ABC: 13 New Fall Shows, Major Comedy Push
ABC wants to turn around an uneven year with a big slate of 13 new series and a marketing strategy to spread out program starts throughout the season.
Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment, says the network wants "launches all year around. We want to have more originals through the year." Lee says the network is seeking programs with more male viewers to complement its heavy influx of affluent women viewers.
For the fall, the network will start seven new series, set to revamp two nights -- Tuesday and Wednesdays -- with new comedies. Many other networks are adopting the same strategy. "We think the winds are blowing behind comedy," says Lee.
Concerning the big lineup of new product, Tuesdays will focus on male-oriented comedies: Tim Allen in "Last Man Standing" will run on Tuesday at 8 p.m.; "Man Up," about three guys trying to get in touch with their "tough guys," airs at 8:30 p.m. on the same night.
Wednesday brings more female-oriented shows to complement existing comedies, such as "The Middle," "Cougar Town" and its big hit "Modern Family."
On Wednesday, "Suburgatory," about a single father who moves himself and his 16-year-old daughter to the suburbs, debuts at 8:30 p.m. after "The Middle." Getting a nice "Modern Family" lead-in at 9:30 p.m. will be "Happy Endings," last season's midseason entry about a couple that splits. At 10 p.m., there is "Revenge," a new drama about a woman in the wealthy Hamptons.
Lee also said there are shows like "Charlie's Angels" at 8 p.m. on Thursday night, which are "pure candy." The former 1970s ABC series, and more recent movie franchise, will fight for viewers' attention with NBC sitcoms and Fox's "The X Factor"/"American Idol."
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" makes the move to Fridays at 8 p.m., where Lee hopes to establish a family-oriented programming block. "When you look at that audience on the night, there are mothers and older viewers. We think it's moving to family-viewing night."
Sundays bring two new dramas -- one fantasy-mystery and one retro-'60s.
"Once Upon a Time," at 8 p.m., pits a modern-day mother meeting the son she gave up years ago. He believes his mother comes from an alternative world -- one of fairy tales. With such fantasy content on the network schedule, Lee believes "Time," if successful, would be a strong licensing-merchandising franchise down the line with the Disney brand.
"It would be fabulous to have something to be used across the company," says Lee. "These are times when fairy tales perform strongly."
At 10 p.m., "Pan Am" brings 1960s Jet Age-theme stories of sex, jealousy and espionage. "I always felt Sunday night is where there is a real appointment television," says Lee.
ABC Fall Prime-Time Schedule
8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars"
10:00 p.m. "Castle"
8:00 p.m. "Last Man Standing"
8:30 p.m. "Man Up"
9:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars: the Results Show"
10:00 p.m. "Body of Proof"
8:00 p.m. "The Middle"
8:30 p.m. "Suburgatory"
9:00 p.m. "Modern Family"
9:30 p.m. "Happy Endings"
10:00 p.m. "Revenge"
8:00 p.m. "Charlie's Angels"
9:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"
10:00 p.m. "Private Practice"
8:00 p.m. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
9:00 p.m. "Shark Tank"
10:00 p.m. "20/20"
8:00 p.m. "Saturday Night College Football"
7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"
8:00 p.m. "Once Upon a Time"
9:00 p.m. "Desperate Housewives"
10:00 p.m. "Pan Am"