year for Seasons 9 and 10), joined by American Housewife, moving over from Tuesday. Designated Survivor closes at the night at 10 p.m.

Thursday’s TGIT lineup—Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder—is unchanged.

On Friday, Once Upon a Time shifts to kick off the night at 8 p.m., followed by its new Marvel drama, Inhumans, and 20/20. Dungey said that Agents of SHIELD will air after Inhumans, which will debut in IMAX theaters three weeks ahead of its ABC premiere. Saturday Night Football will continue on Saturdays.

Sundays brings back America’s Funniest Home Videos, followed by game show To Tell the Truth at 8 p.m., and then a relocated Shark Tank at 9 p.m., which moves over from Fridays. At 10 p.m., ABC will air Ten Days in the Valley, a limited series starring Kyra Sedgwick as a TV producer whose young daughter goes missing.

ABC’s midseason dramas include The Crossing (about refugees from a war 250 years in the future who suddenly appear in a small American town, seeking asylum), Deception (a magician whose career is in ruins teams with the FBI, becoming the world’s first consulting illusionist to help solve crimes) and For the People (Shonda Rhimes’ latest, a legal drama about new lawyers working for the defense and prosecution on high-profile cases in Southern District of New York’s Federal Court).

Midseason comedies include Alex, Inc. (Zach Braff quits his journalism job and starts his own business) and Splitting Up Together (Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson are a couple who find that the only way to save their marriage is by getting divorced).

In addition to American Idol, ABC’s unscripted midseason lineup will feature spinoffs of two reality franchises: Dancing with the Stars Junior (pairing celebrity kids with professional junior ballroom dancers) and The Bachelor Winter Games (featuring previous Bachelor and Bachelorette participants).

ABC is jumping on the live musical bandwagon next season, with a two-hour live version of The Little Mermaid—combining the animated film with live musical performances—set to air on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Dungey recently told Adweek that after drama fizzles like Notorious, Conviction and Time After Time, “I want to figure out exactly what our drama brand is, outside of TGIT” shows from Shonda Rhimes. “I am very interested in broadening our portfolio of drama to include some lighter, brighter [shows], maybe even a one-hour comedy in the vein of Desperate Housewives or Ugly Betty.”


(New programs in ALL CAPS)

8-10 p.m. — Dancing With the Stars
10-11 p.m. — THE GOOD DOCTOR

8-8:30 p.m. — The Middle
8:30-9 p.m. — Fresh Off the Boat (new time slot)
9-9:30 p.m. — Black-ish (new time slot)
9:30-10 p.m. — THE MAYOR
10-11 p.m. — THE GOSPEL OF KEVIN

8-8:30 p.m. — The Goldbergs
8:30-9 p.m. — Speechless
9-9:30 p.m. — Modern Family
9:30-10 p.m. — American Housewife (new time slot)
10-11 p.m. — Designated Survivor

8-9 p.m. — Grey’s Anatomy
9-10 p.m. — Scandal
10-11 p.m. — How to Get Away With Murder

8-9 p.m. — Once Upon a Time (new time slot)
10-11 p.m. — 20/20

8-11 p.m. — Saturday Night Football

7-8 p.m. — America’s Funniest Home Videos
8-9 p.m. — To Tell the Truth (new time slot)
9-10 p.m. — Shark Tank


@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.