Wednesday, May 08, 2013 2013-14 Upfront Preview: ABC; Episodic Review: Family Tools - "Now You See Me, Now You Don't" - Airing Tonight on ABC

Our upfront preview week continues! ABC had a tough season in 2012-13 but had some bright spots including sophomore drama Scandal and surging reality franchises Shark Tank and The Bachelor. Everything else, like most shows on TV these days, declined in the ratings. ABC is one hot show away from being back in the game and they might have that in 2013-14 with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Here is the ABC 2013-14 preview:

New Series Already Picked-Up: None.
Already Renewed Returning Series: Saturday Night College Football.
Likely Returning Series: 20/20, The Bachelor, America's Funniest Home Videos, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal, Nashville, Dancing with the Stars, Castle, The Middle, Suburgatory, Last Man Standing, Malibu Country, Modern Family, How To Live With Your Parents, The Neighbors, Grey's Anatomy, What Would You Do?, Shark Tank, Body of Proof and Wipeout.
Likely To Be Canceled, Ending or Already Canceled: 666 Park Avenue, Zero Hour, Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23, Last Resort, Private Practice, Red Widow, Happy Endings, Family Tools, Splash, Bet On Your Baby, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Likely New Series Pick-Ups: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.EL.D. (drama for fall), Westside (drama for fall), Gothica (drama for fall), The Goldbergs (comedy for fall), King John (comedy for fall), Super Fun Night (comedy for mid-season), Back in the Game (comedy for mid-season), Mixology (comedy for mid-season), Bad Management (comedy for mid-season), Killer Women (drama for mid-season), Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (drama for mid-season) and Reckless (drama for mid-season).


8:00PM The Bachelor
10:00PM Westside (NEW!)

8:00PM Shark Tank
9:00PM Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (NEW!)
10:00PM Castle

8:00PM The Middle
8:30PM The Goldbergs (NEW!)
9:00PM Modern Family
9:30PM How To Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)
10:00PM Nashville

8:00PM NEW Reality
9:00PM Grey's Anatomy
10:00PM Scandal

8:00PM Last Man Standing
8:30PM King John (NEW!)
9:00PM The Neighbors
9:30PM Suburgatory
10:00PM 20/20

8:00PM College Football

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

Comments: ABC needs to bring some life on a few nights this fall and I think they could do it with some promising new pilots. Detailing the fall schedule, I'll start with Mondays. Dancing with the Stars has been declining the last few seasons, so ABC should as much as I hate to do it, go with The Bachelor from 8-10pm in fall. That series surged this winter and could benefit by airing two cycles a season - one in the fall and one in the spring. ABC would then bring back Dancing with the Stars from Jan-Mar. Instead of 10 weeks, they could expand it a bit I 12 or 13 weeks. Perhaps at 10pm, a new younger-skewing drama out of the younger Bachelor could work, like Westside or Betrayal. I'm going with Westside. 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. I could very well see them keeping it though on Mondays and I think it would still make sense On Tuesdays, with no Dancing with the Star in the Fall on our schedule, they would really need to put a priority to this night. Shark Tank could be asked to come and launch the night at 8pm into the most promising pilot of the season, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I could see ABC making that a 8pm show but I don't like the flow of drama-reality-drama and that this show could really be a big anchor. Dancing Results would air in Jan-Mar at 8 or 9pm, depending on how S.H.I.E.L.D does. At 10pm, ABC should use the veteran Castle out of its big play at 9. It wouldn't really make sense to air something new following that show since it could be a Lost-type show, where nothing would work following it.  Body of Proof will be back once again, I think.  It deserves it, too. Perhaps as a Friday or even Saturday option.

For Wednesdays, it's of course family comedies. The Middle will and should continue to lead off and Modern Family will anchor the night at 9pm of course. Suburgatory could be on the move to Fridays or held for mid-season. I would move it to Fridays to help launch a nice two-hour comedy block there. At 8:30pm, they can try their best new comedy and I think that will be The Goldbergs. It sounds like a perfect fit out of The Middle. At 9:30pm, ABC should try and continue with How To Live With Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) because it has done solid this spring and shows promise. They could order 2-3 comedies for mid-season, just in case something fails here or on Fridays. More on that below. And at 10pm on Wednesdays, is the critically acclaimed drama Nashville. I don't think it would be wise to move it, unless they find a compatible lead-in. As for Thursdays, the 8pm slot has been troublesome for ABC in the past few seasons. Word is that they have a reality show in the works for Fall and it would be perfect to start the night off with a reality show at 8pm. Dramas haven't worked her in a while because it's a tough slot and ABC already has 2 big dramas from 9-11pm. I have noticed three hours of the same genre never work for any network. CBS Tuesday dramas at 10pm always struggle, too, airing after two dramas from 8-10pm, if you have noticed. I don't think there is a doubt that Grey's Anatomy is at 9pm entering its tenth season and still by far a top drama. And at 10pm, the biggest 10pm show on television Scandal will return and probably even grow more. It's quality TV.

Onto Fridays, ABC will likely keep comedies at 8pm but their Friday anchor Shark Tank might be on the move, so that will open up the 9pm hour. I think comedies is the way to go. Last Man Standing did very well this season at 8 and should remain here. At 8:30pm, perhaps they should try for a new sitcom like King John starring John Leguizamo. It might fit better than Mailbu Country, which I would being back for mid-season. Then at 9, they could go with two comedies that worked well on Wednesdays: The Neighbors and Suburgatory. Both would fit perfectly on this night. Sadly, I don't think Happy Endings fits the night and if anything ABC Studios should shop it to USA or TBS. It was doing fine after Modern Family, but everyone for some reason kept complaining about its "retention." It did fine. Rounding out the night, 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, but they could try some series in the winter/spring. Body of Proof is an option and cheaper reality options, like Bet On Your Baby could work. Finally, on Sundays, of course AFV is at 7, followed by drama Once Upon a Time at 8pm. At 9pm  Revenge has done OK but it could fix the 10pm problem for ABC and do decently there. That would leave the anchor slot open to something like Gothica which could be a great fit for the night.

I REALLY think ABC needs to take a chance and do something like this. Who knows, Dancing could come back in mid-season with better ratings and a good crop of celebs. The new pilots do sound better class than last season as really only Nashville and Last Resort were well done. ABC also has a Once Upon a Time spin-off that could help and be a great limited series each season. Short runs like 13 episodes would be great for many of these new series and it would keep the schedule fresh. I understand if something hits big they wouldn't want to limit the show to 13 weeks and lose the ad rates, but for some shows they should. As always, ABC was a tough schedule to predict. Time to solidify Tuesdays and bring some life to it and help weaker hours (Thursdays at 8 and Sundays at 10) with type of shows they haven't kept trying. I'm fairly confident this schedule would help every night.
Discuss your thoughts on our prediction and feel free to make suggestions of your own.

Remember, next Tuesday (May 14) is the actual date when we will find out ABC's plans for the 2013-14 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!

On the next...Family Tools:
By: Pavan

ABC's newest Comedy Wednesday sitcom starring Kyle Bornheimer, airs Wednesday nights at 8:30pm and we have just watched the next episode that airs tonight (May 8). In the episode airing tonight, "Now You See Me, Now You Don't," when Jack (Kyle Bornheimer) and Darren (Edi Gathegi) take a job in a corporate office, Jack tries to reconnect with a former high school crush (guest star Maria Thayer), while Darren questions his status after one of his ideas is stolen. Meanwhile, Terry (Leah Remini) meddles in Mason's (Johnny Pemberton) new relationship and Tony (J.K. Simmons) is uncomfortable with the girlfriend's unconventional style.

In this second episode airing (it's actually the fourth produced), Jack and Darren are fixing things at a corporate office and the white-collared workers ignore them as if they weren't there. It's the "tool-belt effect." But as soon as Jack drops his belt by accident he gets noticed. He also realizes his high school crush works there and is a top notch executive (VP of Brand Strategy), so that gives him extra incentive to show-off and drop that tool belt. He lies a bit to try and get the girl - a classic sitcom device. Usually in the end, the guy never gets the girl in these type of plots. The duo of Jack and Darren work together so well and by the end of the episode you'll see many examples of that, including a hilarious dream (daydream) sequence. Kyle Bornheimer shows off his physical comedy skills once again and shines. While he is the star, Edi Gathegi steals the show with his one-liners and facial expressions. He is the perfect sidekick to Bornheimer's Jack.

The B-plot of Terry's son Mason doesn't work as well. He is interested in this "zombie type" goth girl (another thing we've seen in sitcoms before). He asks for advice to Tony, Darren and even Lisa. This plotline didn't really showcase Terry and Tony that well since they were involved in this storyline as well. Back to the other storyline, Darren came up with this phrase "Taste These Sour Balls" and something happens with that. Won't give it away, but that line is hilarious. This episode was solid and simple despite some familiar type of sitcom plots. It shows the world that blue-collared workers are essential and I'm sure they are treated this way in real life. It's a comedic take on this situation and the show does it well. But will Jack still get the girl even after he lies about his job as CEO of Mr. Jiffy Fix? Tune in tonight and watch Jack and Darren drill their way out of this one. B

New on DVD/Blu-ray (September)

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season Modern Family - The Complete Season 7

09/06 - Coach - Season One (Mill Creek) / Season Two / Seasons One and Two
09/06 - South Park - The Complete Ninteenth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Ninth Season (Blu-ray)
09/13 - Newhart - The Complete Sixth Season
09/20 - 2 Broke Girls - The Complete Fifth Season
09/20 - Family Matters - The Complete Eighth Season
09/20 - Modern Family - The Complete Season 7
09/20 - Veep - Season 5
09/27 - The Wonder Years - Season Six
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest

Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, October 27

The Big Bang Theory - "The Fetal Kick Catalyst" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Penny is surprised to learn she has fans of her performance in “Serial Ape-ist” when she attends Van Nuys Comic Con with Leonard. Also, Amy hosts a Sheldon-style brunch at Penny’s apartment, and Wolowitz makes an impulsive purchase when he starts stressing out about the baby on the way.

The Great Indoors - "Pilot" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Joel McHale stars as Jack, a renowned adventure reporter for an outdoor magazine who must adapt to the times when he becomes the new desk-bound boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the publication.

Mom - "High-Tops and Brown Jacket" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Bonnie and Adam’s relationship is tested when he moves in with her and Christy for a few weeks. Also, Christy learns the hard way that it may be a mistake to try and meet men with Jill.

Life in Pieces - "Annulled Roommate Pill Shower" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Heather and Tim enlist Clementine’s unusual parents, Mary-Lynn (Megan Mullally) and Spencer (Nick Offerman), to help convince Clementine and Tyler to annul their unexpected marriage. Also, Tommy moves in with Colleen, to the chagrin of her roommate, Dougie (Fortune Feimster); John and Joan run into “complications” after John takes the wrong dose of his daily pill; and Jen and Greg keep a secret from the family.

Superstore - "Halloween Theft" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dina (Lauren Ash) throws a wrench in everyone's Halloween plans when something goes missing from the store and declares that no employee can leave until someone confesses to stealing. Amy (America Ferrera) is determined to find out who is responsible because she doesn't want to miss trick-or-treating with her daughter and Mateo (Nico Santos) prepares for his secret date with Jeff (recurring guest star Michael Bunin). Meanwhile, Jonah (Ben Feldman) and Cheyenne (Nichole Bloom) struggle to bond until they discover they have more in common than they thought. Garrett (Colton Dunn) has a difficult time defending himself during the store-wide investigation.

The Good Place - "Most Improved Player" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michael (Ted Danson) has a private meeting with Eleanor (Kristen Bell). Meanwhile, Chidi (William Jackson Harper), who has been harboring a secret, contemplates what to do.

Better Things - "Scary Fun" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Sam makes a point.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 24)

Thursday, October 27

  • Martin Short (Mulaney/The Martin Short Show) - Catch Martin on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) - Mary-Louise visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • January Jones (The Last Man on Earth) - January appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped/Are You There, Chelsea?) - Lauren is a guest on @midnight on Comedy Central at midnight.
  • Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) - Abbi visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Ron Howard (Happy Days/The Andy Griffith Show) - Ron appears on Chelsea on Netflix. He also talks about Inferno on NBC's Today in the 10am hour and on the AOL Build Show at 2:30pm.
  • Nathan Lane (Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!), John Goodman (Roseanne/Normal, Ohio) and John Slattery (Maggie) - They talk about Broadway's The Front Page on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Joel McHale (The Great Indoors/Community) - Joel guest co-hosts LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) - Miley is a guest on LIVE! with Kelly, so check your listings.
  • Eva Longoria (Telenovela) - Eva appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Angelique Cabral (Life in Pieces/Enlisted) - Angelique talks about Life in Pieces on the AOL Build Show at 11am.