Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2015 Upfront Answers, ABC

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2015 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

ABC's upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Fall 2015 Schedule
8-10 P.M. — Dancing with the Stars
10-11 P.M. — Castle

My Question: Is Castle just too weak (and maybe Dancing with the Stars too strong) for this pairing to survive yet again?

Nope. I said last week that it'd be pretty egregious if another seemingly solid fit like Forever was kept away from this slot, but none of the three new dramas seem like nearly as obvious a pairing. Not great, but no huge opportunity is probably lost here.


Fall 2015 Schedule
8-8:30 P.M. — THE MUPPETS
8:30-9 P.M. — Fresh Off the Boat
9-10. PM. — Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
10-11 P.M. — QUANTICO

My Question: Will ABC put more or less responsibility on Agents of SHIELD?

Despite the Agents of SHIELD spin-off not coming through, "more" is still the answer, as the network will try to get SHIELD's male-skewing audience to stay tuned for the seemingly Homeland-esque thriller Quantico.


Fall 2015 Schedule
8-8:30 P.M. — The Middle
8:30-9 P.M. — The Goldbergs
9-9:30 P.M. — Modern Family
9:30-10 P.M. — Black-ish
10-11 P.M. — Nashville

My Question: Which comedies, if any, change nights on ABC's best Wednesday lineup yet?

None! The Muppets seemed to be a fast riser in development updates, so a fall berth seemed possible. If any new comedy had to be thrown to Tuesday, it's the best choice, as it should have the self-starting potential to make something happen. It also seemed like ABC didn't much like its comedy development, and there were risks in moving any of these four to Tuesday that might have had too much downside to justify propping up a middling family comedy. So sticking with this very successful night isn't a huge shock.


Fall 2015 Schedule
8-9 P.M. — Grey's Anatomy
9-10 P.M. — Scandal
10-11 P.M. — How to Get Away with Murder

My Question: What's going on in December and beyond?

Shonda Rhimes' The Catch is slated to replace How to Get Away with Murder, which is a much safer choice thematically than American Crime. Not sure as of this writing about the holiday hiatus?


Fall 2015 Schedule
8-8:30 P.M. — Last Man Standing
8:30-9 P.M. — DR. KEN
9-10 P.M. — Shark Tank
10-11 P.M. — 20/20

My Question: Does the multi-camera comedy block survive?

Yep. Apparently Uncle Buck is gonna make his way into the mix later in the season as well, but if Dr. Ken does really well they may find somewhere else.


Fall 2015 Schedule
7-8 P.M. — America's Funniest Home Videos
8-9 P.M. — Once Upon a Time
9-10 P.M. — OIL

My Question: When and where will Secrets and Lies be seen again?

It's currently slated to fill the Nashville hiatus on Wednesday, setting up the real possibility for another DWTS/Bachelor dynamic where the bridge programming outrates the "main" occupant. It's probably not a bad situation at all for Secrets, as this was where Revenge surprised in its first season.

But don't be stunned if it must get pushed back into Sunday duty, as the network is going with two new dramas in the 9:00 and 10:00 hours. It might be a decent lead-in option for The Family, slated to launch after the Oscars. They will hope that Oil can pick up the same kind of heat in the 9/8c hour with a not-that-compatible Once lead-in as Secrets and Lies did.


This is a very "rest on your laurels" schedule from a network that had a great season, as ABC declined to give its best 9:30 lead-ins and best comedy lead-ins to new programming. I don't think the network really needed to keep both of its weakest fall schedule renewals Castle and Nashville in the same slots. But it's certainly not as egregious as Fox's Empire situation. The difference between the late-season ratings from "good" lead-ins DWTS and Black-ish and "bad" ones Agents of SHIELD and Once is only like a half point, and some of that might be recouped through compatibility for the newbies and stability for the vets.

Not a whole lot to say here, really. ABC had a good year and they decided if they were gonna err, it would be on the side of extreme caution. I can't say it seems like much of a show of faith in the new series, but maybe that will be vindicated in the end.

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