ABC has officially released its schedule for next season, and it's the kind that I like. Several days still look familiar, but there's also enough change that it feels fresh. The biggest alteration is also a step in the right direction for humanity: Dancing With the Stars will be cut down to one night a week, forgoing its results show in favor of opening up a new night—Tuesday—to program shows that have actual scripts. And Tuesday is entirely blown up with two new dramas and two new comedies. Don't look for much change on Wednesdays and Thursdays, which each have only one new hour, and don't look for any change at all on Mondays, where DWTS and Castle are happy bedfellows. ABC did not make any mention of midseason scheduling.
Let's take a look at ABC's 2013-2014 schedule day-by-day (an easy-to-read schedule is available at the bottom of the story):
It's Dancing With the Stars and Castle, just like it's been for the past several years. I suggested at one point that ABC launch a new show behind Castle and move Castle to Tuesdays, but ABC didn't listen. That's the last time I tell you how to do your job, ABC! Dancing With the Stars will now be cut down to just one episode per week, which is how the show operated early in its life. If you really need your share of dancing celebrities on Tuesdays, just watch this.
Tuesday is entirely unrecognizable, featuring four new shows. It's rare for a network to launch an entire night of new programming, but most networks don't have Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (pictured) in their pockets. Joss Whedon's continuation of his The Avengers story starts things off on Tuesdays at 8pm, where everyone expects it to be a gigantic hit (no pressure, Joss). That's followed by back-to-back comedies in Adam F. Goldberg's semi-autobiographical look at growing up in the '80s The Goldbergs at 9pm, and Malin Akerman as Bradley Whitford's new arm candy in Trophy Wife at 9:30pm. Ending the evening is the drama Lucky 7, about gas-station workers who pool together and win the lottery. I'm a little concerned about the drama-comedy-drama flow here, but I'm really looking forward to all four of these shows, so if they're as good as I hope they'll be, they can overcome the tone shift.
The big question on Wednesdays was which shows would get paired with Modern Family. The Middle does the hard work at 8pm and Modern Family keeps its 9pm slot, obviously. Sandwiched between the two is Back in the Game, starring Psych's Maggie Lawson as a recently divorced mom who moves back in with her baseball-playing dad and coaches her son's Little League team. Following Modern Family is Super Fun Night (pictured), starring Rebel Wilson as a member of a group of nerdy friends who try to make every Friday, like, totally fun. Nashville (yeehaw!) stays put at 10pm. I have no reasoning for this, but I'm looking forward to Back in the Game. Eagle-eyed people with potty mouths will say, "HEY where the f*ck is g**damn motherf*cking Suburgatory?" Answer: It's not on the schedule. Don't worry, it's been renewed, ABC just wants to gamble on a breakout new show instead. Expect Suburgatory to return and fill in whatever holes ABC needs on this night.
Apparently Thursdays are being dubbed, "Women Empowerment Thursdays"—seriously—which ABC does every year in its continuing pandering to the female 18- to 49-year-old audience. Shonda Rhimes gets the night from 9pm to 11pm, with Grey's Anatomy and Scandal back-to-back, where they are doing just fine. Last year's 8pm slot was filled with manly nuclear subs and testosterone-filled standoffs in Last Resort; this year it's tardy rabbits and smoking caterpillars. The Once Upon a Time spinoff Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, about Alice in Wonderland, gives 8pm a shot. It was originally conceived as a limited-run series that would air between the fall and midseason halves of Once Upon a Time, but ABC said screw that and made it a full-fledged show. Do we really need TWO horribly CGI'd fairy-tale shows on the air? Of course we do!
If Thursdays are "Women Empowerment Thursdays" then Fridays are "Mish-Mash Fridays." Tim Allen's Last Man Standing is at 8pm, followed by returning comedy The Neighbors at 8:30pm. Shark Tank takes 9pm and 20/20 airs at 10pm. This is not an exciting night of television for ABC.
Empowered women bleed over to Sundays, too. First, some empowered women hold the video cameras that record their husbands getting hit in the balls on America's Funniest Home Videos at 7pm. Then it's the familiar back-to-back block of Once Upon a Time and Revenge at 8pm and 9pm, respectively. New series Betrayal (pictured), a messy soap about a woman who has an affair with a lawyer who ends up trying a high-profile case against her lawyer husband (gulp!), gives 10pm a shot. Good luck, Betrayal. That's a tough slot.
Well, we already talked about Suburgatory, which should return to spackle whatever cracks form in the schedule as new shows fail. And of course, Happy Endings was canceled. New series Mixology, Kyle Killen's Mind Games (pictured), dead-coming-back-to-life drama Resurrection (formerly The Returned) and Tricia Helfer as a Texas Ranger in Killer Women are currently without a home. ABC also has an adventure reality show called The Quest ready to go. Apparently, that might be part of a new initiative to create limited-run series that bridge gaps during other shows' hiatueses to avoid repeats.
ABC's 2013-2014 schedule in an easier-to-read format (new shows in ALL CAPS):
8pm Dancing With the Stars
8pm MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D
9pm THE GOLDBERGS
9:30pm TROPHY WIFE
10pm LUCKY 7
8pm The Middle
8:30pm BACK IN THE GAME
9pm Modern Family
9:30pm SUPER FUN NIGHT
8pm ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND
9pm Grey’s Anatomy
8pm Last Man Standing
8:30pm The Neighbors
9pm Shark Tank
8pm Saturday Night College Football
7pm America’s Funniest Home Videos
8pm Once Upon a Time
Upfronts 2013 HQ:
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