There is no such thing as a traditional Upfront season anymore. Last year, very briefly, it felt like the Upfronts — the events when the networks announce their upcoming fall schedules and new series — were back following the pandemic and the steady decline of network television in general. But now with a writers’ strike that could very well stretch through the summer, and potential strikes by the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild on the horizon, the networks are having to play the upcoming fall season entirely by ear. With some networks, this looks like loading up on reality content; with others, it looks like they are moving forward with their scripted material and hoping for the best.
Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but one has to wonder if Disney isn’t just weaponizing ABC’s fall schedule against the striking writers. ABC seems to be signaling that they are settling in for a long strike by filling their entire schedule with reality series, and one (1) scripted rerun. There is a single new scripted drama but it is being saved for midseason. Whatever happens with this strike, it seems that Disney is letting folks know that they will not be the first studio to break.