ABC Renews 'Private Practice,' 'Body of Proof,' 'Apt. 23,' 'Scandal,' 'Last Man Standing'; Cancels 4 Freshman Shows
UPDATED: The female-skewing network will give "Grey's Anatomy's" Shonda Rhimes three series on its schedule for the second year in a row, while canceling "GCB," "Pan Am," "Missing" and "The River."
ABC has renewed Private Practice, Body of Proof, freshman series Scandal Don't Trust the B---- in Apt 23 and Last Man Standing and canceled first-year entries GCB, Pan Am, Missing and The River.
Shonda Rhimes drama Scandal, which bumped the prolific showrunner's Private Practice from its longtime home on Thursday nights, has for the most part held on to its Grey's lead-in viewership. The seven-episode first season D.C.-set political fixer drama starring Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn has been a format Rhimes has said she enjoys.
"Season 1 feels like a British miniseries in that it's only seven episodes. It feels more like State of Play than like a regular network show," Rhimes told THR. "The seven episodes work as a whole; we're telling a story in which there's a little bit of a cliffhanger at the end of every episode. When you leave at the end of the season, while you have a lot of questions that need to be answered, the larger part of the mystery or intrigue that was happening this season is finished."
For its part, Private Practice has had a mixed run in its new home on Tuesday. The Kate Walsh drama lost 19 percent of its viewership in its first week in the new slot, but rebounded afterward -- with Rhimes using spoilers in an active Twitter campaign to raise awareness for the show's new night in its fifth season. With its sixth-season renewal, the ABC Studios series will keep Rhimes busy with three series on ABC's schedule for the second year in a row. Her period drama pilot Gilded Lilys, meanwhile, does not appear to be moving forward.
Freshman comedy Apt. 23 -- from 20th Television and starring James Van Der Beek, Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker -- will return for a second season. The series about a good girl who moves in with a woman with the morals of a pirate, playing a heightened version of himself, has been a consistent performer in the sweet post-Modern Family time slot on Wednesdays after bowing midseason to positive buzz surrounding the former Dawson's Creek star's comedic performance.
Body of Proof, from ABC Studios and starring Dana Delany as a medical examiner, wrapped its second season in April, drawing 10 million viewers and a 1.9 in the coveted demo against competition including CBS' Unforgettable and NBC's Fashion Star. While not a breakout word-of-mouth performer for the network, it stands as ABC's lone crime procedural on the schedule, enough to warrant a third season.
Although a far cry from Tim Allen's ABC 1990s juggernaut Home Improvement, Last Man Standing managed to lure a broader, more male audience for a network that skews heavily female. Still, the sitcom, which came out of the gate strong in early October with roughly 13 million viewers, took a predictable tumble in the weeks since. The network gave the 20th Television comedy a full-season order in November, adding two more installments in January to bring its freshman tally to 24 episodes. Its season finale aired May 1. For their part, Last Man Standing consulting producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman's Fox pilot Rebounding -- with Modern Family's Steve Levitan attached -- was passed over at Fox. Showrunner Kevin Abbott, who replaced Jack Burditt on Last Man, also saw his comedy pilot Malibu Country with Reba McEntire ordered to series at the network.
Scandal, Apt. 23, Private Practice, Last Man Standing and Body of Proof join scripted series Happy Endings, Grey's, Suburgatory, Revenge, The Middle, Castle, Modern Family and Once Upon a Time has having been picked up for additional seasons. On the unscripted side, ABC has renewed Dancing With the Stars, Shark Tank, America's Funniest Home Videos, Wife Swap and The Bachelor for additional runs.
Meanwhile, despite the star power of Kristin Chenoweth, freshman drama GCB will not move forward. The soapy drama opened to modest returns in March and failed to make the anticipated splash required to become the network's replacement for Desperate Housewives. From Robet Harling and Darren Star and starring Leslie Bibb as a former mean girl who returns home to her Texas hometown, the series hit a series low in mid-April despite a recent uptick.
ABC grounded period drama Pan Am in late November, when star Karine Vanasse let the news slip that the network would only air one of the additional five scripts it ordered just weeks prior before benching the series until January. Despite a promising bow in September, the Sony Pictures Television drama starring Christina Ricci lost more than 3 million viewers and sliding from a 3.1 to a 2.6 in the demo in its second airing. The big bet -- the studio is said to have spent $10 million on the pilot for the 1960s airline drama -- also faced behind-the-scenes drama, replacing showrunners after a month on the air.
Despite a pedigree that included Paranormal Activity creators and Steven Spielberg, horror drama The River failed to cut through the clutter during its eight-episode limited run on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., ending its season with 3.9 million total viewers and a 1.4 in the demo, down dramatically from the nearly 8 million who tuned in for the two-hour opener. The documentary-style effort from ABC Studios and starring Bruce Greenwood was a favorite of network topper Paul Lee, who saw the series as the network's attempt to enter the horror genre. "It's a risk, but it's one I love taking. I'm absolutely open to looking at new genres," he told THR in November ahead of the series' February premiere.
Star wattage in Missing's lead Ashley Judd wasn't enough to get the CIA mystery spy thriller a second season after it bypassed the pilot process and was ordered straight to a 10-episode series. Bowing to 10 million in March, recent hours of the Thursday drama that co-stars Game of Thrones' Sean Bean -- have tumbled since.
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