Here goes nothing as it’s time to jump into the mind of ABC Chief Paul Lee and attempt to predict the future and give my best guess on what the Fall 2013 ABC television schedule is going to look like.
What Will Be Cancelled and Renewed?
While CBS and FOX ended the suspense early with pickups for many of their returning shows and NBC doing the same for their drama slate all has been quiet at ABC. So let’s start and take a look at the baseline schedule and shows that survived to the end of the 2012-2013 season.
On the drama side Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Castle, Revenge, and Nashville are surefire favorites to return next season. On the other hand Red Widow, Zero Hour, 666 Park Avenue, and Last Resort will never be heard from again. Which brings us to the curious case of Body of Proof…which is the definition of a show right on the edge. I think the fate of Body of Proof relies on whether ABC does one or two editions of Dancing With the Stars this upcoming season. The ratings for DWTS have suffered pretty big declines this year however at least for now it still does better in the ratings then some of the dramas that ABC is likely to renew. So I’ll put my money on two editions of DWTS this upcoming season and no Body of Proof.
On the comedy side Modern Family, The Middle, Suburgatory, The Neighbors, Last Man Standing, and How to Live With Your Parents (thanks to a short run and the post-Modern Family time slot will all return for next season. The road ends here for Malibu Country, Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B- in Apt. 23, and The Family Tools.
What Will the Fall 2013 Schedule Look Like?
With our renewals settled the starter schedule for ABC has a number of gaps to fill. As you can see most of the returning shows kept their same spots except two comedies and a single drama. A discussion of why shows moved or stayed put follows in the night by night discussion although I suspect ABC might be a bit gun shy after their move of Revenge did not work out as expected last year.
7 PM – America’s Funniest Home Videos returns to lead off Monday although I was very tempted to put it on the bench for the fall to serve as schedule spackle when need. However it performs reliably if but lowly. Watch for Big Thunder to potentially find a home here in the spring.
8 PM – Once Upon a Time returns to try and rebound out of it’s second season slide. Pairing it with Revenge last season did not have the anticipated results so Once is followed by…
9 PM – …the Once spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. ABC would be crazy to wait if they believed in the pilot presentation that was filmed and placing it behind its predecessor only makes sense.
10 PM – Revenge moves back an hour to its original 10 PM home as it tries to regain momentum lost this season with a new showrunner as Mike Kelly departs for Sunil Nayar.
8 PM – Dancing With the Stars returns to the fall schedule hoping to stave off the declines that plagued it last season.
10 PM – Monday night stalwart Castle returns as reports abound that it is on the verge of a two season renewal.
8 PM – One more hour of DWTS moves to the early time slot to face off against The Voice.
9 PM – How to Live With Your Parents loses its comfortable post-Modern Family time slot to try and lead off Tuesday with newcomer Super Fun Night starring Rebel Wilson.
10 PM – The centerpiece of the ABC fall schedule is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which the network is no doubt praying does well. If DWTS does not return in the spring Tuesday is one of the few places where ABC could launch a male oriented night. S.H.I.E.L.D. stars Marvel Universe regular Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson.
8 PM – The early hour finds returning comedies The Middle and Suburgatory which has been a nice and stable duo for ABC.
9 PM – Modern Family is followed by newcomer The Goldbergs which follows geeky 11-year old Adam (Darien Provost) and his family in the 1980s.
10 PM – Nashville returns to close out the night.
8 PM – This time slot has been terrible for ABC in recent years as it has continued to try and try to find something that works. This fall they will slot Betrayal here which will try and fit in with…
9 PM – …Grey’s Anatomy and…
10 PM- …hit Scandal on a night that courts the female demo very strongly.
8 PM –Last Man Standing returns alongside The Neighbors whose average performance on Wednesday finds itself banished to Friday, a night I always thought it was better suited for.
9 PM – Shark Tank is a big success story on Friday and there is not reason to mess with success.
10 PM – 20/20 returns…nothing else to report here.
With that final piece I predict that the ABC Fall 2013 schedule will look a little something like this:
Midseason will find Big Thunder (Disney rides find the small screen) and Lucky 7 (you can win the lottery!) on the drama side. Divorce (you liked Happy Endings, right?), King John (have you seen CBS’s ratings? We have to pick up at least one multi-camera comedy), and Bad Management (Alan Thicke is alive?!?) round out the comedies.