Thumbnail sketch of ABC's new season
Some highlights of ABC's moves in its schedule for next season.
WHAT'S NEW: Tuesday night. ABC is scheduling four of the eight new series on its fall schedule for Tuesday night, making it an entire evening of new shows. That's a bold move for a network, which usually likes to couple new series with established ones on its schedule. One of them, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," is a crime-fighting series based on a comic book and produced by Joss Whedon. That might even entice — gasp! — some men to watch ABC.
WHAT'S GONE: "Happy Endings," ''Body of Proof" and "Malibu Country."
BIG MOVE: Cutting "Dancing With the Stars" from two nights to one in the fall, eliminating the Tuesday results show. On its face, that seems a strange decision for what is usually ABC's most popular show. But the "Dancing" audience is filled overwhelmingly with older women, and advertisers consider that one of the least valuable demographic groups. ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee said the network will try to cast more dancers popular with a younger audience.
STAR POWER: James Caan. Well, maybe he was in 1980 or so. But ABC is asking him to largely carry a new show, "Back in the Game," where he plays "an opinionated, beer-guzzling ex-athlete who never quite made the cut either as a single father or professional baseball player." In "Bad News Bears" fashion, he's asked to coach a team of misfits, including his grandson.
BEST SERIES TITLE: No one this week is going to be able to top "Killer Women."
QUOTE: "Thursday we're building a powerful night of empowered women." — Lee. No killers yet, though.
WHAT THEY NEED: Viewers. Lee talks about building a brand with sophisticated and emotional shows. That's nice, but ABC is in the same boat as every other broadcast network not named CBS. Its audience and influence is dwindling, and it can use a breakout hit or two.
SERIES BREAKS: Lee talked about airing about a dozen new episodes of series like "Scandal" or "Once Upon a Time" in a row, then taking a break and replacing them with limited-run series, then bringing the original shows back for another run of episodes late in the season. This strategy eliminates the chance that viewers will get annoyed by having original episodes constantly interrupted by reruns. The danger is ABC could be left with an unfamiliar schedule if many shows take a break at the same time. ABC says it hasn't decided yet which of its shows will be scheduled like this.