ABC orders new Shonda Rhimes soap, ‘Marvel’s Agent Carter’ and more


ABC is getting into the pickup corral, so far announcing orders for five new dramas -- including one from its buzz-maker, Shonda Rhimes -- and four new comedies.

Perhaps the most unsurprising order is for the sexy suspense legal thriller from “Grey’s Anatomy”-”Scandal” powerhouse duo Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers. “How to Get Away with Murder” stars Viola Davis as a “brilliant, charismatic and seductive” law professor who gets entangled with four students from her class. Start thinking of the hashtags.

And tagging along off a just-announced renewal for “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is “Marvel’s Agent Carter. The series stars “Captain America’s” Hayley Atwell and takes place a year after the events of “Captain America: The First Avenger.” It follows the story of Peggy Carter as she battles sexism in the 1940s and builds a career as a secret agent. Based on the one-shot featured on the “Iron Man 3” DVD, it hails from Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas (“Resurrection”).


Also joining the network slate is “American Crime.” The drama opens with a young California couple who were attacked in their home, leaving the husband dead and the wife barely hanging on. As both sets of parents hope for a recovery, four suspects are about to be arrested. Dubbed as a gritty drama, the case is said to stir tensions across racial lines. Felicity Huffman stars along with Timothy Hutton. “American Crime” is written, directed and produced by John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”).

Immortality is explored in “Forever,” which stars “Fantastic Four’s” Ioan Gruffudd as a New York City medical examiner who studies the dead for a simple reason: he’s immortal. It’s written by Matthew Miller (“Chuck”), who will also executive-produce alongside Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz.

Delving further into the sci-fi arena is alien drama “The Whispers.” Originally titled “The Visitors,” the series centers on an unseen alien force preying on humans and using children to overtake the world. It stars Barry Sloane (“Revenge”), Lily Rabe (“American Horror Story”) and Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes”). It’s written and co-executive produced by “Under the Dome’s” Soo Hugh.

On the comedy front, the network has ordered the Anthony Anderson comedy “Black-ish.” The semi-autobiographical half-hour centers on an upper-middle-class black couple (played by Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross) living in the suburbs who struggle to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity. Laurence Fishburne also appears as the grandfather figure. The comedy is written and executive-produced by “The Game’s” Kenya Barris. Joining as executive producers are Anderson, Fishburne and Larry Wilmore, along with James Griffiths.

Also in for the laughs is “Manhattan Love Story,” a romantic comedy of sorts that exposes the difference between the sexes through a new couple who have just begun dating. It was written by Jeff Lowell (“Drew Carey Show,” “Spin City.” He’ll also executive-produce along with Peter Traugott, Robin Schwartz, Rachel Kaplan and Jon Liebman.

Then there’s “Selfie,” which hails from writer Emily Kapnek (“Suburgatory”). Inspired by “My Fair Lady,” the single-camera comedy centers on a self-obsessed twentysomething woman (Karen Gillan) who’s “more concerned with ‘likes’ than being liked.” Kapnek will executive producer along with Julie Anne Robinson.


And while NBC and Fox are getting into the live musical business, ABC is trying its hand with a musical comedy fairy tale, “Galavant.” Dan Fogelman (“Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Tangled,”) has teamed with award-winning musical team Alan Menken and Glenn Slater for this tale of a dashing hero (Joshua Sasse) who lost his love (Mallory Jansen) to an evil king (Timothy Omundson). Now he’s out for revenge.