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

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.