ABC reveals new 2018-19 lineup

Makes aggressive changes; brings comedies back to Friday nights

ABC released its 2018-19 schedule Tuesday morning in advance of its upfront presentation on Tuesday, and there are some numerous changes.

For one, long-running series Once Upon A Time, Scandal and The Middle have retired and Agents of SHIELD was picked up at the last-minute only to get burned off next summer (2019). And ABC is back in the comedy business on Fridays after a year off when Last Man Standing was on the schedule (now on Fox)

In all, ten new series have been picked by ABC for the 2018-19 season, and six of them debut this fall.

“We enter the new season bolstered by success and the stability that it affords us,” said ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey. “The new shows we unveil today strengthen an already-vibrant schedule of some of the best television has to offer. These shows, with their compelling characters and aspirational storytelling, will keep our momentum going.”

With Monday nights unchanged from last season (The Bachelor takes over from Dancing With The Stars in winter), Tuesday brings the Roseanne revival back to lead off the night for thirteen episodes leading into The Kids Are All Right, a single-cam sitcom sets in the 1970s featuring an Irish-Catholic family. The other new show on the night is The Rookie, a traditional cop drama with Nathan Fillion.

Wednesdays has a new sitcom out of Modern Family: Single Parents, a single-cam sitcom about a single dad who “lost sight of who he is as a man” as his single parent friends try to get him back out in the dating world. The night concludes with new drama A Million Little Things, which is This Is Us meets thritysomething.

Thursdays remain unchanged from spring, though How To Get Away With Murder is being replaced midseason by For The People.

Significant changes are taking place Friday nights. Relocated sitcoms Fresh Off The Boat and Speechless lead off the night, followed by Child Support. While the title suggests a daytime court show featuring deadbeat dads, it’s actually a game show in the vain of Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, the 1982-83 CBS game show Child’s Play, and 1990’s syndicated The Quiz Kids Challenge.

Sundays leads off with Americas Funniest Home Videos, following by Dancing With The Stars Juniors, featuring celebrity kids paired up with junior ballroom dancers (with American Idol likely taking its place in February.) Leading out of Shark Tank is The Alec Baldwin Show, which got a sneak peek on Oscar night back in March.

Midseason shows include The Fix, Grand Hotel, Whiskey Cavalier (which is getting some buzz already), and Schooled.

To see the 2018-19 schedule, click here.

Looking at ABC’s sked, Roseanne is back this fall for only thirteen episodes. The program doesn’t have to talk about Trump in order to be controversial as a previous episode (Go Cubs) illustrated. The Kids Are Alright was actually one of the working titles for That 70’s Show – but don’t look for anyone named Kelso or someone wearing a Green Bay Packers helmet when they screw up (the Packers were screwups in the 1970s…in fact, so were the Bears.) Nathan Fillion meets every criteria to be overqualified as a forty-something newbie cop on The Rookie. Only in TV land, folks.

The most interesting risk being taken here is on Sundays with The Alec Baldwin Show. Baldwin picks the guests and controls the show, and is similar in vain to Charlie Rose’s and Dick Cavett’s interview programs (no audience or house bands.) Give ABC credit for trying something different instead of another failed high-priced drama and besides – it’s a nice way to close out the weekend.

As for Dancing Juniors, this may…or may not work – my guess is much of the cast could be filled with Disney Channel stars – not exactly broad appeal.

As for the upfront presentation itself, Jimmy Kimmel was indeed the best attraction:

“No one at ABC expected ‘Roseanne’ to be a big hit. But to be honest, we don’t expect any of our shows to be hits.”

“I have to admit, I’m excited about ‘Murphy Brown.’ I think it’s exciting to see anything brown at CBS.” [Not a poop joke.]

“We even canceled ‘Marvel’s Inhumans.’ Somehow we managed to have the only unsuccessful project with the word ‘Marvel’ in its title. It had never been done before.”

“NBC, I have an idea for a show. It’s called Chica-go to Another Fucking City Already.” [I’m a native Chicagoan and even I agree with this assessment.]

You can watch the trailers for seven of the new shows below: