Upfronts: ABC's New Shows and Schedule for 2013-14

  • Publish Date: May 14, 2013
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Updated 2:26pm with trailers for the new shows.

Our comprehensive coverage of the TV network upfront presentations this week in New York continues with a look at ABC's plans for the 2013-14 season. We'll have additional reports for the other networks each day this week. See more upfronts coverage...


At a glance

  • ABC has canceled as many scripted shows as it is keeping, with only two first-year programs surviving: Nashville, and the once-ridiculed aliens-next-door comedy The Neighbors.
  • Grey's Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, and Scandal will likely find their seasons split in two, with approximately 12-episode runs this fall, followed by a hiatus in the winter (when new shows will premiere in their time slots) and then a return in the spring.
  • Dancing with the Stars will be reduced to just one night a week, although it will continue to air in both the fall and spring.
  • Altogether, the network will introduce seven new dramas (including a highly anticipated series set in Marvel's Avengers universe), five new comedies, and one new reality series during the 2013-14 season.
  • In addition to its new series, the network has ordered a new Toy Story Halloween special, Toy Story of Terror, to air in October; the original cast of the Pixar movie will return.
  • ABC has also announced a new iOS/Kindle app ("WATCH ABC") that will allow cable and satellite subscribers to stream live content from their local ABC affiliate in select cities, starting with New York and Philadelphia (and expanding elsewhere this summer).
  • Longtime ABC presence Barbara Walters will retire from television (including The View) next summer, though she may still turn up from time to time on specials.

Renewed and canceled

While announcements about all of ABC's scripted shows came last week—among them, the cancellation of Happy Endings hurt fans the most, while the short life of How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) surprised experts, given that show's fairly strong ratings start a few months ago—news on the network's reality slate came today. There, the low-rated cooking competition The Taste was a surprise pickup. Note that both Happy Endings and Body of Proof are being pitched to cable networks, so one or both could return elsewhere next season.

Scripted shows are in bold below.

Renewed   Canceled or Ended   Fate Uncertain
America's Funniest Home Videos
The Bachelor/Bachelorette

Dancing with the Stars
Grey's Anatomy
Last Man Standing
The Middle
Modern Family
The Neighbors
Once Upon a Time
Shark Tank
The Taste
  666 Park Avenue
Body of Proof
Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23
Family Tools
Happy Endings
How to Live w/ Your Parents...
Last Resort
Malibu Country
Private Practice
Red Widow
Zero Hour
  Bet on Your Baby
Mistresses *
Motive *
Whodunnit? *
Wife Swap

* Season debuts this summer; status will be determined after show airs.

ABC's 2013-14 primetime schedules

ABC is trying something new on Tuesday nights. Make that many somethings new: the entire night will consist of first-year shows, led off by ABC's splashiest new series, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The all-new Tuesday is made possible by a format change to Dancing with the Stars, where results will now be revealed immediately as part of the show's once-a-week, two-hour Monday broadcast. Otherwise, the schedule is fairly stable, with the network attempting to break in yet another new drama at Sundays at 10p, while it will use The Middle and Modern Family as lead-ins to new comedies on Wednesdays in an attempt to finally find a half-hour that sticks. Those new comedies mean that the return of Suburgatory will be held back until midseason, as will the launch of five new shows. The Neighbors is the only returning show moving to a new night, and the shift to a less-demanding Friday slot could actually work in the show's favor.

New programs are indicated in bold in the schedule below. All times are ET/PT unless otherwise indicated.

ABC Fall 2013 Schedule
  7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN AFV Once Upon a Time Revenge Betrayal
MON   Dancing with the Stars Castle
TUE   Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Goldbergs Trophy Wife Lucky 7
WED   The Middle Back in the Game Modern Family Super Fun Night Nashville
THU   Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Grey's Anatomy Scandal
FRI   Last Man Standing The Neighbors * Shark Tank 20/20
SAT   Saturday Night College Football **
ABC Winter 2013 Schedule [Partial]
  7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN AFV The Quest Revenge Resurrection

* New day and/or time
** Football airs live across the country starting at 8p ET / 5p PT

Not debuting until midseason (day/time tbd):
The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Killer Women, Mind Games, Mixology, Suburgatory, The Taste

ABC's new shows

The 13 first-year series ordered for ABC's 2013-14 season are detailed below. Pilots that did not get picked up include Gothica (which would have been for monsters what Once Upon a Time is for fairy tales), Doubt (from House producer David Shore and starring Steve Coogan), Divorce: A Love Story (a comedy starring Jason Jones and Andrea Anders), Murder in Manhattan (about amateur mother-daughter sleuths in New York), Big Thunder (based loosely on the Disneyland ride), an adaptation of the UK comedy Pulling, the Rob Corddry-starring comedy Spy, and King John (a sitcom starring John Leguizamo).

ImageBack in the Game
COMEDY Wednesdays at 8:30p

A recently divorced single mom (Psych's Maggie Lawson) reluctantly moves back in with her estranged ex-baseball player father (James Caan) and coaches her son's little league team, finding herself "drawn back into the world of sports she vowed to leave behind." The series was once titled She's Got Balls, so at least that's changed. The show comes from Mark and Robb Cullen (previously of FX's Lucky and NBC's Heist), while the duo of John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) are also on board as producers.

DRAMA Sundays at 10p

The latest soapy mystery to attempt to make a go of it following Revenge on Sundays (you'd think, by definition, that Betrayal would come before Revenge), this Chicago-set drama centers on a woman (Hannah Ware) who begins an affair with an attorney (Stuart Townsend), only to learn that he will be opposing her husband (another attorney, played by Chris Johnson) in an upcoming high-profile murder trial. Also involved in the intrigue are James Cromwell, Wendy Moniz, and Henry Thomas; the show comes from former ER producer David Zabel, who is also responsible for the new Lucky 7 (see below). Only 12 or 13 episodes will air this season.

ImageThe Goldbergs
COMEDY Tuesdays at 8p

Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids) and Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) star as an "in-your-face mother" and a "hot-tempered father" who try to raise their three kids during the 1980s; George Segal (Just Shoot Me) co-stars. This Adam Sandler-produced, semi-autobiographical tale of a dysfunctional but loving family (formerly possessing the ABC-mandated too-long title of How the Hell Am I Normal?) comes from Community producer Adam F. Goldberg (no relation to the similarly named actor).

ImageKiller Women
DRAMA tbd midseason

Based on the Argentine series Mujeres Asesinas, Killer Women follows the only female member of the Texas Rangers (the law enforcement agency, not the baseball team—we want to be clear about that), played by Tricia Helfer. Also starring are Helfer's former Battlestar Galactica co-star Michael Trucco, plus Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Marta Milans (Shame). The show is produced by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) and Modern Family star Sofia Vergara, and is created by Hannah Shakespeare (screenwriter of The Raven).

ImageLucky 7
DRAMA Tuesdays at 10p

What happens when a group of seven gas station employees in Queens win a multi-million-dollar lottery jackpot? With any luck, something interesting ... since that's the premise of ABC's new Tuesday night drama. The cast includes The Wire's Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (yes, this guy), Matt Long (Private Practice), and Stephen Louis Grush (Detroit 1-8-7), and Steven Spielberg is among the producers.

ImageMarvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
DRAMA Tuesdays at 8p

The only thing that could make the title more unwieldy would be to call it Tyler Perry's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but no matter; not only is this the first live-action TV series set within the universe of Marvel's The Avengers, it marks the return to series television for Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) for the first time since Dollhouse. Whedon will executive produce the series, while his frequent collaborator (and always brother) Jed Whedon wrote the pilot with his wife and fellow Dollhouse vet Maurissa Tancharoen. The series revolves around Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg, reprising his role from The Avengers, where, yes, he did seem to die) and his team of agents (including ER's Ming-Na Wen, Nashville's Chloe Bennet, and Coronation Street's Iain De Caestecker) in the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. The real question: can they take down the even more powerful law-enforcement organization known as N.C.I.S.?

ImageMind Games
DRAMA tbd midseason

Formerly titled Influence, this quirky drama stars Steve Zahn and Christian Slater as brothers—one's a bipolar behavioral scientist recovering from an academic scandal, the other a charming ex-con—who start an agency that seeks to solve its clients' problems "using the real science of human motivation and manipulation." It's the latest network drama from Kyle Killen, whose unique show concepts go over much better with critics than they do with audiences; his previous two series (Lone Star 73 and Awake 75) were canceled quickly despite strong reviews. If this one has the same fate—a real possibility, given the presence of the similarly cursed Slater—he may want to consider cable.

COMEDY tbd midseason

This gimmicky comedy follows a group of 10 singles looking for love at a Manhattan bar over the course of a single night. That's right—the entire series will take place during just one single evening, which seems to portend a short on-air life right from the start. (We can't wait for the episode devoted to waiting in line for the bathroom.) The series comes from the writing duo of Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who wrote The Hangover and 21 & Over, two films dealing with a similarly compressed time scale.

ImageOnce Upon a Time in Wonderland
DRAMA Thursdays at 8p

A spin-off from the hit (well, hit-ish) fantasy drama Once Upon a Time, Wonderland focuses on the character of Alice (Sophie Lowe), a young girl believed by doctors in Victorian England to be insane, but who may, in fact, be experiencing quite the adventure. The casting coup here is signing John Lithgow to voice the White Rabbit; other co-stars include Peter Gadiot, Emma Rigby, and Michael Socha. Does primetime television need yet another fantasy series? ABC seems to think so (despite declining ratings for Once Upon a Time), giving the new show a high-profile Thursday night time slot.

The Quest
REALITY Sundays at 8p (midseason)

What sounds like an MMORPG crossed with The Amazing Race (whose producers are behind this new series), this reality fantasy competition asks a dozen competitors to undergo a series of challenges in "Everealm," describe by the network as "a land of magic and malevolence, where mythical creatures lurk in the woods, agents of darkness stir in the shadows, and mystical beings infiltrate the keep." We're still not quite sure what this entails, but at least it's not another singing competition. The show will run for a few months in the winter in the Sunday slot temporarily vacated by Once Upon a Time (which will then return in the spring).

DRAMA Sundays at 10p (midseason)

Based on an upcoming novel (The Returned, the original title for this show) by poet Jason Mott, this supernatural thriller depicts a small town where long-dead people begin showing up on their loved ones' doorsteps, each seemingly alive and looking exactly like they did on the day they died. Omar Epps (House), Devin Kelley (Covert Affairs, The Chicago Code), Frances Fisher (Titanic), Matt Craven (A Few Good Men), and Kurtwood Smith (That '70s Show) star for creator/producer Aaron Zelman (who has worked on The Killing, Criminal Minds, and Damages). Expect a 12- or 13-episode season.

ImageSuper Fun Night
COMEDY Wednesdays at 9:30p

After being rejected by CBS a year ago, this Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids) sitcom was retooled as a single-camera comedy and pitched to ABC, which ordered a pilot. Success! Not only did the second pilot get picked up, the series has been given Modern Family as a lead-in. The show centers on a group of three women friends (Wilson, Liza Lapira, and Lauren Ash) who have gathered (inside) together every Friday night for over a decade, until Wilson's character decides to take things to the next level by forcing the group to go out to a club in an attempt to impress a new work colleague. Conan O'Brien is among the producers, as is former 30 Rock producer John Riggi.

ImageTrophy Wife
COMEDY Tuesdays at 9:30p

The first pilot picked up from the in-demand team of Emily Halpern (a writer on Private Practice and The Unit) and Sarah Haskins, this single-camera comedy boasts a strong ensemble cast that includes Malin Akerman (Childrens' Hospital, Suburgatory), Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden, Michaela Watkins (SNL), and Natalie Morales (90210). Akerman stars as the titular trophy wife, a "reformed party girl" who finds herself with an instant family after marrying a twice-divorced man (Whitford) with three manipulative children. The Office's Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky are also on board as producers.

More coverage of the 2013-14 upfront presentations ...

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