By Jordan Walker
Scheduling chief gives deep thought on where to launch new fall and midseason shows.
Stephen McPherson, President of ABC Entertainment group, told advertisers at ABC’s Upfront Presentation that ABC’s goals for next year are to produce more hit comedies; develop solid 10 p.m. dramas; create “event television,” which are shows that viewers can’t miss.
Last fall, ABC took some of the biggest risks of any broadcast by launching nine new scripted shows in the fall (a large number for a network) and launching a comedy night with four new comedies on Wednesdays. Both of those risks paid off well. Only four out of the nine shows were cancelled, and ABC won one of its biggest hits in years with its Wednesday night comedy “Modern Family.” For the upcoming season, the network has ordered ten new series and has opted to debut an impressive seven this fall.
Monday nights will remain the same as the 2009-2010 season, with the stronger than ever reality show “Dancing with the Stars” from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the once bound for cancellation, but now striving procedural drama “Castle.”
A new drama airing on Tuesdays is “No Ordinary Family,” the show planned to be ABC’s “event television” show. The show stars Michael Chiklis as the patriarch of an ordinary family that changes drastically when they survive a plane crash into the Amazon River, and subsequently each develop a superpower. Think of “No Ordinary Family” as a live-action version of the animated movie “The Incredibles.” Executives felt that the 10 p.m. slot needed a lot of work, especially since the network didn’t take advantage of the lack of competition from NBC last season when that network aired the failure “The Jay Leno Show” each night at 10 p.m. Next season, ABC hopes its new 10 p.m. documentary–style police drama, “Detroit 1-8-7” starring Michael Imperioli, will remind viewers of another groundbreaking cop show that aired in that slot for more than a decade: “NYPD Blue.” In between “No Ordinary Family” and “Detroit 1-8-7” will be the “Dancing with the Stars” results show until November, followed by the second season of “V.”
ABC knew all along that it was going to bring back its Wednesday comedy night. The network will have “The Middle” kick off the night, followed by the new relationship comedy, “Better Together,” at 8:30 p.m. “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town” will remain paired at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., followed by the new drama “The Whole Truth” at 10 p.m. Hopefully this drama won’t get cancelled before the chance for a second season like the last six dramas that have aired in that timeslot.
On Thursdays another new drama entitled “My Generation” will air. The show will be a big gamble for ABC since it belongs more on The CW. Revolving around a group of high school students who were followed by a camera crew in their graduating year in 2000, the show takes place 10 years later when the classmates return for their class reunion. Following “My Generation” at 8 p.m. will be Thursday night mainstays “Grey’s Anatomy” and its spin-off, “Private Practice.”
Fox’s former reality show “Secret Millionaire” will make the move to ABC this fall on Fridays at 8 p.m. At 9 p.m. Dana Delaney will move as well, from Wisteria Lane to her own new drama, “Body of Proof,” in which she will play a neurosurgeon. The long-time newsmagazine “20/20” will air at 10 p.m.
ABC executives pondered hard on what to do with Sunday nights. They decided to have “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Brothers & Sisters” air from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. respectively. However, “Brothers & Sisters” only received an 18-episode order for the season, and will be replaced by Shonda Rhimes’ newest medical drama, “Off the Map.”
New midseason shows include “Off the Map,” as well as “Mr. Sunshine” and the new comedy “Happy Endings,” which will air later this fall.