The launch team’s going to be busy at ABC.
With four new comedies and six new dramas, the Alphabet web’s got a full plate.
Add in a slew of new reality projects, a handful of surprise series renewals (“Scrubs,” “Better off Ted,” “Castle”) and its stable of returning series and, well, that’s a lot of programming to try to squeeze on to the schedule.
One series that won’t be on the net’s lineup: The Christina Applegate starrer “Samantha Who.” Lauded early on as a break-out hit for ABC, the show performed nicely in the plum Monday night slot behind “Dancing with the Stars.”
But when ABC moved the show to Thursdays this spring, it collapsed. A pickup was still expected, but with one condition: The show dramatically trim its budget, by as much as $500,000 an episode.
In the end, the show’s producers couldn’t find a way to make it work.
Yet ABC is still anxious to restock its comedy brand – and believe it has a new batch of strong performers, starting with “Modern Family.”
ABC Entertainment prexy Steve McPherson is said to believe in the show so much that he plans to screen the entire pilot to advertisers at the Alphabet net’s upfront presentation on Tuesday.
Alphabet net is believed to be mulling comedies on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Comedy is such a priority that the net is expected to air at least two- and possibly three — hours of sitcoms at the start of next season, up from just a single half-hour last fall.
Beyond “Modern Family,” the mockumentary from Steve Levitan and Chris Lloyd, ABC also has the Courtney Cox starrer “Cougar Town” (from Bill Lawrence), the Kelsey Grammer vehicle “Hank,” and the Patricia Heaton entry “The Middle.”
The Alphabet net is looking for replenish its supply of hit dramas as well, especially as its established ones age and one of the net’s key hour-longs, “Lost,” finishes its run next year.
ABC is already big enough on thriller “Flash Forward” that the net began a viral campaign on-air on April 29 (a date that has some significance in the show). Net also has the murder mystery “Happy Town,” the Bruckheimer procedural “The Forgotten,” the remake “Eastwick,” the law drama “Deep End,” and the sci-fi limited-run event “V.”
Net is expected to remain stable on Mondays, where “Dancing with the Stars” and “Castle” air together. Ditto the net’s still-popular Sunday night block.
Beyond that, speculation – first reported by TVMadman.com – has “The Forgotten” airing on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., behind the “Dancing with the Stars” results show.
On Wednesday, that schedule floating around has an entirely new lineup: A two-hour block of comedies might start off with “Hank” at 8 p.m., followed by “The Middle” at 8:30, “Modern Family” at 9 and “Cougar Town” at 9:30. New drama “Eastwick” would air at 10.
Thursdays are expected to remain the same at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., with “Grey’s Anatomy” leading into “Private Practice.” According to that schedule, “Flash Forward” might wind up on the night at 8 p.m. That still leaves “Deep End,” “Happy Town” and “V” for midseason.
Of course, that’s all highly speculative.
Across town at NBC, the Peacock was also keeping everyone in the dark until the end – including showrunners on bubble skeins such as “My Name Is Earl” and “Medium.”
Neither show knew of its fate late Monday – probably not a good sign. “Chuck” earned a reprieve over the weekend, while the “Law & Order” mother ship finally got a firm pickup on Monday.
“Law & Order” is one of several series that have come down to the wire as 11th hour re-negotiations stalled a pickup announcement. Nets are looking to hold the line on license fees, while studios and producers are trying to figure out how to produce a show wil a slashed budget.
A 20th season of “L&O” was never really in doubt. Although the show doesn’t perform like it once did, it’s still a signature player for NBC – and Wolf was keen to see the show mark its 20th anniversary.
As for NBC’s schedule, new family drama “Parenthood” is expected to land on Wednesday, likely paired with “Law & Order: SVU.” If that’s the case, then “The Biggest Loser” will likely remain a two-hour block on Tuesday.
Thursday’s the usual four-comedy lineup from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., with new laffer “Community” thrown in. That leaves returnees “Chuck,” “Heroes” and “Southland,” as well as new drama “Trauma” expected to fill the remaining Monday and Friday slots in some order. “100 Questions” and “Mercy” will likely bow in midseason.