ABC's fall line-up: Family Fridays, via fantasy and fairy tales


By Mike Hughes

When the new TV
season starts this fall, two of ABC's nights will transform
drastically:

-- Fridays once
seemed like an afterthought. Now they'll be a family time for fantasy
and fairytales.

-- Sundays, however,
will be lower-budget, at least durinng football season. There will be
games and reality and such, but only one scripted show.

This is a plan that
took some late re-working. In the final days, the network agreed to
take the “American Idol” revival -- “advertisers like shows
that people watch live,” said programming chief Channing Dungey –
and a shortened season of “Quantico.” Both will wait for
mid-season, alongside a large pile of new shows and “The Bachelor.”

ABC's best nights –
Mondays through Thursdays – will have only modest changes.

On Mondays, Freddie
Highmore (“Bates Motel”) will play a brilliant-but-autistic
surgeon in “The Good Doctor,” from “House” creator David
Shore.

Tuesdays have two
high-concept shows: In “The Mayor,” a rapper runs for office as a
gimmick and is elected; in “The Gospel of Kevin.” Jason Ritter
plays a self-centered guy, suddenly getting a celestial nudge. “It
takes spirituality in a way that is fresh and heartwarming,” Dungey
said.

But two other nights
will change their identity. Instead of throwing big-budget shows
against football, ABC will have “America's Funniest Home Videos,”
“To Tell the Truth” and “Shark Tank,” followed by the Kyra
Sedgwick mini-series, “Ten Days in the Valley.”

That lets it move
the cinematic “Once Upon a Time” to Fridays, in what's virtually
a reboot. Henry will be grown up now, Dungey said; there will be
mostly new characters, with only a few – Rumpole, Hook, the Evil
Queen -- continuing.

Two Marvel fantasies
will follow it -- “Inhumans” this fall and the return of “Agents
of SHIELD” later.

The acclaimed
“American Crime” has been cancelled, as have the comedies “The
Real O'Neals,” “Last Man Standing” and “Doctor Ken.” For
now, that leaves ABC with no comedies taped in front of an audience;
Carol Burnett's “Household Name” is on hold and the “Roseanne”
remake is aimed at midseason. The fall line-up is:

-- Monday: “Dancing
With the Stars,” 8 p.m.; “The Good Doctor,” 10.

-- Tuesday: “The
Middle,” 8; “Fresh Off the Boat,” 8:30; “Black-ish,” 9;
“The Mayor,” 9:30; “The Gospel of Kevin,” 10.

-- Wednesday: “The
Goldbergs,” 8; “Speechless,” 8:30; “Modern Family,” 9;
“American Housewife,” 9:30; “Designated Survivor,” `10.

-- Thursday: “Grey's
Anatomy,” 8; “Scandal,” 9; “How to Get Away with Murder,”
10.

-- Friday: “Once
Upon a Time,” 8; “Inhumans,” 9; “20/20,” 10.

-- Saturday: College
football, 8 p.m. ET.

-- Sunday:
“America's Funniest Home Videos,” 7; “To Tell the Truth,” 8;
“Shark Tank,” 9; “Ten Days in the Valley,” 10.