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ABC adds four new shows in a stable prime-time schedule

ABC adds four new shows in a stable prime-time schedule
Tiffany Haddish at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. (Dominik Bindl)

ABC is taking a minimalist approach to the 2019-20 season by adding only three scripted shows and a reality reboot to its prime-time schedule.

ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke told reporters Tuesday ahead of the network’s presentation to advertisers that fewer changes are better for the viewer, who is already overwhelmed with programming choices by streaming services and cable networks that have stepped up their output.

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“We’re not trying to jam them with too many messages and too many shows to watch,” Burke said. “We resisted the temptation to pick up things that just weren’t ready. We’re going to invest in our long-running shows and continue to strengthen them and will only be launching the few that we think can really break through.”

Burke said it’s likely the network will announce pickups of other series from its latest round of program development after the season begins. ABC presented its schedule to advertisers gathered at Lincoln Center in New York ahead of the advance sales of TV ads for the 2019-20 TV season.

The new schedule was the first under Burke, who joined ABC from its cable network Freeform last year. She replaced Channing Dungey, who departed ABC after parent company Walt Disney acquired 21st Century Fox’s TV and movie assets. Former Fox TV chief Dana Walden is now overseeing Disney’s television entertainment operations.

ABC has been running fourth among the broadcast networks in the Nielsen ratings for the 18 to 49 age group coveted by advertisers, down 16% from a year ago.

Burke announced that ABC had acquired a new version of the classic series “Kids Say The Darndest Things” with “Girls Trip” star Tiffany Haddish as host. Haddish, who is also an executive producer of the show, will interview children giving their unvarnished views on topical issues.

The format of “Kids” has been around for decades, starting out as a radio segment on Art Linkletter’s “House Party.” Linkletter did it for years when he brought “House Party” to daytime TV. It later became a series on CBS with comic Bill Cosby as host, running from 1998 to 2000.

The network’s drama additions include “Emergence,” starring Allison Tolman as a police chief who takes in a young child she finds near the site of a mysterious accident attached to a large conspiracy theory.

ABC is also returning “How I Met Your Mother” co-star Cobie Smulders in “Stumptown,” about an Army veteran with a complicated love life. It’s based on a series of graphic novels by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth and Justin Greenwood.

ABC’s new comedy is a prequel to one of its long-running hits. From the creators of “black-ish,” the show “mixed-ish” explores the experience of Rainbow Johnson growing up in a mixed-race family. Arica Himmel plays the young Bow Johnson, who is portrayed as an adult by Tracee Ellis Ross on “black-ish.”

ABC will kick off Monday with a new season of “Dancing With the Stars” followed by the 10 p.m. drama “The Good Doctor.”

“The Conners” returns to Tuesday at 8 p.m. followed by the comedies “Bless This Mess,” “mixed-ish” and “black-ish.” “Emergence” will air at 10 p.m.

“The Goldbergs” is back on Wednesday at 8 p.m., followed by its spinoff “Schooled,” “Modern Family” and “Single Parents.” “Stumptown” will air at 10 p.m.

The durable “Grey’s Anatomy” returns Thursday at 8 p.m. followed by “A Million Little Things” at 9 p.m. and “How To Get Away With Murder” at 10 p.m.

ABC is moving the comedy “American Housewife” to Friday at 8 p.m., to be followed by “Fresh Off the Boat.” The network will air two hours of the newsmagazine “20/20” from 9 to 11 p.m.

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ABC will air ESPN-produced college football games on Saturday. “America’s Funniest Home Videos” returns Sunday at 7 p.m., followed by “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” “Shark Tank” and “The Rookie,” which moves to the 10 p.m. time slot that night.

ABC’s midseason shows include “The Baker and the Beauty,” a drama set in Miami with Victor Rasuk and Nathalie Kelley, and “For Life,” a legal drama with Nicholas Pinnock playing a prisoner who becomes a lawyer who litigates cases for other inmates.

ABC has also ordered new seasons of the Shonda Rhimes firehouse drama “Station 19,” and “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Reality competition shows “American Idol” and “The Bachelor” will also return during the new season.

On the comedy side, ABC also has “United We Fall,” a family sitcom with Will Sasso and Christina Vidal as his wife who comes from a large Latinx Catholic family.

ABC also announced that it has signed its late-night host Jimmy Kimmel to a new three-year contract.

The network has canceled “Speechless,” “The Kids Are Alright,” “Splitting Up Together,” “Whiskey Cavalier” and “The Fix.”

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