Upfronts: ABC Announces 2011-12 Primetime Schedule

  • Publish Date: May 17, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 6 user comments

The highlights

ABC's 2011-12 Lineup
New / Returning
Comedy 5 4
Drama 8 5
Reality 0 6

Mired in third place in the ratings once again, ABC will shake things up next season by introducing 13 new shows in 2011-12 -- three more than it announced last year at this time -- with many seemingly targeting a female demographic. Some highlights from the network's official Tuesday announcements:

  • As reported last Friday, the visitors on V have overstayed their welcome and the sci-fi series will not return for a third season.
  • Also canceled is long-running drama Brothers & Sisters, first-year Matthew Perry sitcom Mr. Sunshine, and -- unsurprisingly -- fellow freshmen series Better With You, No Ordinary Family, Off the Map, and Detroit 187.
  • Not every struggling show got the ax, however; newcomers Happy Endings and Body of Proof will return for a second season. Reality shows Shark Tank and Secret Millionaire will also return.
  • ABC's lineup will continue to skew heavily toward dramas; of the 13 new series arriving during 2011-12, eight are dramas. That said, the network will be introducing a new comedy night -- Tuesdays -- which will feature two sitcoms to start the season and four (including Cougar Town, which will get a late start this year on its new night) once Dancing with the Stars concludes.
  • The network will hold back five first-year series and three returning shows until midseason, with no hint of the actual midseason schedule provided.
  • ABC's most prominent new shows include a new Tim Allen sitcom called Last Man Standing, the Ashley Judd drama Missing, 1960s-era drama Pan Am, a thriller (The River) from the creators of Paranormal Activity, a reboot of Charlie's Angels, a drama featuring fairy tale characters in the modern world (Once Upon a Time), and yet another Shonda Rhimes drama (Scandal).
  • However, ABC passed on several other pilots, including a D.C.-set political drama from the creators of Gossip Girl, Marc Cherry's good vs. evil drama Hallelujah (which was to star Lost's Terry O'Quinn and Terriers' Donal Logue), a cop drama starring Angela Bassett, and an odd supernatural crime procedural that featured writer Edgar Allan Poe as a detective.
  • Two of ABC's new series originally had the word "bitch" in their titles; both, rather predictably, have been retitled.

Below, we take a closer look at ABC's projected schedule, followed by descriptions for each of the network's new programs.

ABC's primetime schedule

In addition to the shows listed below, the following new shows do not yet have a firm timeslot but have been picked up for the 2011-12 season and will arrive later in the year: The Bachelor, Good Christian Belles, Happy Endings, Missing, The River, Scandal, Secret Millionaire, Work It.

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

ABC Fall 2011 Schedule
  7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN American's Funniest Home Videos Once Upon a Time Desperate Housewives Pan Am
MON   Dancing with the Stars [2 hr] Castle
TUE   Last Man Standing Man Up! Dancing with the Stars * Body of Proof
WED   The Middle Suburgatory Modern Family Happy Endings Revenge
THU   Charlie's Angels Grey's Anatomy Private Practice
FRI   Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Shark Tank 20/20
SAT   Saturday Night College Football **

* Cougar Town and new comedy Apartment 23 will air Tuesdays at 9p and 9:30p after Dancing with the Stars concludes.
** ABC's college football coverage airs live nationwide beginning at 8p ET / 5p PT.

ABC's new programs

First-year series on ABC's schedule during the 2011-12 season include:

ImageApartment 23

Apartment 23 (formerly The Bitch in Apt. 23) Trailer
A naive young woman (Dreama Walker) moves to Manhattan to start her dream job -- with a company-provided apartment -- only to be thrown out on the street when her employer unexpectedly goes under. After grabbing a job at a coffee shop, she quickly meets another young New Yorker (Krysten Ritter), who swindles her, sleeps with her fiancé, and, naturally, becomes her friend and roommate. Oh, and she's friends with James Van Der Beek, playing himself. It's a comedy, if that helps.

ImageCharlie's Angels

Charlie's Angels Watch Trailer
This Miami-set reboot of the 1970s ABC series about a trio of female private investigators comes from Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and is also produced by Drew Barrymore (who appeared in the 2000 movie version and its sequel). Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights), Annie Ilonzeh (General Hospital), and Australian actress Rachael Taylor star as the Angels, while Robert Wagner provides the voice of their unseen boss.

ImageGood Christian Belles

Good Christian Belles (formerly Good Christian Bitches)
Based on the book Good Christian Bitches by Kim Gatlin, this drama (which probably won't air until spring) centers on a single mother who returns to her hometown Dallas community -- where, as a "mean girl" in high school, she would terrorize her lesser classmates -- to re-start her life after the death of her husband following his highly publicized arrest for running a Ponzi scheme. Off the Map's Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts will serve as showrunners; the adaptation comes from Steel Magnolias playwright Robert Harling and producer Darren Star (Sex and the City). Leslie Bibb, Kristin Chenoweth, and Annie Potts star.

ImageLast Man Standing

Last Man Standing (formerly Tim) Watch Trailer
Tim Allen returns to network television for the first time since his long-running hit Home Improvement in a sitcom created by Jack Burditt (30 Rock) and produced by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum). Allen plays a truck-driving, beer-drinking man's man who finds himself living in an increasingly female-dominated world: his wife (Nancy Travis) is a successful executive, his daughter works multiple jobs to save up for a house, and the boss at the sporting goods company where he works just promoted his niece to CEO. However will he cope? (Hilariously, hopes ABC, but don't bet on it.)

ImageMan Up!

Man Up! Watch Trailer
Not every new show on ABC next season will be female-centric; the network bills this comedy from writer Christopher Moynihan (who also stars) as being "in the vein of The Hangover." (Sure it is.) The series centers on three sensitive, metrosexual men (Moynihan, Dan Fogler, and Mather Zickel) who begin to embrace their more conventionally masculine sides after one of the trio crashes his ex-girlfriend's wedding in an attempt to win her back.

Missing (formerly Hall of Mirrors)
Ashley Judd brings some star power to ABC (in her first TV role since NBC's Sisters in the early 1990s) as a single mother -- and former CIA agent -- determined to find her son after he vanishes under suspicious circumstances while studying abroad. Shot on location in Europe, this twist-filled, 10-episode drama from Gregory Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) also stars Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) as her late husband (he appears in flashbacks) and Cliff Curtis (Trauma) as a CIA agent who assists her search.

ImageOnce Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time Watch Trailer
Fairytale characters living among us in our modern world? We haven't heard such an original idea since ... NBC's upfront presentation yesterday. Unlike that network's Grimm, however, Once Upon a Time is not a crime procedural. Instead, this drama centers on a 28-year-old bail bonds collector (House's Jennifer Morrison) who is confronted by her now-10-year-old son she had given up for adoption, a boy who believes her to be the missing daughter of Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White (Big Love's Ginnifer Goodwin). When she moves with him to a strange New England town named Storybrooke -- where more fairytale characters live under alternate identities -- she begins to believe his story. The series was created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, who learned a thing or two about developing a mythology while writing for Lost. (And Tron: Legacy, but we'll excuse that one.)

ImagePan Am

Pan Am Watch Trailer
No, you are not going Mad (Men); there are indeed several new dramas on the networks' 2011-12 schedules that are set during the 1960s. In addition to NBC's Playboy Club, ABC has this soapy drama about airline stewardesses and pilots that takes place in the very same year (1963). Christina Ricci toplines a cast that also includes Kelli Garner (The Aviator, appropriately enough) and Michael Mosley (Scrubs). The series was created by Jack Orman (ER, JAG) and is directed and produced by Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing)


Revenge Watch Trailer
Emily VanCamp (Everwood, Brothers & Sisters) stars as a woman who adopts a new identity and moves to the Hamptons for one reason, which her new neighbors do not yet realize: to seek revenge against every person who had a role in destroying her family years before. Splitting time between past and present events, this drama also stars Madeleine Stowe and Henry Czerny (The Tudors). The pilot is directed by Philip Noyce (Salt), and the series was created by Mike Kelley (Swingtown).

ImageThe River

The River Watch Trailer
Michael Green (a writer for Heroes, Kings, and the upcoming Green Lantern movie) and Paranormal Activity writer-director Oren Peli are among the producers for this supernatural thriller (likely debuting next spring) set in the Amazonian jungle. Combining an ongoing mystery with stand-alone storylines, the series centers on the host of a nature show (Bruce Greenwood) who vanishes in a magic-filled uncharted region in South America, and his loyal family and crew who begin searching for him -- while filming a documentary series about their adventures. (Why have a conventionally-shot drama when you can pretend that it's "found footage" instead?)


Scandal (formerly Damage Control) Watch Trailer
Though her most recent show (Off the Map) didn't last long, ABC certainly hasn't given up on Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. Her latest drama for the network ventures outside her medical show comfort zone, centering on a woman (Kerry Washington) who works as a professional "fixer" to the rich and powerful. Each week, the soapy procedural finds her and her team dealing with a new crisis, racing against the clock to avert a disaster while simultaneously dealing with their own personal issues. Henry Ian Cusick (Lost) and Tony Goldwyn also star.


Suburgatory Watch Trailer
An overprotective single father decides to move with his 16-year-old daughter away from the dangers and temptations of Manhattan and into the suburbs in this single-camera comedy from Emily Kapnek (Hung). Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines, and Alan Tudyk star; ABC bills the series as a combination of "Juno's heightened reality with Father Knows Best's heart," which you can take as either an enticement or a warning.

ImageWork It

Work It Trailer
Television's first cross-dressing buddy comedy since Bosom Buddies, Work It centers on a pair of men -- one a husband and father, the other a womanizer -- who lose their jobs at a local car dealership when the economy tanks. The two friends are unable to find any decent employment until they learn about openings for sales reps at a pharmaceutical company. The only catch? The company is only looking for female reps ... but that's nothing a wardrobe change and some makeup can't solve. The multi-camera sitcom comes from Friends scribes Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (6)

  • Mitch Tough  

    Surprisingly, several of these shows look pretty good!

  • Josh  

    I just can't imagine -anyone- billing a show called "Suburgatory" with a straight face.

  • Bri  

    wow I'm pissed they cancelled Better with You and Mr. Sunshine! ... but all these new sitcoms look good surprisingly!

  • alfrida  

    One word DISASTER, and they gave up on V and no ordinary family. shame on UUUUUUUUUUUU

  • ciayrra  

    I hate that they cancelled no ordenary family, but the new shows seem alright.

  • kekee  

    dont they have medical/hospital reality show? i was looking forward to see which hospital will be featured this summer!

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