ABC unveiled its fall schedule Tuesday, touting the blockbuster success of its reboot of “Roseanne” and its plans to build on that triumph with a mix of new family comedies and dramas featuring familiar TV faces in new places.
The most “Roseanne”-esque of the newcomers, the half-hour comedy “The Kids Are All Right,” will follow “Roseanne” on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. The series centers on a working-class Irish Catholic family in 1970s Los Angeles and was created by Tim Doyle, a writer on “Roseanne” during that show’s initial run.
In a conference call with reporters before the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers in New York, Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, downplayed the “Roseanne” connection.
“We already developed our shows and ordered our pilots before we’d even launched ‘Roseanne.’” Dungey said. “We had gone into our development season placing an emphasis and a priority on family comedy. The fact that ‘Roseanne’ has resonated as strongly as it has is fantastic, but it kind of fits in with the building blocks we already had in place.”
As expected, “Roseanne” and its controversy-courting star Roseanne Barr was a hot topic during the call, and Dungey confirmed there was “a little bit” of concern that the politically divisive Twitter presence of Barr might affect response to the show. She also defended what many viewers and critics interpreted as a dismissive joke directed toward the diverse perspectives of ABC’s cultural comedies “black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.”
“We felt like the writers were simply tipping the hat to those shows. It certainly wasn’t meant to offend,” Dungey said, adding that she was surprised by the criticism the line generated. “That said, I do stand by the ‘Roseanne’ writers in terms of the decision to include that line. I think they felt that they were expressing the point of view of the Conners.”
When asked whether politics would continue to be a presence on “Roseanne” in the new season, Dungey said she expected that the show would continue its trajectory of focusing more on economic and family issues than any character’s political beliefs.
Tuesday night continues with the returning “black-ish” and “Splitting Up Together” and will be followed by the hour-long drama “The Rookie,” starring Nathan Fillion (“Castle”) as a small town cop ( fulfilling his dream of joining the LAPD.
The network’s Monday lineup stands pat with The Good Doctor” and “Dancing With the Stars,” which will also spawn the kid-centric spinoff “Dancing With the Stars: Juniors.” The competition series airs Mondays at 8 p.m. followed by “Shark Tank” and the new series “The Alec Baldwin Show” at 10 p.m., a celebrity chat show originally titled “Sundays With Alec Baldwin” that was previewed on ABC in March.
The Baldwin series will be the first talk show to be featured in network prime time since Jay Leno’s short-lived chat fest in 2009.
The ’80s comedy “The Goldbergs” returns for a sixth season to lead ABC’s Wednesday slate, followed by “American Housewife,” which moves to 8:30 p.m. “The Goldbergs” is also being mined for the spinoff “Schooled,” which features “Saturday Night Live” alum Tim Meadows and is set among the teachers at William Penn Academy in the ’90s. The series is planned for later in the season.
Wednesday night continues with “Modern Family” at 9 p.m., followed by the new ensemble comedy “Single Parents” featuring Leighton Meester (“Gossip Girl”) and another “SNL” veteran, Taran Killam. The series is followed by the new drama “A Million Little Things,” which centers on a group of friends in Boston with a cast that includes Ron Livingston (“Loudermilk,” “Sex and the City”) and Romany Malco (“Weeds”).
Thursday night remains a showcase for Shonda Rhimes’ dramas, including the 15th season of “Gray’s Anatomy” at 8 p.m., followed by the renewed “Station 19” and “How to Get Away With Murder.”
The network’s schedule for Friday also includes a reworked family comedy lineup that opens with the fifth season of “Fresh Off the Boat” at 8 p.m., followed by “Speechless” and the Ricky Gervais game show “Child Support.” The durable news magazine “20/20” concludes the night at 10 p.m.
“We did really well with comedies on Friday for many years,” Dungey said when asked about the schedule shift. “We feel like we’re returning to form with that, and we think that both ‘Fresh’ and ‘Speechless’ are shows both strong enough to survive the move.”
Among the network’s midseason offerings include “The Fix,” a legal drama co-written and executive produced by Marcia Clark, the former prosecutor’s first scripted TV drama. The series centers on “an L.A. district attorney [Robin Tunney] who suffers a devastating defeat when prosecuting an A-list actor for double murder.”
Also planned for later in the season are the Eva Longoria-produced drama “Grand Hotel” and “Whiskey Cavalier,” an action comedy that features Lauren Cohan from “The Walking Dead.” The network also announced that “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will return for a sixth season in the summer.
Shows not returning to ABC include “Alex, Inc,” “The Crossing,” “Deception,” “Designated Survivor,” “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” “Marvel’s Inhumans,” “Quantico,” “Ten Days in the Valley” and “The Mayor.”
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