ABC releases 2017-18 schedule

“Inhumans” debuts first in IMAX theaters before heading to TV.

Fourteen new series on tap; many scheduling moves

ABC announced its 2017-18 schedule in front of ad buyers during its annual upfront presentation on Tuesday – fourteen new series on tap, including many midseason entries.

But the big news (other than the acquisition of American Idol) is the return of Roseanne to the schedule for the first time in nearly 20 years. And I don’t mean in reruns (more on that later.)

ABC made many schedule changes in its fall lineup, which includes abandoning comedy on Fridays (remember, this was the onetime home of the popular TGIF block); and shifting non-scripted shows to Sundays. ABC made a last-minute pickup of Quantico despite low ratings; I suppose they want to stay in business with Priyanka Chopra, who is becoming an “it girl” of sorts.

Mondays has Dancing With The Stars (and The Bachelor in between) and a new drama The Good Doctor, in the ABC medical drama traditions of Ben Casey, Grey’s Anatomy and Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC continues its sitcom block on Tuesdays with black-ish the new middle anchor in the evening. The Middle starts it off, followed by Speechless, and lead out of black-ish is new comedy The Mayor, followed by new drama The Gospel Of Kevin.

Wednesdays is mostly unchanged with the exception of American Housewife replacing black-ish. Thursdays also stays the same with Scandal entering its seventh and final season.

The nights receiving the biggest makeovers are Fridays and Sundays – the first two hours on Fridays feature dramas – Once Upon A Time shifting from Sundays and Marvel’s new Inhumans, whose pilot episode is debuting in IMAX theaters Sept. 1 before it premieres as an eight-week series, then replaced by the fifth season of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. The last hour of Friday remains unchanged with 20/20.

Sundays features a major change with unscripted series To Tell The Truth and Shark Tank joining America’s Funniest Home Videos and a new drama Ten Days In The Valley. But all of this is a holdover for the arrival of former Fox hit American Idol, who named Katy Perry as their first judge.

Other midseason entries other than Roseanne and Idol are Dancing With The Stars Juniors, and The Bachelor Winter Games.

With ABC in fourth place, it’s no surprise the network is making some major changes – particularly Sundays, where it needs the most help – Shark Tank should be a great alternative for those who do want to want football or a CBS drama. And American Idol will get instant interest, so it’s all good.

As for their new series – and being biased toward sci-fi and fantasy as yours truly is – The Inhumans is the most interesting. But since the series is only an eight-episode run, the series would have to be good out of the gate or it’ll be written off quick – and airing on low-level HUT Friday nights doesn’t help. The Mayor meanwhile, is being promoted as “a Lea Michele comedy series”, when she’s not even the lead (the series does not bare resemblance to an earlier ABC effort, the 1986 sitcom He’s The Mayor with White Shadow alumnus Kevin Hooks.) The Good Doctor is, ahem “good” if you like medical series, and if it’s better than Marcus Welby, a huge plus. Then again, anything is better than Marcus Welby. 

Black-ish is given a huge vote of confidence moving to a Tuesday night tent-pole slot in a smart move. But other than that, not much change in the comedy ranks.

The biggest news (outside of Idol) of course, the return of Roseanne after two decades off the air. While details haven’t been ironed out yet, the entire cast (including Sarah Clarke, one of the two actresses who played Becky) is returning – even Michael Fishman!

When the announcement was made in front of ad buyers at ABC’s upfronts Tuesday, it got a cold reception…as in none.

As far as reboots for successful series goes – and not counting first-run syndicated revivals (Charles in Charge, We Got It Made, etc.), history isn’t on their side: the most absurd case was a reboot of Get Smart on Fox in 1995, 25 years after the series had its last network broadcast featuring the son of Agents 86 and 99, played by Andy Dick, bumbling and stumbling just like dear ol’ dad. Pathetic. The idea of a Roseanne reboot is ridiculous, and perhaps the stupidest idea yours truly has ever heard of (actually I’ve heard of even more lamer ideas.)

So in addition to Full House, X-Files, Will & Grace, we now have Roseanne. I suppose coming up next, we’ll have a reboot of Dharma & Greg. Or According To Jim.

Or Marcus Welby. The possibilities are fucking endless.

So the question you’re asking is will ABC improve in the ratings next season? Yeah, why not.

To see the fall schedule and read detailed descriptions of each show, including the complete list of midseason entries, click here.