'Modern Family,' 'The Middle' launch in one-hour form

ABC will look to several expanded editions of its returning series to kick off the fall season.

The network released its premiere dates Monday with special one-hour editions of “Modern Family” and “The Middle” on Wednesday, Sept. 21, and two-hour editions of “Grey’s Anatomy” on Thursday, Sept. 22, and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” on Sunday, Sept. 25.

The back-to-back hours of “Family” and “Middle” could face tough competition from Fox, which will launch “The X Factor” in the same two-hour period. But the pair should help the premiere of new drama “Revenge” at 10 p.m.

Other new series ABC has slated for premiere week include “Charlie’s Angels,” which will be unveiled the night of the launch of “Anatomy,” and “Pan Am,” which follows the premiers of “Makeover” and “Desperate Housewives.”

The Wednesday after “Family” and “Middle” launch they revert back to regular 30-minute format in support of launching returning comedy “Happy Endings” at 8:30 p.m. and new half-hour “Suburgatory” at 9:30 p.m.

ABC is saving the rest of its new-series launches for October, which is unsurprising given entertainment chief Paul Lee has said from the outset he would try and stagger premieres as much as possible to allow shows to get some breathing room amid the fall clutter.

Back-to-back episodes of “Last Man Standing” will roll out on Oct. 11, with another new comedy, “Man Up!”, coming out Oct. 18. The two half-hours represent ABC’s effort to get a new comedy block going Tuesdays from 8-9 p.m.

Another new hour, “Once Upon a Time,” won’t launch until Oct. 23. In an interesting strategic move, veteran “Makeover” will remain on Sunday for the first month of the fall season even though ABC had announced it would move to Friday. But that switch won’t occur until Oct. 21, making way for “Time” to get its start two days later.

Still, “Time” will get competition from Fox’s World Series coverage; Game 4 is scheduled for that night. However, the fairy-tale drama will likely skew more female, providing a nice alternative to baseball.

Not on the fall schedule is “Shark Tank,” a returning unscripted series that ABC announced at the upfronts would be on the fall schedule, but has now been slated for midseason. “Makeover” will be in two-hour form on Friday instead.

Among other returning series, “Dancing With the Stars” will kick off premiere week for ABC on Sept. 19 with a two-hour edition, followed by the premiere of “Castle.” Its results show launches the following night, followed by the premiere of “Body of Proof.”

“Private Practice” doesn’t launch until Sept. 29. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” starts on Oct. 2.

Fox is the only other broadcaster to have announced its fall schedule, with CBS and NBC still to come.

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