Tuesday, May 15, 2018

2018 Upfront Answers: ABC


The schedule is coming, and with it the Upfront Answers!

ABC's upfront previews: Renewology | Upfront Questions

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







Monday

8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30
Dancing with the StarsDancing with the StarsDancing with the StarsDancing with the StarsThe Good DoctorThe Good Doctor

Spot's Question: Will The Good Doctor go somewhere else?

Nope. Like I said last week, I was leaning toward it not happening just because none of the individual possibilities really jumped out. Let's see how the comedy landscape looks next year.



Tuesday

8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30
RoseanneTHE KIDS ARE ALRIGHTBlack-ishSplitting Up TogetherTHE ROOKIETHE ROOKIE

Spot's Question: What basks in the glow of Roseanne?

The network sticks with a two-hour comedy block, including a new show at 8:30. Admittedly I was kinda hoping for Black-ish and American Housewife to re-switch nights, but it's probably not a huge deal. At 10/9c, the network hopes Nathan Fillion can attract some audience with his new crime drama The Rookie. Maybe not a great bet, but probably a better one than last year's Kevin (Probably) Saves the World (at least for initial sampling).



Wednesday

8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30
The GoldbergsAmerican HousewifeModern FamilySINGLE PARENTSA MILLION LITTLE THINGSA MILLION LITTLE THINGS

Spot's Question: How hard will ABC try to turn around a fading Wednesday?

The big news is they've given the 10/9c hour to the seemingly buzzy drama pilot A Million Little Things. Like The Rookie, it will have to attract some of its own audience, but I'm not ready to count it out. An interesting wrinkle here is that American Housewife is at 8:30, while newbie Single Parents goes to 9:30. It's hard to discern what they actually think about Single Parents; 8:30 is probably the better slot in general, and this arrangement forces Parents to be the lead-in for another new series. But ABC should know all that, so maybe they just see Single Parents as a better fit with AMLT. From the synopsis, I could buy that.



Thursday

8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30
Grey's AnatomyGrey's AnatomyStation 19Station 19How to Get Away with MurderHow to Get Away with Murder

Spot's Question: Can the TGIT brand endure in a post-Scandal world?

Big time. I sort of off-handedly threw in the possibility of a For the People renewal in last week's post just because it seemed like the only way to truly keep that branding alive for another full season, and it looks like that is actually what they're going for here (with FTP replacing Murder at midseason). Station 19 gets a good shot to see what it can do in the fall. S19 and FTP are not exactly lighting the world up right now, but clinging to TGIT is understandable from ABC's perspective given most of the rest of the drama department.



Friday

8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30
Fresh Off the BoatSpeechlessChild SupportChild Support20/2020/20

Spot's Question: Will ABC put forth more effort to get first-run ratings on Friday?

Yep. A comedy hour takes over for Once Upon a Time, while an unscripted hour replaces the Marvel shows at 9/8c. Child Support will not provide the Friday night resurrection that Shark Tank would have, but it's probably still a better fit with 20/20 than last year's setup.



Sunday

8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30
DANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORSDANCING WITH THE STARS: JUNIORSShark TankShark TankTHE ALEC BALDWIN SHOWTHE ALEC BALDWIN SHOW

Spot's Question: Will Sunday in the fall remain a holding pattern?

Yep. It's all unscripted, all the time. Wiping out most of the drama bubble (plus Agents of SHIELD headed to the summer) was a big move for ABC on the renew/cancel front, but it forced the network to reach pretty deep into the bag of tricks just to fill out the schedule. A third hour of Dancing with the Stars in the fall is deep indeed. I might have just gone with repeats of America's Funniest Home Videos at 7 into originals at 8, but the networks seem to not like regularly-scheduled repeats at the upfront. Either way, it's gotta be better than The Toy Box?



FINAL THOUGHTS

The broad stroke here is that ABC has little drama depth, so let's go light on dramas. Eight reality/news hours, five comedy hours and just six drama hours is a pretty unconventional setup nowadays. But it seems like a much more efficient approach than last year's plan, which was basically to light a bunch of drama newbies on fire and start over at midseason. Without a move of The Good Doctor or a breakup of TGIT, there was really no good way to "launch" dramas, but The Rookie and A Million Little Things seem like shows that could have the juice to succeed under less than ideal circumstances. There are definitely some quibbles to be had, like whether newbie into newbie on Wednesday or DWTS: Juniors on Sunday is necessary. But they don't feel like issues that will make or break the fall. (Maybe I am underestimating Single Parents' potential to bomb out.)

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