Upfront: ABC Adds More Comedies

Disney-ABC Television, as part of its upfront presentation, talked up "Roseanne," ABC's prime-time network comedy, as well as promoting its cable network with youth appeal, Freeform.

At Lincoln Center, Ben Sherwood, co-chair of Disney Media Networks-president of Disney|ABC Television Group, told advertising executives that the Freeform addition was intended to appeal to a wider range of consumers -- “teenagers to baby-boomers and everyone in between.”

For its advertising efforts, ABC has restructured its operations under Kevin Mayer, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, Walt Disney, who oversees direct-to-consumer, advertising sales, international and product development.

Over the last year, Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales of Disney|ABC Television Group, says improvements have been made for marketers, especially with product integrations into TV shows. “Viewers who were exposed to integrations across our networks drove the highest product lift and brand affinity -- 36% higher, outperforming norms by four times. Purchase intent of those exposed to branded content on our digital and social platforms exceeded norms by 17%. Those are all significant increases.”



Ferro also talked about the importance of live TV programming -- daytime shows, news programming and syndication programming. Live programming is increasingly important to marketers looking to gain real-time messaging for the brands.

Earlier in the day, the ABC broadcast network announced it would make big changes to its prime-time lineup, adding five dramas and three comedies. Four scripted shows and two reality shows will start in the fall.

After a lackluster start to the season, ABC benefited from the re-launch of its surprise hit “Roseanne,” which has averaged a Nielsen 3.76 rating among 18-49 and 14.3 million overall viewers.

Through 33 weeks, ABC is now tied with CBS and Fox among 18-49 viewers with a Nielsen 1.5 rating/6 share, and in third place among all viewers, averaging 6.07 million.

In this regard, Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, touted the network’s heavy emphasis for the upcoming season on comedy programming -- especially on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

On Tuesday, after “Roseanne” at 8 p.m., new comedy “The Kids of Alright” will run at 8:30 p.m. The show follows a traditional Irish-Catholic family in the 1970s. Later that night, the 10 p.m. drama “The Rookie” airs. It's about a small-town guy who, after a life-altering incident, pursues his dream of being an LAPD officer.

On Wednesday, new comedy “Single Parents” at 9:30 p.m. features a group of single parents who lean on each other to help raise their 7-year-old kids and maintain some kind of personal lives outside of parenthood. After this, at 10 p.m., “A Million Little Things” will air -- about a group of friends from Boston who bond under unexpected circumstances.

On Sunday, new two shows -- “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” at 8 p.m., a younger version of the big ABC reality show; and, a prime-time talk program, "The Alec Baldwin Show" -- will air at 10 p.m.

Shows that will make their way into ABC's lineup during the season include drama “The Fix,” about an L.A. district attorney who moves to Washington D.C., after suffered a major defeat — prosecuting a well-known actor for a double murder. Attorney and author Marcia Clark, who prosecuted the O.J. Simpson case, is a producer.

“Grand Hotel” is a drama about the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach. An hourlong dramedy, “Whiskey Cavalier,” follows the adventures of FBI super-agent Will Chase

ABC’s fall prime-time schedule is as follows (all times listed are Eastern/Pacific). New shows are in bold:


DAY                                  TIME              SERIES
MONDAY:                           8:00 p.m.            “Dancing with the Stars”
                                          10:00 p.m.        “The Good Doctor”
TUESDAY:                          8:00 p.m.           “Roseanne”
                                          8:30 p.m.          “The Kids Are Alright”
                                          9:00 p.m.          “black-ish”
                                          9:30 p.m.          “Splitting Up Together”
                                         10:00 p.m.         “The Rookie”
WEDNESDAY:                    8:00 p.m.             “The Goldbergs”      
                                          8:30 p.m.           “American Housewife” (new time)
                                          9:00 p.m.            “Modern Family”
                                          9:30 p.m.            “Single Parents”
                                          10:00 p.m.          “A Million Little Things”
THURSDAY:                        8:00 p.m.             “Grey’s Anatomy”
                                          9:00 p.m.             “Station 19”
                                          10:00 p.m.           “How to Get Away with Murder”  
FRIDAY:                             8:00 p.m.            “Fresh Off the Boat” (new day and time)
                                          8:30 p.m.             “Speechless” (new day and time)
                                          9:00 p.m.             “Child Support” (new time)
                                          10:00 p.m.           “20/20”
SATURDAY:                        8:00 p.m.              “Saturday Night Football”
SUNDAY:                            7:00 p.m.             “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
                                           8:00 p.m.              “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors”
                                           9:00 p.m.              “Shark Tank”
                                           10:00 p.m.             “The Alec Baldwin Show” (new title)
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