ABC had a surprise midseason hit with its revival of Roseanne, which went on to become the No. 1 entertainment series on broadcast TV in total viewers and 18-49. So the network decided that it won’t wait until halfway through next season for the show to give it another ratings boost.
Roseanne will return this fall in ABC’s 2018-19 schedule, the network announced this morning. And after a one-night sneak preview last March, the network is giving Alec Baldwin his own weekly prime-time talk show, The Alec Baldwin Show, on Sunday nights.
In other unscripted news, ABC is launching a kids version of Dancing With the Stars, Dancing With the Stars: Juniors, which it originally announced during last year’s upfront. The show will pair celebrity kids with professional junior ballroom dancers.
On the strength of Roseanne and breakout freshman drama The Good Doctor, ABC is now tied for second place with CBS and Fox this season among 18- to 49-year-olds after being relegated to fourth place for five of the past six seasons.
“We have a lot of stability coming into this season,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told reporters this morning.
Mondays are unchanged next fall, with Dancing With the Stars, followed by new hit medical drama The Good Doctor.
Roseanne will start off the fall at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, followed by new comedy The Kids Are Alright, about an Irish-Catholic family of 10 living in a three-bedroom home in 1970s L.A. That series stars The Walking Dead’s Michael Cudlitz.
The Tuesday comedy block continues with Black-ish and Splitting Up Together. They lead in to new drama The Rookie, starring Castle’s Nathan Fillion, who returns to the network to play the LAPD’s oldest rookie officer.
Dungey admitted that Tuesdays at 10 “has been a challenging time period of us in the past,” but said the show should appeal to the same broad audience that Roseanne does at the beginning of the night.
ABC’s Wednesday comedy block kicks off with three returning series: The Goldbergs, American Housewife and Modern Family. While this is expected to be Modern Family’s final season, Dungey said she is open to additional seasons if the show’s producers are.
They are followed by new sitcom Single Parents from New Girl creator Liz Meriwether, which focuses on a group of friends and single parents—including Taran Killam and Leighton Meester—trying to raise their 7-year-old kids.
The night ends with new drama A Million Little Things, about a group of friends who feel stuck in their lives and are jolted when one of them dies. Dungey said this series was “our highest-testing pilot” and is “a really emotionally resonant show.”
Even though Scandal has wrapped its run, ABC is able to keep the TGIT moniker intact with a night of three dramas produced by Shonda Rhimes: Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19 and How to Get Away With Murder. Dungey said ABC’s fourth show from Rhimes, For the People, will take over for How to Get Away With Murder at midseason.
The network is adding a third comedy block to Friday nights, after switching to dramas last season. Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless, which used to air on Tuesdays, are pairing up on the night, followed by returning game show Child Support and 20/20. Ironically, Fresh Off the Boat will face off against Fox’s Last Man Standing, which occupied that same time slot during its six seasons on ABC.
“We did really well with comedies on Friday for many years. We feel like we’re returning to form with that,” said Dungey, who thinks both sitcoms are “strong enough to survive the move” to Fridays.
College football will continue on Saturday nights.
Finally, after struggling with dramas on Sunday nights, ABC is going with an all-unscripted lineup, which Dungey said offer strong counter-programming to NBC’s Sunday Night Football: America’s Funniest Home Videos, Dancing With the Stars: Juniors, Shark Tank and The Alec Baldwin Show.
Dungey said the first batch of Baldwin’s shows will be shot next month, but “we’re still figuring out exactly what the format will be” and whether it will include a studio audience or not.
ABC’s midseason shows include the comedy Schooled, a ’90s spinoff of The Goldbergs, which follows the teachers of William Penn Academy, including Tim Meadows and AJ Michalka.
There are also three new dramas waiting in the wings:
Based on a Spanish series and produced by Eva Longoria, Grand Hotel is an upstairs-downstairs take on a family-owned hotel in Miami Beach. It stars Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez.
Whiskey Cavalier focuses on an FBI agent (Scandal’s Scott Foley) and a CIA operative (The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohen) who pair up to head an interagency team.
There’s also The Fix, a drama executive produced by Marcia Clark about a former prosecutor (Robin Tunney) who leaves L.A. for Oregon after losing the biggest case of her career, prosecuting an A-list actor for a double murder (sound familiar?). She is lured back eight years later when the celeb is accused of another murder.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD will be held until next summer, Dungey said, which she thinks could extend the life of the show longer given the reduced ratings expectations and competition during the summer months.
ABC will hold its upfront this afternoon at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall in New York.
ABC Fall 2018-19 Schedule
(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. — Roseanne
8:30-9 p.m. — THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
9-9:30 p.m. — Black-ish
9:30-10 p.m. — Splitting Up Together
10-11 p.m. — THE ROOKIE
8-8:30 p.m. — The Goldbergs
8:30-9 p.m. — American Housewife (new time slot)
9-9:30 p.m. — Modern Family
9:30-10 p.m. — SINGLE PARENTS
10-11 p.m. — A MILLION LITTLE THINGS
8-9 p.m. — Grey’s Anatomy
9-10 p.m. — Station 19
10-11 p.m. — How to Get Away With Murder
8-8:30 p.m. — Fresh Off the Boat (new time slot)
8:30-9 p.m. — Speechless (new time slot)
9-10 p.m. — Child Support (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. — DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORS
9-10 p.m. — Shark Tank
10-11 p.m. — THE ALEC BALDWIN SHOW
American Idol, The Bachelor, THE FIX, For the People, GRAND HOTEL, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, SCHOOLED, WHISKEY CAVALIER