ABC's fall line-up: Now THAT is diverse



By MIKE HUGHES

 

Whatever “diversity” means these days, ABC will have plenty
of it next season.


Often, TV people use that to describe shows with black producers
and stars. ABC has many of those shows, including a full night from producer
Shonda Rhimes; on Thursdays, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” lead into her new
“How to Get Away With Murder.”


Beyond that, it has new shows with Latina and Asian stars.
“We really do think ABC reflects the changing face of America,” said Paul Lee,
the programming chief.


He also has diversity in genres. At the extremes, Lee points
to two new series from movie people:


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“American Crime Story,” from “12 Years a Slave”
scriptwriter John Ridley. “It’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s incredibly
passionate,” he said.


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“Galavant,” a live-action, fairy-tale musical
from several of the people who have fueled Disney cartoon movies. Lee calls it
“’Spamalot’ meets ‘Princess Bride.’”


The catch is that viewers will have to wait for some of this.
Networks often hold their most unusual shows until mid-season, so they won’t
get lost in the fall rush. This year, ABC is doing that with “Galavant,” “American
Crime Story,” Eddie Huang’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and three more – Marvel’s “Agent
Carter,” the science-fiction “Whispers” and an adaptation of the Australian “Secrets
and Lies.”


Scheduling has often been a problem for ABC, with an overload
of shows that critics praise and viewers overlook. Lee is cancelling several
distinctive comedies – “Suburgatory,” “Trophy Wife,” “Neighbors,” “Mixology” –
and the stylish drama “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.”


Thursdays have long been an enigma. “You’ve seen us stumble
at 8 o’clock,” Lee said. So this year he’s moving Rhimes’ two hits (“Anatomy”
and “Scandal”) up an hour, adding her “Murder” (with Viola Davis as a law
professor, probing cases with four of her students) at 10.


Tuesdays were also a problem, when three networks had comedies
collided at 9 and 9:30 p.m. Now Lee is putting new comedies at 8 and 8:30 and moving
“SHIELD” to 9.


That’s a safer approach, but don’t expect things to be
entirely bland. The fall line-up has:


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ABC’s new passion for the undead. “Resurrection”
is back on Sundays; on Tuesdays, “Forever” has Ioan Gruffudd as a doctor trying
to learn why he’s lived for centuries.


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Comedies that eye the balance between assimilation
and ethnic tradition. That’s a theme of “Boat,” “Cristena” (with Cristena
Alonzo as creator and star) and, especially, “Black-ish,” an Anthony
Anderson/Laurence Fishburne comedy that gets the key slot behind “Modern Family.”


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A second chance for “Suburgatory” creator Emily
Kapnek. In her “Selfie,” a social-media queen tries to learn about real life.
It stars Karen Gillan of “Doctor Who”; alongside all its Englishmen (including
Gruffudd and Lee), ABC is adding Englishwomen, including Gillan and Hayley
Atwell, the “Agent Carter” star. That, too, is diversity.


The fall line-up is:


Mondays (unchanged): “Dancing with the Stars,” 8 p.m.;
“Castle,” 10


Tuesdays: “Selfie,” 8 p.m.; “Manhattan Love Story,” 8:30;
“Agents of SHIELD,” 9; “Forever,” 10.


Wednesdays: “The Middle,” 8 p.m.; “The Goldbergs,” 8:30; “Modern
Family,” 9; “Black-ish,” 9:30; “Nashville,” 10.


Thursdays: “Grey’s Anatomy,” 8 p.m.; “Scandal,” 9; “How to
Get Away With Murder,” 10.


Fridays: “Last Man Standing,” 8 p.m.; Cristela,” 8:30;
“Shark Tank,” 9; “20/20,” 10.


Saturdays: College football.


Sundays (unchanged): “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” 7;
“Once Upon a Time,” 8; “Resurrection,” 9; “Revenge,” 10.