Wednesday, May 09, 2012 2012-13 Upfront Preview: ABC; Chiller To Air Dark Shadows 1991 Marathon

Our upfront preview week continues! ABC found some success this past season with four rookies--two comedies and two dramas in the fall and have seen solid performances in mid-season by Apartment 23 and Scandal. With Desperate Housewives ending and not on the schedule for the first time since 2004, ABC will have to go with one of their best pilots in the historic timeslot. Also, ABC should load up on multicamera sitcoms on Tuesdays to give Last Man Standing some support.
Here is the ABC 2012-13 preview:

New Series Already Picked-Up: Mistresses (drama, 10 episodes for fall, mid-season or next summer).
Already Renewed Returning Series: None.
Likely Returning Series: 20/20, The Bachelor, America's Funniest Home Videos, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal, GCB, Body of Proof, Dancing with the Stars, Castle, The Middle, Suburgatory, Last Man Standing, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, What Would You Do?, Shark Tank and Wipeout.
Likely To Be Canceled, Ending or Already Canceled: Charlie's Angels, Desperate Housewives, Work It, Man Up!, Pan Am, The River, Cougar Town, You Deserve It and Missing.
Likely New Series Pick-Ups: 666 Park Avenue (drama for fall), Devious Maids (drama for fall), Nashville (drama for fall), Malibu Country (comedy for fall), Family Trap (comedy for fall), The Smart One (comedy for late fall), The Manzanis (comedy for late fall), Last Resort (drama for mid-season), Gilded Lilys (drama for mid-season), How To Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life (comedy for mid-season) and American Judy (comedy for mid-season).


8:00PM Dancing with the Stars
10:00PM Devious Maids (NEW!)

8:00PM Last Man Standing
8:30PM Malibu Country (NEW!)
9:00PM Dancing with the Stars: The Results / The Smart One (NEW!)
10:00PM Castle

8:00PM The Middle
8:30PM Suburgatory
9:00PM Modern Family
9:30PM The Family Trap (NEW!)
10:00PM Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23
10:30PM Happy Endings

8:00PM 666 Park Avenue (NEW!)
9:00PM Grey's Anatomy
10:00PM Scandal

8:00PM Shark Tank
9:00PM Body of Proof
10:00PM 20/20

8:00PM College Football

7:00PM America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00PM Once Upon a Time
9:00PM Nashville (NEW!)
10:00PM Revenge

Comments: ABC will try and build on their freshman hits this past season and try to find even more fresher shows. There are some promising pilots to look forward to, but I think comedy will be key. So let's look at each night. I'll start with Mondays. Dancing with the Stars is a no-brainer from 8-10pm as it is still the top show in total viewers right now. A possible all-star edition will likely boost numbers. ABC will easily fill the two-hour hole from Jan-Mar with The Bachelor, but perhaps at 10pm, a new drama like the talked about new pilot Devious Maids could take the time period? I think Castle is strong enough to air on another night, I think, like Tuesday nights where they need it a bit more. More on that below. ABC could also use Mistresses in mid-season in the 10pm hour.
On Tuesdays, Dancing with the Stars: The Results will likely remain at 9pm in the fall, but I have a plan to cut the results to 30 minutes by mid-October. Why? Because this will help the night in the long run, especially Jan-March when Dancing isn't on. Multi-camera comedies with familiar stars is the way to do that. Tim Allen's Last Man Standing will return to lead off the night followed by a new multi-camera comedy titled Malibu Country, starring Reba McEntire. Then Dancing will follow of course, but how about at 9:30pm starting in mid-October or so, they could premiere something like The Smart One which stars former Dancing star David Arquette, Portia de Rossi and Jean Smart. And once Dancing wraps, ABC could launch Kirstie Alley's The Manzanis at 9pm for a few months (13 episodes). A nice multi-camera sitcom block! At 10pm, ABC should use a self-starter veteran series that brings in the audience, and that is of course Castle. It also has repeatability, like the multi-camera sitcoms would. Best plan for Tuesdays, I think.  Private Practice will be held for mid-season, possibly for its final 13 episodes, but I think it should air on Thursdays to give Scandal a break.
For Wednesdays, it's of course single-camera comedies. But I am still pulling for 10pm comedies. They can air family comedies from 8-10pm, followed by the edgier and popular comedies from 10-11pm. The Middle will continue to lead off and Modern Family will anchor the night at 9pm, with freshman hit Suburgatory in between. Apartment 23 and Happy Endings could work in the 10pm hour as they both have had a good following and good buzz at 9:30pm. Both series are a match made in heaven. Cougar Town is likely headed to TBS, so I'm leaving it off of ABC, but would love for it to return on ABC. And finally, the bridge between the family comedies and edgier comedies will be a new comedy at 9:30pm starring Mandy Moore: The Family Trap. Yes, it is hard to move Revenge since it has done very well for a 10pm show, but I think it could explode on another night. And plus, ABC is strong in every half-hour on this night with comedies. The 10pm comedies are likely to pull a 2.3-2.6 18-49 rating anyway in the fall. I think they will have some new family single-camera comedies on the bench ready if needed for mid-season to give Suburgatory or Family Trap a break.
As for Thursdays, the 8pm slot has been troublesome for ABC in the past few seasons. Missing has done decent overall but low in the key demo. It deserves a chance, but I don't think it returns unless it is for summer 2013. I think ABC needs to air a new familiar series with classic ABC stars in this slot, and the choice should be new drama 666 Park Avenue. It has Terry O'Quinn, Dave Annable, Vanessa Williams, and Rachael Taylor, so ABC star power is here. I also think its their best drama pilot in a timeslot with no dramas right now. It might be good counter programming to CBS and NBC's comedies and Fox's reality. I don't think there is a doubt that Grey's Anatomy is at 9pm entering its ninth season and still a top drama, but Private Practice could return at 10pm, but for mid-season as Scandal, also from Shonda Rhimes, has done solid this spring. Gilded Lilys, also from Rhimes, is an option for mid-season as well.
As for Fridays, ABC will likely keep the same plan and go with unscripted, but I think some scripted is needed. I don't think you can remove Shark Tank so it has to air all season. They can order more episodes, about 24 or so, and air it from mid-October to May. ABC usually goes with encores the first few weeks of the season and I think that is a good idea. Plus the series shot 90 pitches and 60 will air this current season (four an episode, so that's 15 episodes). Primetime: What Would You Do? should be on the bench for mid-season, as ABC should try the third season of Body of Proof on a new night and time, which changed its game last season and has become a solid series. Great finale and deserves a shot here.  20/20 is at 10pm, of course. I don't think that should change.
On Saturdays ABC will have College Football in the fall and then movies and/or repeats for the rest of the season. ABC could also use some ABC News specials in mid-season. Finally, on Sundays,of course AFV is at 7, followed by the new #1 drama Once Upon a Time at 8pm. At 9pm Desperate Housewives is now over, so they need to find something different and something that could be a big hit. Nashville sounds like that could be it. Good cast, premise, and something different. Revenge would be perfect on this night whether it be 9pm or 10pm, but right now I see it in the 10pm slot and should help Nashville being a lead-out. GCB should be mid-season.
I REALLY think ABC needs to take a chance on Tuesdays. It will pay off, trust me. Not sure if the new pilots are better class than last season, but I think there are some big potential hits here. They have fresh new ideas of shows with shows like Nashville and Last Resort, as the latter could be big with males. Will be hard to schedule that in mid-season. As always, ABC was a tough schedule to predict. Time to solidify Tuesdays so they don't hibernate in the winter when Dancing is down south for the winter. I'm fairly confident this schedule will do that.
Discuss your thoughts on our prediction and feel free to make suggestions of your own.

Remember, next Tuesday (May 15) is the actual date when we will find out ABC's plans for the 2012-13 season. So, come on back next Tuesday and we will let you know the details and you can see how much we were right (or wrong!). Stay tuned tomorrow for a preview on CBS's upfront!

In conjunction with the Dark Shadows feature film starring Johnny Depp opening this weekend, Chiller will air a marathon of the 1991 Dark Shadows series on Saturday (May 12, 2012). All 12 episodes will air of the short-lived revival series in a 24-hour marathon beginning at 6am (so all episodes will repeat once). The series is a re-imagining of the original ABC 1966–1971 Dark Shadows television series and both versions were developed by Dan Curtis. Chiller has aired the series before, along with sister network Syfy. NBC aired the series in the original run. There is no word if the '60s series will be airing anywhere, but as of now, it doesn't look like it.
Dark Shadows 1991 tells a streamlined version of the original storyline – the arrival of governess Victoria Winters at Collinwood, vampire Barnabas Collins being released from his coffin, Dr. Hoffman's attempt to medically cure Barnabas' vampirism, and finally Victoria's time travel into the past to witness the still-human Barnabas' encounter with Angelique, and his transformation into an undead creature. Among the stars is a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, March 20

The Middle - "Hecks vs. Glossners: The Final Battle" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
It’s the Orson showdown of the century when the Hecks – along with the Donahues and Bill Norwood – wage a war against the Glossners after they steal Sue’s car.

Fresh Off the Boat - "King in the North" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Honey plans a relaxing vacation before the baby comes, but Jessica turns the trip into a crazy quest to get Stephen King’s endorsement for her novel. When Grandma Huang decides to move out, Louis panics and does everything he can to make sure she knows how welcome she is. Meanwhile, Eddie, Nicole and their friends plan to wear matching suits to the school dance until a dress code demands that the girls must wear dresses, leading Eddie and Nicole to rebel.

black-ish - "Things Were Different Then" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre reluctantly helps Junior plan Pops’ 65th birthday party and starts to see his dad’s past in a new light. Meanwhile, Bow decides to say “yes” to everything for a whole year and Jack & Diane take advantage of her.

Modern Family - "The Long Goodbye" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Phil and Claire realize that Alex may be more self-sufficient in college than they give her credit for when they drop in for a quick visit. Meanwhile, Manny is determined to avoid a long tearful goodbye after Gloria and Jay move him into his college dorm. Finally, Mitch may have accidentally accelerated a planned renovation, and Hayley gets an unexpected opportunity when she befriends a wealthy female member at the country club.

LA to Vegas - "Overbooked" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The crew is forced to figure out how to get the passengers to give up their seats when the flight is overbooked; Nichole makes good money selling snacks while the flight is kept on hold; Artem has an argument with an surprise seatmate.

The Mick - "The Car" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jimmy and Mickey mistakenly lock Ben inside an old car Jimmy purchased at a police auction; Alba discovers that Chip has been assuming the identity of Sabrina's online crush in secret, but Alba decides to actively encourage his actions.

Baskets - "Basque-ets" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Chip laments becoming a fake Christmas tree person.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Tuesday, March 20

  • Bob Saget (Fuller House/How I Met Your Mother/Surviving Suburbia/Full House) - Catch Bob on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) - Thomas appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On/Starved) - Laura is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will stops by The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew visits Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah at 11pm. She also talks about Santa Clarita Diet on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour with Liv Hewson and Skyler Gisondo.
  • Bryton James (Family Matters) - Bryton and the cast of The Young and the Restless are guests on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Patti Labelle (Out All Night) - Patti drops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Carly Chaikin (Subrgatory) - Carly is a guest on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/Martin) - Tisha visits The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry stops by Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Sam Lerner (The Goldbergs) - Sam visits Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • John Corbett (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll/United States of Tara/Sex and the City) - John talks about his movie God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam talks about Game Over, Man on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Nia Long (Uncle Buck/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Nia talks about Roxanne Roxanne on the BUILD Series at 10am.
  • The Cast of You Me Her - Greg Pohler, Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia are guests on the BUILD Series at 12:30pm.