2012-13 Up-Fronts: ABC’s New Schedule

Now it’s time to wrap up the 2012-13 Fall Schedule posts with The Mouse House, otherwise known as Alphabet Soup, the home of Lost or just plain ABC if you’re bored.

ABC had not one but two monster hits in 2004 with Lost and Desperate Housewives. Both have since departed the network, but their effect still lives on through their dramas. ABC has become the home of soapy female-skewing dramas such as Revenge and Grey’s Anatomy.

Lost has proven more difficult to replace, though to its credit, ABC does continue to experiment with a number of high-concept dramas, such as The River and Missing (though admittedly not very well).

ABC also inadvertently reinvigorated the family comedy, taking The Office style of mockumentary and applying it to a diverse family group in the runaway hit Modern Family and, to a much lesser extent, The Middle and Suburgatory.

Despite this, ABC is hurting a bit, and needs to make a big splash this year in order to keep up with CBS and not allow fourth-place NBC back into the game.

CANCELLED SHOWS
101 Ways to Leave a Game Show – Uh, okay.
Charlie’s Angels – A serious attempt to bring this show back to the air proved awful.
Combat Hospital – Never heard of this. Did you?
Cougar Town – Moving to TBS; ABC never seemed to find a home for this cult fav.
Expedition Impossible – Amazing Race knockoff.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition – Concept seemed to wear out.
GCB – This show was supposed to be called Good Christian Bitches. Nuff said.
Karaoke Battle USA – People who can’t sing singing. Where could this go wrong?
Man Up! – Always good to alienate half your audience with a title.
Missing – Sounded like a good movie…could have called it “Taken”.
Pan Am – 60s style retro applied to the soapy concept, but never found its stride.
The River – What happens when you make high-concept a procedural.
Take the Money and Run – Another misuse of title.
Work It – I think ABC cancelled this while the second ep was on the air.

2012 FALL SCHEDULE
Monday
8pm (Fall) – Dancing with the Stars
8pm (Spring) – The Bachelor – Popular reality shows. Not much to say.
10pm – Castle – This show isn’t bad, but wish Nathan Fillion had a better show (like Firefly, or at least The Rockford Files).

Tuesday
8pm (Fall) _ Dancing with the Stars results show. I don’t understand the results show concept. Why overexpose your hit reality show by the doing an hour where basically nothing happens?
8pm (Spring) – How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) – Pretty decent concept for a show, no laugh track and some good talent (though I find Sarah Chalke’s shtick to get annoying).
8:30pm (Spring) – The Family Tools – I like JK Simmons. Sucks for him to be on this terrible show. Why does ABC persist in putting stupid punch line laugh track comedy with non-laugh track fare? (Fans of Cougar Town have been wondering this for two years).
9pm – Happy Endings – Has become something of a cult favorite, and ABC is showing a lot of confidence by allowing this to anchor its own night.
9:30pm – Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 – Didn’t like it much either, but should be a decent combo with Happy Endings.
10pm – Private Practice – The red-headed stepchild compared to Grey’s, but seems to hold on.

Wednesday
8pm – The Middle – One of my personal favorites, and a good lead-off to ABC’s comedy night.
8:30pm – Suburgatory – A little too cute for its own good, but fits in well here.
9pm – Modern Family – The best family comedy on television.
9:30pm – A show about a family who moves to the suburbs, but it turns out they are in a gated community with aliens. This is NOT the family show that ABC needed to pair Modern Family with.
10pm – Nashville – I’m a fan of Connie Britton for sure, and enjoyed Hayden Panettiere in Heroes (despite the show’s wandering in the woods). Not yet sure if this country singing show is supposed to be soapy or serious. But I honestly have a hard time seeing this as a long-term show. Feels more like a one season, extra long mini-series. How many confrontations can these two have?

Thursday
8pm – Last Resort – An interesting looking military high-concept serial about a naval submarine that goes rogue when ordered to nuke Pakistan in some sort of a conspiracy. Another show that seems more like a mini-series than a long-term serial, but I’ll probably give it a shot.
9pm – Grey’s Anatomy – This show gets worse with each passing year, but people seem to like it.
10pm – Scandal – Another Shonda Rhimes soapy show that did just well enough to get brought back.

Friday (starting in November)
8pm – Last Man Standing – Tim Allen’s star is holding this one in place. Smart of ABC to bring back the old school TGIF comedies. No one else is doing it right now.
8:30pm – Malibu Country – Fish out of water laugher starring Reba McEntire and a laugh track.
9pm – Shark Tank – Goofy reality show.
10pm – Primetime: What Would You Do? – Hidden camera series.

Sunday
7pm – America’s Funniest Home Videos – A Sunday family staple.
8pm – Once Upon a Time – Surprisingly solid Sunday show. Developed well with some surprising twists and acting that gets better by the episode.
9pm – Revenge – Soapy scandal series is a hit with the women-folk. Sliding it into the Desperate Housewives timeslot will skew the night younger, which is a good thing.
10pm – 666 Park Avenue – ABC couldn’t find a solid fit for this night; will 666 Park Avenue be it? Probably not; this is a supernatural show startin Terry O’Quinn (Lost, Hawaii Five-0). Net made a mistake with this scheduling.

WHAT THE SCHEDULE SHOULD LOOK LIKE
This is closer to CBS than NBC in terms of poor scheduling; a few tweaks should get this right and give the net’s freshman shows a better chance of seeing Season 2.

Monday
8pm – Dancing with the Stars
10pm – Castle – The two seem to draw a similar audience and pair well. Why mess with something that’s working?

Tuesday
8pm – Happy Endings
8:30pm – Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23
9pm – 666 Park Avenue
10pm – Last Resort – These two fit better together. Would be best if the net had a third, established show that worked with these two instead of the comedies but this combination has a decent shot.

Wednesday
8pm – The Middle
8:30pm – Suburgatory
9pm – Modern Family
9:30pm – How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life). A much better fit here to complete the family night of comedy.
10pm – Primetime: What Would You Do?

Thursday
8pm – Scandal
9pm – Grey’s Anatomy
10pm – Private Practice – This show is better paired with its sister show; plus the Grey’s lead in can only help it. Just call this Shonda Rhimes night.

Friday
8pm – Last Man Standing
8:30pm – The Family Tools – Put a laugher with a laugher.
9pm – Malibu Country – Probably the best draw of the new laugh-track shows.
9:30pm – The Neighbors – This show just won’t make it. But it’s best chance is here.
10pm – Shark Tank – Wacky reality show is a good fit to cap off the comedy night.

Sunday
7pm – America’s Funniest Home Videos
8pm – Once Upon a Time
9pm – Revenge
10pm – Nashville – This is the show that fits with the previous two; fixes up Sunday night for The Mouse.