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With its renewal decisions likely completed, ABC is now turning its attention to the new shows that will line its 2021-22 schedule.
To that end, the network has ordered hip-hop drama Queens and comedies The Wonder Years, Maggie and Abbott Elementary to series. The fate of the network’s remaining pilots will be determined later today, with many still in contention for a possible midseason slot as ABC, like other networks, continues to work on getting back to business as usual following a season unlike any other.
Hip-hop drama Queens has been a front-runner since it was put in development earlier this year and its status was solidified with an impressive cast that includes Eve, Nautri Naughton, Pepi Sonuga, Brandy, Nadine Velazquez and Taylor Sele. The drama revolves around four women in their 40s who reunite for a chance to recapture the fame that they had as former ’90s group the Nasty Bitches. (The pickup arrives as Peacock has earned rave reviews for its similarly themed comedy Girls5eva.) Zahir McGhee (Scandal) penned the script for the series, which counts Sabrina Wind and Tim Story as exec producers. The show is produced in-house at ABC Signature.
The Wonder Years, meanwhile, has been a lock to join ABC’s schedule since it was first put in development last year under former ABC entertainment president Karey Burke. The comedy is inspired by the former ABC series starring Fred Savage and focuses on a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, in the turbulent late ’60s. Saladin Patterson (Big Bang Theory) penned the script and exec produces alongside Lee Daniels, Marc Velez and Savage, who directed the pilot. Don Cheadle serves as narrator, Elisha “EJ” Dean Williams stars as the youngster at the center of the series. Dule Hill, Saycon Sengbloh, Laura Kariuki, Julian Lerner, Amari O’Neil and Milan Ray round out the cast. The series is also owned by Disney’s 20th Television.
Maggie, from Life in Pieces’ Justin Adler and Maggie Mull, stars Rebecca Rittenhouse as a young woman coping with life as a psychic. The comedy is based on the short film of the same name from Tim Curcio and counts David Del Rio, Chris Elliott, Ray Ford, Leonardo Nam, Nichole Sakura, Angelique Cabral, Chloe Bridges and Kerri Kenney round out the cast of the series, which is also owned by Disney’s 20th TV.
Rounding out the orders is fellow single-camera comedy Abbott Elementary (formerly known as Harrity Elementary). Written and exec produced and starring A Black Lady Sketch Show‘s Quinta Brunson, the workplace comedy follows a group of teachers in a Philadelphia public school. Brunson exec produces alongside Harley Quinn duo Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker and is a co-production between 20th Television and Warner Bros. TV, where the latter duo are based.
Abbott Elementary, Maggie, Queens and The Wonder Years join a slate of returning scripted originals A Million Little Things, Black-ish, The Conners, The Goldbergs, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, The Rookie, Big Sky and Home Economics. Remaining on the bubble are comedies American Housewife and Mixed-ish and dramas Rebel and For Life, with the quartet not expected to return. A final decision on those four shows is expected to come Friday ahead of Disney’s upfront presentation next week.
The pickups mark the first hint of what to expect from new ABC Entertainment president Craig Erwich, who was tapped to replace Karey Burke atop the network last year. Burke, who oversaw the development and pilot slate this season, now runs 20th Television. Erwich, meanwhile, continues to head originals at Disney-backed streamer Hulu, where many — if not all — of the new series will be available a day after they air.
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