'Speechless,' 'Fresh Off the Boat' Renewed at ABC


Following an extended deal-making process, ABC has handed out renewals to 20th Century Fox Television-produced comedies Speechless and Fresh Off the Boat.

Another nostalgic single-camera effort, the '90s-set Fresh Off the Boat seems like it could easily ride on critical appreciation alone. Awards remain elusive, but the show has minted stars out of leads Constance Wu and Randall Park. It remains part of the conversation by being the only Asian-American-led broadcast show in decades, and has been a stable player in the Tuesday comedy block's 9 p.m. half-hour — even as its numbered lead-outs (since-canceled The Real O'Neals, Imaginary Mary) have struggled. The third season of Fresh Off the Boat has averaged a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 5.2 million viewers. The series will return for its fourth run. Showrunner Nahnatchka Khan (with pilots at NBC and ABC in both passed over) continues to develop other projects with producers 20th Century Fox Television — and while the outside studio status could work against some comedies, Fresh Off the Boat seems to have a secure slot in ABC's ever-expanding family comedy brand.

Speechless, meanwhile, is a co-production between ABC Studios and 20th Century Fox. The comedy earned raves out of the gate thanks to its unique set-up — the family getting by with a snarky high schooler with cerebral palsy. Starring Minnie Driver, the show also managed to pull a good crowd to its Wednesday time slot between The Goldbergs and Modern Family. Season one has averaged a 2.2 rating among adults 18-49 and 7.2 million viewers. Created by Scott Silveri (Friends), it also counts sitcom veterans Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan on its executive producer roster. 

Speechless and Fresh Off the Boat join a roster of returning comedies including Black-ish, The Goldbergs, Modern Family and American Housewife. New comedies coming to ABC's schedule are The Mayor and an untitled Zach Braff half-hour as the network is poised to start its 2017-18 season without a multicamera comedy for the first time following the cancellations of Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken. With American Idol on the schedule, the network's midseason schedule has fewer holes and ABC is not expected to have anywhere near the same volume as this season.

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