What You’ll Be Watching on ABC This Fall

Welcome back to a proper Upfronts season, the moment when network TV reveals all their secret plans for the fall television season (such as it is anymore). In the wake of a destructive pandemic and in the face of the inevitable takeover of streaming, networks are playing it safer and safer: canceling fewer shows, ordering fewer comedies, and greenlighting familiar titles.

ABC remembered how Upfronts worked! There are promotional photos! There are teaser trailers! There is a schedule! Give ABC a sticker!

That said, ABC is playing it VERY safe this season. They have picked up three crime dramas that are structurally similar to other successful ABC projects, one comedy that sounds a lot like a very popular series on another network, and yet another “Celebrity” version of a daytime game show.

Schedule

MONDAY

7/8 p.m.: Bachelor in Paradise
9/10 p.m.: The Good Doctor

TUESDAY

7/8 p.m.: Bachelor in Paradise
9/10 p.m.: THE ROOKIE: FEDS

WEDNESDAY

7/8 p.m.: The Conners
7:30/8:30 p.m.: The Goldbergs
8/9 p.m.: Abbott Elementary
8:30/9:30 p.m.: Home Economics 
9/10 p.m.: Big Sky

THURSDAY

7/8 p.m.: Station 19
8/9 p.m.: Grey’s Anatomy
9/10 p.m.: ALASKA

FRIDAY

7/8 p.m.: Shark Tank
8/9 p.m.: 20/20

SATURDAY

7/8 p.m.: College Football

SUNDAY

6/7 p.m.: America’s Funniest Home Videos
7/8 p.m.: CELEBRITY JEOPARDY!
8/9 p.m.: Celebrity Wheel of Fortune
9/10 p.m.: The Rookie

New Fall Shows

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Alaska

Official synopsis: 

Eileen Fitzgerald is a recently disgraced reporter who leaves her high-profile New York life behind to join a daily metro newspaper in Anchorage on a journey to find both personal and professional redemption.

T’s Take: ABC has done well with Big Sky, a female-led crime drama set out in the middle of nowhere, so why not try to replicate the magic?

 

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The Rookie: Feds

Official synopsis: 

Follows Simone Clark, the oldest rookie in the FBI Academy, Spinoff from ‘The Rookie,’

T’s Take:

Another entry in the “Why Reinvent the Wheel?” file, this spinoff follows The Rookie‘s formula: cop drama but starring a likable comedian.

 

Celebrity JEOPARDY!

Official synopsis:

You know, like those special Celebrity Jeopardy! weeks, but make it a primetime series.

T’s Take:

For whatever reason — the many recent champions, the on-going drama over the host, Twitter — Jeopardy! is having a moment, so why not cash in on it? Frankly, it’s surprising that Celebrity Wheel of Fortune got the primetime treatment before Jeopardy!

Midseason

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NOT DEAD YET

Official synopsis: 

Nell Stevens, a broke and newly single self-described disaster, works to restart the life and career she left behind 10 years ago. When she lands the only job she can find – writing obituaries – Nell starts getting life advice from an unlikely source. Adapted from Alexandra Potter’s book “Confessions of a 40-something F**k Up”

T’s Take:

Here I was, ready to praise this little sitcom for being the network’s only original idea. And then I watched the teaser and realized that this is just Ghosts, but newspaper.

 

Avalon

Official synopsis: 

Set in the main city of Avalon on Catalina Island, where L.A. Sheriff Department Detective Nicole “Nic” Searcy heads up a small office. Catalina has a local population that serves more than 1 million tourists a year, and each day when the ferries arrive, hundreds of potential new stories enter the island. Detective Searcy is pulled into a career-defining mystery that will challenge everything she knows about herself and the island.

T’s Take: 

See what I said about Alaska above.

 

Note: there are still a few other pilots that are still being considered:

The Son In Law

“A salt-of-the-earth man finds himself seeking the approval of his new fiancée’s sophisticated parents, even as he is a difficult-to-impress father-in-law to his daughter’s longtime boyfriend. “

Will Trent

“Special Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) was abandoned at birth and endured a harsh coming-of-age in Atlanta’s overwhelmed foster care system. But now, determined to use his unique point of view to make sure no one feels as abandoned as he was, Will Trent has the highest clearance rate in the GBI. Based on the books by Karin Slaughter.”

Untitled National Parks Project

“Follows the tangled, messy lives of the agents who work for the ISB — an elite law-enforcement unit responsible for solving all serious crimes that occur in our country’s 81,000 square miles of protected national parks.”

Untitled Kay Oyegun Project

“Five therapists in Philadelphia find unique ways to solve problems in their patients’ lives while grappling with their own. Ellen Roman, the owner of the practice and a brilliant therapist, has her life shockingly turned upside down when she begins working with a sociopathic patient who might hold the key to the disappearance of her sister five years earlier.”

The Company You Keep

“A night of passion leads to love between con-man Charlie and undercover CIA officer Emma, who are unknowingly on a collision course professionally. While Charlie ramps up the ‘family business’ so he can get out for good, Emma’s closing in on the vengeful criminal who holds Charlie’s family debts in-hand — forcing them to reckon with the lies they’ve told so they can save themselves and their families from disastrous consequences. Based on the Korean series ‘My Fellow Citizens.”

Cancellations

  • black-ish (ended)
  • Promised Land
  • Queens
  • Card Sharks
  • The Celebrity Dating Game
  • The Hustler
  • Match Game

Renewals

  • A Million Little Things
  • Abbott Elementary
  • Big Sky
  • The Conners
  • The Goldbergs
  • The Good Doctor
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Home Economics
  • The Rookie
  • Station 19
  • The Wonder Years
  • 20/20
  • The Bachelor
  • The Bachelorette
  • Bachelor in Paradise
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos
  • American Idol
  • Holey Moley
  • Shark Tank

Shows Still Up in the Air

  • Supermarket Sweep

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