Upfronts 2013: ABC Reveals Schedule for 2013-14 TV Season

We continue Upfronts with ABC. I’ve talked about how both NBC and FOX had some rough times this past season, but if we look simply at the pilots picked-up this time last year and which ones have survived to see another season, I think we can all agree that ABC had it the worst. None of their comedies did well, yet somehow critically-panned The Neighbors survived. Of all the dramas, only Nashville made it past its first season. This year, the network continues to try and find some future hits by adding 5 comedies and 7 dramas.

THE GOLDBERGS [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9]: The series is inspired by executive producer Adam Goldberg’s experiences growing up in his lovingly screwed up family in the 80s. Family comedy set in the 80s, hilarity ensues? We’ll have to see.

MIXOLOGY [Comedy – Midseason]: This show follows a group of singles in a Manhattan bar, as they attempt to find love over the course of a night. Vanessa Lengies, Sarah Bolger, and Adan Canto are among the young stars of this show. We’ve seen ABC try to bring in a younger audience with some of their previous comedies – Happy Endings, Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23 – which struggled on the network. I’m hoping the network does a better job in promoting and getting the viewers they need for this show (working under the assumption that the show is good and funny).

VANESSA LENGIES, ADAN CANTO, CRAIG FRANK, ANDREW SANTINO, BLAKE LEE, GINGER GONZAGA, KATE SIMSES, ALEXIS CARRA, ADAM CAMPBELL, SARAH BOLGER

BACK IN THE GAME [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 8:30]: Maggie Lawson stars as a recently divorced single mother, who moves in with her estranged, former baseball player of a father played by James Caan. She reluctantly gets pulled back in to the world of sports when she agrees to coach her son’s Little League team. The hook obviously involves sports, but if they can make it so that it’s not all sports metaphors/jokes all the time, this could do really well for ABC.

SUPER FUN NIGHT  [Comedy – Wednesdays @ 9:30]: This show about a group of three friends who vow to have a fantastically fun night, every Friday was originally developed for CBS last pilot season. After it was retooled, the show landed at ABC, with the network hoping to cash in on Rebel Wilson’s growing popularity following the success of the movie Pitch Perfect. Clearly, they are banking on this show being a hit by giving it the post-Modern Family timeslot.

TROPHY WIFE [Comedy – Tuesdays @ 9:30]: Malin Akerman is a reformed party girl when she settles down with a man (played by Bradley Whitford) with three kids and two ex-wives. The whole dysfunctional family thing isn’t anything new, so it’s mostly dependent on the writing. I’ll check it out to see how it is before committing to it.

ALBERT TSAI, NATALIE MORALES, GIANNA LEPERA, RYAN SCOTT LEE, MALIN AKERMAN, BRADLEY WHITFORD, MARCIA GAY HARDEN, MICHAELA WATKINS

BETRAYAL [Drama – Sundays @ 10]: A married female photographer gets caught up in an affair with a lawyer, who happens to be defending the murder suspect her husband is prosecuting. Above all else, this show will come down to execution of plot. The logline mentions a series of betrayals for everyone involved that will have catastrophic results. I feel like this is a show that will probably be better off as sort of a one-season/limited series event than a full-fledged series because I fear that at some point the story might get so convoluted and dragged out. Also, I’m really hoping for a title change; I mean, ABC already has Revenge and now they have a show called Betrayal? Let’s work on that please? Definitely doesn’t help matters that they are paired up on Sundays, back to back.

JAMES CROMWELL, HENRY THOMAS, WENDY MONIZ, ELIZABETH MCLAUGHLIN, BRAEDEN LEMASTERS, STUART TOWNSEND, HANNAH WARE, CHRIS JOHNSON

MIND GAMES [Drama – Midseason]: Christian Slater and Steve Zahn star in this series by executive producer Kyle Killen about two brothers – one an ex-con, the other a bipolar genius – who use the science of human motivation and manipulation to help their clients. Never one to give up, Slater is once again back with another new show, hoping this will be the one that will make it. The show will most likely follow a case-of-the-week style format, but with Killen (who was responsible for NBC’s Awake) at the helm, I sense that there’s going to be much more to it than that and I’m quite looking forward to how this plays out.

GREGORY MARCEL, MEGALYN ECHIKUNWOKE, CHRISTIAN SLATER, STEVE ZAHN, WYNN EVERETT, CEDRIC SANDERS

KILLER WOMEN [Drama – Midseason]: Tricia Helfer plays Molly Parker, the only female in the usually all male Texas Rangers. There really isn’t much else to say about it beyond that. I love my shows with strong kick-ass females in the lead, but the whole lone female in a male dominated world aspect of it just seems a little old school? It’s an idea that is very much present in today’s society, but as a TV show, it’s not much of a hook.

LUCKY 7 [Drama – Tuesdays @ 10]: It’s the TV dramatization of what happens when a group of seven people win the lottery and how their lives change. The key point being made about the show is that each episode will focus on a different character, and if the show lives on for multiple seasons, each season will look at a different group with similar circumstances. I understand that they have an idea of how to sustain the series for multiple seasons, but I feel like it’s one those ideas where it’s better off just being a one-season show or, as networks want to call it these days, limited series events. I mean you get to a certain point and it’ll feel like you’ve seen it before. I will check it out just to see how they write it, but I don’t feel good about this show lasting.

RESURRECTION [Drama – Midseason]: The lives of the people in a town called Aurora are changed when the loved ones they once buried and mourned, return to the land of the living. You have to admit that sounds really interesting and I can’t wait to see it.

SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG, MARK HILDRETH, DEVIN KELLEY, KURTWOOD SMITH, OMAR EPPS, LANDON GIMENEZ, FRANCES FISHER, NICHOLAS GONZALEZ, MATT CRAVEN

ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND [Drama – Thursdays @ 8]: As the title suggests, this is a spin-off of Once Upon A Time, set in the world of Wonderland. There’s no doubt that I’ll be tuning in, given that I am a fan of OUAT. But it gives me a little pause to see that they put this in its own timeslot, instead of airing it during OUAT’s winter break, as was previously proposed/reported. Either they feel REALLY good about this show or they don’t have much faith in some of their other new dramas, particularly in this timeslot, which has been notoriously bad for the network.

SOPHIE LOWE

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. [Drama – Tuesdays @ 8]: The most highly anticipated show hands down of all the networks. From the moment they announced that a pilot was being made, every geek in the world knew and was anxiously awaiting official word that the show was getting picked-up. For the uninformed, this show follows the peacekeeping group known as SHIELD, found in the world of the Marvel comic books and films. And because it’s fiction, Agent Coulson (played by Clark Gregg), who was previously seen as very much dead in The Avengers film, is alive for the show! Let’s be honest though, unless the producers really screw it up, this show’s going to be a hit. Geeks FTW!

CHLOE BENNET, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, IAIN DE CAESTECKER, CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WEN, BRETT DALTON

Note about the schedule:

  • In order to make room for all their new shows, ABC has cut back the slightest bit on Dancing With The Stars. I was kind of hoping that it meant they would only do the show once a year, but turns out they’re just cutting the results show. I know I bag on all the reality shows for dragging out their results shows, when you really only need to watch the last 5 minutes, but even I have to admit (after last season’s results show-less SYTYCD) that the whole process runs more smoothly when there is that separate show. I’d rather have seen it reduce to 30 minutes, as opposed to the full hour, that way we can still see the pros dance on their own (which is honestly the only thing I’ve been watching this year of DWTS).
  • Critically-panned The Neighbors, which found itself getting a second season, has been moved to Fridays @ 8:30, following Last Man Standing.
  • The heartwarming and utterly charming (and hilarious!) Suburgatory is being held off until midseason, presumably to take the place of any of the network’s other comedies that might fail (too harsh?)
  • ABC’s plan in regards to Once Upon A Time, Revenge, and Scandal, is to separate their seasons into two batches of 12 episodes, giving the shows one long winter break instead multiple little annoying breaks all season.

For more on next season’s lineup at ABC, head on over to Deadline. Tomorrow, it’s CBS’ turn to take the stage.

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