ABC Adds 2 Comedies And 3 Dramas, Cancels Kermit, 'Nashville' And 'Castle'

May 17, 2016

Kiefer Sutherland is ABC's "Designated Survivor" this fall.
Credit ABC Entertainment

ABC aggressively attacks fall with five new series -- two more shows than either NBC or Fox – and expands its Tuesday comedy block.

"The Middle" moves from Wednesdays to 8 p.m. Tuesday to anchor a new two-hour sitcom block with "Fresh Off The Boat," "The Real O'Neals" and newcomer "American Housewife" starring Katy Mixon (Victoria on "Mike & Molly) and Diedrich Bader ("Drew Carey").

"Speechless," a sitcom about parents (John Ross Bowie, Kripke on "Big Bang Theory"; Minnie Driver, "About A Boy") with a special needs son, will air on Wednesday between "The Goldbergs" and "Modern Family."

John Ross Bowie ("Big Bang Theory") and Minnie Driver ("About A Boy") play parents of a special needs son on ABC's "Speechless" comedy.
Credit ABC Entertainment

BIG MOVE:  ABC's hit "Scandal" won't return until next year, due to star Kerry Washington's maternity leave.  Given the prime position at 9 p.m. Thursdays is "Notorious," a drama about how a TV producer Daniel Sunjata ("Grey's Anatomy," "Rescue Me") and an attorney (Piper Perabo, "Covert Affairs") manipulate the media, inspired by the career of Los Angeles attorney Mark Geragos.

MORE DRAMA: Kiefer Sutherland, who will produce Fox's new "24: Legacy," will star in ABC's "Designated Survivor" about a low-level cabinet member who becomes U.S. president after a terrorist attack. Replacing "Castle" will be "Conviction," starring Hayley Atwell (from canceled "Agent Carter") as the daughter of a U.S. president solving crimes in LA . 

GONERS: Also canceled were “Nashville," "Castle," "The Muppets," "Galavant," "Blood & Oil,” “Of Kings and Prophets,” “Rookie Blue,” “Wicked City,”"The Astronaut Wives Club" and “The Whispers.”

Jenna Elfman and her imaginary friend on "Imaginary Mary."
Credit ABC Entertainment

MIDSEASON: New comedies on the bench include Jenna Elfman ("Dharma & Greg") in a comedy called "Imaginary Mary" about a career women advised by her childhood imaginary friend (Rachel Dratch, "Saturday Night Live"); and "Downward Dog," a dog's view of a struggling millennial (Allison Tolman, "Fargo").

Dramas include "Still Star Crossed," Shonda Rhimes' adaption of Melinda Taub's book about the Montagues and Capulets after the death of Romeo and Juliet, and "Time After Time" about H.G. Wells (Freddie Strom) time-traveling to modern day New York in pursuit of Jack the Ripper from  Kevin Williamson ("Scream," "Dawson's Creek").

"American Crime” from Oscar-winning producer John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”) will return next season, along with "When We Rise," a limited series about LGBT men and women starring Rachel Griffiths, Austin McKenzie and Mary-Louise Parker from writer Dustin Lance Black ("Big Love," "J. Edgar"). Also back next year are "The Catch" and "The Bachelor."

SPECIALS: ABC will remake "Dirty Dancing" with Abigail Breslin, Debra Messing, Bruce Greenwood, Nicole Scherzinger, Tony Roberts, Katey Sagal and Billy Dee Williams.  Boxing legend Mohammed Ali will be honored with a special tentatively called "Ali: The Champion."

THE LINEUP  (new programs in bold)

SUNDAY: 7, America's Funniest Home Videos; 8, Once Upon A Time; 9, Secrets and Lies; 10, Quantico.

MONDAY: 8, Dancing with the Stars; 10, Conviction.

TUESDAY: 8, The Middle; 8:30 American Housewife; 9, Fresh Off the Boat; 9:30, The Real O'Neals; 10, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

WEDNESDAY: 8, The Goldbergs; 8:30, Speechless; 9, Modern Family; 9:30, black-ish; 10, Designated Survivor.

THURSDAY: 8, Grey's Anatomy; 9, Notorious; 10, How To Get Away With Murder.

FRIDAY: 8, Last Man Standing; 8:30, Dr. Ken; 9, Shark Tank; 10, 20/20.

SATURDAY: 8, Saturday Night Football.