ABC overhauls lineup

abc_banner_bgrndThey’re no fools, ABC retools; ten new shows highlight 2016-17 schedule

As expected, ABC has overhauled its schedule for 2016-17, the first under new ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey.

Unlike NBC and Fox, who are introducing just three new shows onto their fall schedules and saving the rest for midseason, ABC is going full throttle, adding five new shows to their lineup. The biggest note is their commitment to comedy, restoring a full two-hour sitcom block on Tuesdays it abandoned years ago.

ABC Tuesday lineup featured some of television’s most popular and well-remembered shows, including Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Three’s Company, Taxi, Who’s The Boss, Roseanne, Home improvement, and Full House.

Mondays starts off with Dancing With The Stars as usual, followed by the new Hayley Atwell drama Conviction, about a political family. Tuesdays sees The Middle relocated from its longtime home and leads into Jenna Elfman’s new American Housewife. Fresh Off The Boat moves an hour later, followed by midseason entry The Real O’Neils, with Marvel’s Agents of Shield to cap off the night.

Wednesdays has The Goldbergs a half-hour earlier, paired up with new comedy Speechless, leading-in to Modern Family and Black-ish. The night is capped off with new Kiefer Sutherland drama Designated Survivor, which is already getting a lot of buzz.

Thursdays has Notorious sandwiched between a still potent Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder, with Scandal returning in midseason. With Fridays and Saturdays unchanged, Sundays shows Secrets And Lies in-between Once Upon A Time and Quantico, replaced in midseason with Time After Time.

Click here to see the 2016-17 fall schedule.

This is the first lineup under Channing Dugney’s watch, replacing Paul Lee as ABC Entertainment President last March. ABC is taking an aggressive tack by introducing several new shows and making schedule changes, addressing weak spots.

During the upfront presentation, there was a lot of boogin’ down with a Priyanka Chopra dance number and Jimmy Kimmel doing stand up. Kimmel, who recently inked a three-year renewal for his late-night talk show with ABC, rightfully poked fun at rival CBS, noting “CBS objects to the term ‘live’ because so many of their viewers aren’t.” (CBS seems to have a dead guy named Larry Tisch still running the network from the grave.)

On Twitter Tuesday, yours truly suggested Shield should move to Friday, giving its low ratings. However, Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken actually draw more viewers than Shield, so…yeah, that idea was dumb. Tuesday at 10 p.m. (9 p.m.CT) was the only other place to put Shield. Just be grateful I don’t program your network.

Also love the idea of ABC re-establishing a comedy block on Tuesday to go with its existing Wednesday one – similar to what it had in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s (in addition to TGIF.)

For ABC, there is nowhere to go but up for the network’s prime-time schedule. This is an encouraging start.

And for those of your wondering ABC having ten sitcoms on its schedule is NOT a record. In 1989, ABC had as many as 16 sitcoms on its fall schedule.