9:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Upfronts: ABC Fall Schedule Slots 'Muppets' on Tuesday, Moves Few Returning Series
ABC's new fall schedule looks a lot like last year's. And why shouldn't it? The network was the only Big Four net to improve its showing among adults 18-49 and total viewers this past season and renewed an overwhelming number of its freshman series.
It should come as little surprise that three nights haven't even changed at all. Thursday's suite of Shonda Rhimes dramas — Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder — was a runaway success upon its launch, giving the network its strongest showing on the night in years. Few would have suspected it was going to be altered in any way. And since Murder is again a shorter order, the 10 p.m. hour will likely be home to new Shondaland drama The Catch. That's one of many new orders that won't appear until midseason.
Finally finding a good fit for Modern Family in Black-ish, Wednesday's block (with fellow comedies The Middle and The Goldbergs and lead-out Nashville) isn't changing either. And Monday's pairing of Dancing With the Stars and Castle isn't going anywhere either.
The most interesting choice for the new schedule might be the Tuesday, 8 p.m., slot for The Muppets. The buzzy, family-friendly project moves into the half-hour that was such a problem for comedy until Fresh Off the Boat broke out earlier this year. That series is being rewarded in its return, airing after The Muppets. Tuesday will again be home to Agents of SHIELD and the problematic 10 p.m. time slot is now going to freshman Quantico.
"Our new slate of shows continues the momentum from last year," said ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee. "ABC was the most buzzed-about network and the only major network to hold on to its audience and to grow in the target demo. Our 2015-16 schedule, with new shows and returning favorites that reflect our commitment to world-class storytelling, will solidify ABC's place as the network that raises the bar for what viewers expect from broadcast television."
So what does look new? Sundays — at least a little. The post-Once Upon a Time drama vacancies will be filled by freshmen Oil and Of Kings and Prophets. Friday also gets some new blood from Dr. Ken, airing in the half-hour previously occupied by Cristela.
The list of shows pushed to midseason is almost too long to mention, but the fall absence of the Uncle Buck reboot and hot pilot The Family might be the most noticeable. Also left on ABC's bench: three anthologies, including returning seasons of American Crime and Secrets and Lies as well as freshman Wicked City.
ABC's Fall Schedule
8:00 p.m. Dancing With the Stars
10:00 p.m. Castle
8:00 p.m. The Muppets
8:30 p.m. Fresh Off the Boat
9:00 p.m. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10:00 p.m. Quantico
8:00 p.m. The Middle
8:30 p.m. The Goldbergs
9:00 p.m. Modern Family
9:30 p.m. Black-ish
10:00 p.m. Nashville
8:00 p.m. Grey's Anatomy
9:00 p.m. Scandal
10:00 p.m. How to Get Away With Murder
8:00 p.m. Last Man Standing
8:30 p.m. Dr. Ken
9:00 p.m. Shark Tank
10:00 p.m. 20/20
8:00 p.m. Saturday Night Football
7:00 p.m. America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00 p.m. Once Upon a Time
9:00 p.m. Oil
10:00 p.m. Of Kings and Prophets