Upfronts: ABC's New Shows and 2014-15 Schedule

  • Publish Date: May 13, 2014
  • Comments: ↓ 1 user comment

Updated at 3:05pm with new trailers and details.

Our comprehensive coverage of the TV network upfront presentations this week in New York continues with a look at ABC's plans for the 2014-15 season. We'll have additional reports for the other networks each day this week. See more upfronts coverage...


Highlights and notes

  • ABC officially announced 12 new shows for 2014-15, including five comedies, a musical, and six dramas—most notably, a second Marvel series, Agent Carter. Two additional shows (miniseries Astronaut Wives Club and similarly titled but unrelated drama The Club [now called Members Only]) were previously ordered by the network and are presumed to still be in ABC's plans for next season, though they have so far been omitted from today's announcements.
  • Thursdays will be Shonda Rhimes night, with all three hours given over to the producer's shows. Grey's Anatomy and Scandal will each shift an hour earlier to make way for her newest drama, How to Get Away With Murder. (Producer Aaron Spelling had a similar one-night triple-header for ABC in the early 1980s.)
  • Other schedule changes (see below) are minor—maybe a bit too minor for a network mired in fourth place—with The Goldbergs shifting to Wednesdays, and Agents of SHIELD moving back an hour to 9p.
  • Many shows (including SHIELD, Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, and Once Upon a Time) will go the split-season route this year, with first-year programs scheduled in their time slots during their breaks. (The split-season shows, including Scandal, which had a shorter season last year, will still receive regular 22-episode orders.)
  • In addition to the shows listed below, ABC will air another Toy Story holiday special (Toy Story That Time Forgot) late this year.

Renewed and canceled

The only new announcements today were official renewals for newsmagazine 20/20 and cooking competition The Taste, the latter being a mild surprise.

Scripted shows are in bold below.

Renewed   Canceled or Ended   Fate Uncertain
America's Funniest Home Videos
The Bachelor
Dancing With the Stars
The Goldbergs
The Great Christmas Light Fight
Grey's Anatomy
Last Man Standing
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD
The Middle
Modern Family
Once Upon a Time
Shark Tank
The Taste
  The Assets
Back in the Game
Killer Women
Lucky 7
Mind Games
The Neighbors
Once... in Wonderland
Super Fun Night
Trophy Wife
  The Bachelorette *
Bachelor in Paradise *
Bet on Your Baby *
Black Box
Celebrity Wife Swap
Extreme Weight Loss *
Grand Central *
Mistresses *
Motive *
NY Med *
The Quest *
Rising Star *
Rookie Blue *
Sing Your Face Off *
Wipeout *

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

ABC's 2014-15 primetime schedule

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

ABC Fall 2014 Schedule
  7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN AFV Once Upon a Time Resurrection Revenge
MON   Dancing with the Stars Castle
TUE   Selfie Manhattan Love Story Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. * Forever
WED   The Middle The Goldbergs * Modern Family Black-Ish Nashville
THU   Grey's Anatomy * Scandal * How to Get Away With Murder
FRI   Last Man Standing Cristela Shark Tank 20/20
SAT   Saturday Night College Football **

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

Not debuting until midseason (day/time tbd):
Agent Carter, American Crime, Astronaut Wives Club, The Bachelor, The Club, Fresh of the Boat, Galavant, The Great Christmas Light Fight, Secrets & Lies, The Taste, The Whispers

ABC's new shows

The 14 first-year series ordered for ABC's 2014-15 season are detailed below. Pilots that did not get picked up include the comedy Bambi Cottages (in which married couple Paul F. Tompkins and Molly Shannon run a B&B with their kids), psychic crime procedural Clementine, an adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons starring Katie Holmes, the dark crime thriller Exposed (based on yet another Scandinavian series) that was to star Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the David Schwimmer comedy Irreversible, the Kevin Hart divorce comedy Keep It Together, and Henry Winkler vehicle The Winklers.

Agent Carter
DRAMA Tuesdays at 9p (January)

Developed in relative secrecy without shooting a pilot, Marvel's second ABC series has Hayley Atwell reprising her Agent Peggy Carter from the Captain America films as well as a short film that appeared on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray. It is actually the latter that serves as a stepping-off point for this series, which will find Carter navigating life as a single woman in 1946 while attempting to make the most of her job working for the covert Strategic Scientific Reserve. Additional casting has not yet been announced. Expected to have a very short first season (likely 13 or fewer episodes) that depicts a single case, Agent Carter will air in Agents of SHIELD's time slot beginning in January while that show takes a break.

ImageAmerican Crime
DRAMA Sundays at 9p (midseason)

Created by veteran TV/film writer John Ridley (a recent Oscar winner for 12 Years a Slave), this gritty drama examines the impact of a tragic crime on the residents of racially divided California farm town Modesto, including the victims' families, potential suspects, and investigators. The ensemble cast features Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Timothy Hutton (Leverage), Benito Martinez (The Shield), W. Earl Brown (Deadwood), and Penelope Ann Miller. American Crime is expected to take Resurrection's Sunday time slot when that show concludes its 15- or 16-episode second season in February.

The Astronaut Wives Club
MINISERIES tbd midseason

Postponed from its planned summer 2014 start—and omitted completely from ABC's announcements today, though presumably it remains on the schedule—this 10-episode miniseries is based on Lily Koppel's nonfiction book about the wives of America's Mercury Seven astronauts in the early 1960s. The series' own failure to launch this July is due to creative retooling; the scope will be broadened to cover the later Gemini and Apollo space programs as well. Adapted by Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl), Wives Club is expected to star JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Once Upon a Time), Odette Annable (House), Desmond Harrington (Dexter), Joel Johnstone (The Newsroom), and Kenneth Mitchell (Jericho).

COMEDY Wednesdays at 9:30p

The latest comedy to try to succeed in the seemingly desirable post-Modern Family time slot where so many others have failed, Black-ish finds a successful African-American husband and father wondering if his superficially ideal suburban lifestyle is pulling him too far away from his cultural roots. Anthony Anderson (All About the Andersons), Laurence Fishburne, and Tracee Ellis Ross (Girlfriends) head the cast. The new series will have to find a replacement for intended showrunner Larry Wilmore, who will leave to host his own nightly talk show (The Minority Report) on Comedy Central.

The Club Members Only
DRAMA tbd midseason

Another show omitted entirely from ABC's 2014-15 schedule announcement today, The Club (expect that title to change—Update: it did, as of this afternoon) likely remains in play for the current season simply by virtue of the fact that the network has already committed to ordering 13 episodes of the new series (without shooting a pilot). [Update: The network just confirmed that the show will indeed air next season.] This soap, about the wealthy members of an elite Connecticut country club and the family that runs it, was developed by Susannah Grant (Party of Five, screenwriter for Erin Brockovich) with an unlikely collaborator: three-time Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell. Sadly (though perhaps understandably), Russell has since dropped out of the project, which would have been his first for television. Breaking Bad's Betsy Brandt, Boris Kodjoe, Callie Hernandez, and Chris Conroy are the cast members announced so far.

COMEDY Fridays at 8:30p

After an extremely unusual development process that saw producers, convinced of the quality of their show, manage to win over a sceptical ABC by shooting a no-budget pilot on the fly, this multi-camera comedy managed to beat out more established names on ABC's development slate, only to be "rewarded" with a Friday night time slot. The sitcom was created by and stars comedian Cristela Alonzo (in her first-ever acting gig) as a sixth-year law student who finds her ambitions for a professional career being held in check by her working-class Mexican-American family.

DRAMA Tuesdays at 10p

This 13-episode crime procedural focuses on Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), an accomplished New York medical examiner. Oh, and did we mention that he's immortal? Yes, the man who knows so much about death can't even bother to die, himself. Typical. Alana De La Garza (Law & Order) co-stars as his detective partner, while Judd Hirsch plays his friend, who is the one person who knows the doctor's secret.

ImageFresh Off the Boat
COMEDY tbd midseason

Maybe it's the fourth-place ratings, or maybe there is some genuine awareness among ABC programmers, but ABC does seem to be the only major network at least making an an attempt to introduce a diversity of voices into its primetime lineup. One of several examples is this adaptation of Eddie Huang's hit memoir of the same name, which focuses on the future New York restaurateur's life as an 11-year-old hip-hop fan who moves with his family from DC's Chinatown to exotic suburban Orlando, Florida. The series comes from Nahnatchka Khan, creator of Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23. Unfortunately, the early word on the pilot is that it tames Huang's edginess.

MUSICAL Sundays at 8p and 8:30p (winter)

Though writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love.) just had his ABC sitcom The Neighbors canceled after two uneventful seasons, he'll get a fresh start with another ABC series, possibly the network's most unique entry of the new season. Galavant—described by network executives as "Camelot meets The Princess Bride"—is an original musical fairy-tale comedy about a down-on-his-luck hero (Joshua Sasse) who plots revenge against the evil king (Timothy Omundson) who stole the love of his life (Mallory Jansen). The series will feature original music from Broadway and film vets Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. It looks like Galavant will be a 30-minute show, with its short first season airing mostly as back-to-back episodes in Once Upon a Time's slot this winter while that show goes on a brief hiatus.

ImageHow to Get Away With Murder
DRAMA Thursdays at 10p

Give ABC some credit for (sometimes) recognizing what it does best: exploiting Disney's intellectual property library, and churning out Shonda Rhimes soaps. Murder falls into the latter category, making it one of three ABC dramas (along with the continuing Grey's Anatomy and Scandal) on next season's schedule (all on one night) for the veteran producer. The new legal thriller stars Viola Davis as a litigator who also works as a law professor at a highly competitive East Coast school. There, she teaches a first-year criminal law class where the students will do anything to get ahead—including doing whatever it takes to help their professor's high-profile client escape murder charges. Those skills come in especially handy when a few of those students find themselves entangled in their own murder case. Yup, that sounds like a Shonda Rhimes show (though not, we might add, much like an actual law school). Katie Findlay (The Carrie Diaries) and Liza Weil (Gilmore Girls) also star.

ImageManhattan Love Story
COMEDY Tuesdays at 8:30p

Would you like to get into the heads of a man and a woman in the beginning stages of a romantic relationship, and be able to listen to their very different thoughts as they navigate the world of dating? No? Please skip ahead to the next show. For the few of you remaining, single-camera comedy Manhattan Love Story comes from Drew Carey Show and Spin City writer Jeff Lowell, and stars Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love) and Jake McDorman (Greek).

ImageSecrets & Lies
DRAMA Thursdays at 10p (spring)

Ordered straight to series without a pilot, this 10-episode drama (likely, though not guaranteed, to land on Thursday nights when one of the Shonda dramas goes on mid-season hiatus) is an expanded remake of an Australian miniseries that aired earlier this spring. Like everything else these days, it's a bleak crime drama centering on a murder. Ryan Phillippe stars as a soon-to-be-divorced family man who, while out for his morning jog in the woods, stumbles across the dead body of his neighbor's young son. Naturally, he becomes the prime suspect, and he works to track down the real killer to prove his innocence while he and his family are harassed by the community. The thriller also stars Juliette Lewis as the lead detective investigating the murder, and KaDee Strickland (Private Practice) as his wife. Update: The series will air on Thursday nights at 10p once How to Get Away With Murder concludes its first season in March.

COMEDY Tuesdays at 8p

No, it's not a period comedy that looks back at the halcyon days of 2013 ... though, on second thought, maybe it is. Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) stars in this loose take on the classic My Fair Lady formula as Eliza Dooley (get it?), a woman who has accumulated hundreds of thousands of "friends" through her newfound fame in social media circles but realizes that she has few actual friends in meatspace. So she hires an image consultant played by John Cho (naturally, his character is named Henry Higenbottam) to "rebrand" her offline life and teach her how to form real-life connections. The sitcom comes from Emily Kapnek, creator of the recently canceled Suburgatory.

ImageThe Whispers
DRAMA tbd midseason

This midseason sci-fi drama comes from producer Steven Spielberg and Under the Dome writer Soo Hugh. And, yes, it's another alien invasion story, albeit one that is based on a Ray Bradbury story ("Zero Hour," a title already wasted on another terrible ABC series) and one that has the talented Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go) directing the pilot, which should count for something. In The Whispers, humanity is in a race against the clock to save the planet from alien domination after an unseen otherworldly force begins taking over human children and causing them (unwittingly) to turn against their parents. (The kids think they are following requests by their imaginary friends ... but they aren't imaginary, and they aren't friends.) Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane, and Milo Ventimiglia head up the cast.


More coverage of the 2014-15 upfront presentations ...


Comments (1)

  • LamontRaymond  

    I hate to say it, but man, this is a ROUGH group of new shows. I typically watch a good number of ABC shows knowing they'll be one & dones (shows that will run from 6 - 10 episodes with no hope of a second season - i.e., Betrayal, Red Widow, etc.), but these look really, really bad.

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