Examining ABC’s 2009-2010 Lineup   

ABC Upfronts 09-10 LogoABC and I have grown apart during this last season. Three of the shows I went cold turkey on? All ABC shows. And that’s not even taking into account my waning interest in Ugly Betty. Not that it was intentional. I don’t think it’s because they’re on ABC that I stopped caring about them.

That being said, I love Castle and I’m not at all surprised that ABC saw the potential in it. I really wish they had moved it into a better timeslot but there is something to be said for stability. People know where and when to find it and keeping it there hopefully ensures people will return to it in the Fall.

Moving Ugly Betty to Fridays may be the death knell as far as I’m concerned. I don’t like to be tied to my TV on Friday nights and I’ve already got a show to watch at 9PM that day. Marooning it between Supernanny and 20/20 seems like a bad move. Is that really the Ugly Betty audience?

We already knew about Scrubs and Better Off Ted returning but I’m still surprised by both. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy Better Off Ted is back but I don’t think it has any chance of succeeding in its current position on the schedule. Maybe one of the new comedies will fail to take off and they’ll use Ted as a replacement?

Speaking of new comedies, I’m a little surprised to see ABC dumping almost all of their new shows on the same night. I don’t know if they have a better option but it seems risky. If someone doesn’t like just one of them, are they likely to stick around and see if they like the others?

But before I get into my thoughts on the new offerings, let’s take a look at their new schedule

  8 PM: Dancing with the Stars
  10 PM: Castle

8 PM: The Bachelor

  9 PM: Dancing with the Stars

9 PM: Scrubs
9:30 PM: Better Off Ted

  8 PM: HANK

  9 PM: Grey’s Anatomy
  10 PM: Private Practice

  8 PM: Supernanny
  9 PM: Ugly Betty
  10 PM: 20/20

  8 PM: Saturday Night College Football

  7 PM: America’s Funniest Home Videos
  8 PM: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
  9 PM: Desperate Housewives
  10 PM: Brothers & Sisters

MID-SEASON SHOWS: The Deep End, Happy Town, and V

NOT RETURNING*: Cupid, The Unusuals, According to Jim, In the Motherhood, and Samantha Who?

* Surviving Suburbia is still optioned until September. No indication yet of whether they are thinking of bringing it back or not.

Samantha Who’s cancellation seems to be a surprise to everyone but I’m not particularly shocked by it. I didn’t expect it but I also don’t think it’s a mistake on ABC’s part. Hopefully they’ll continue to try and find the right vehicle for Christina Applegate, though, because I do love her. I just didn’t think the show itself was consistently great. It was a good comedy that was unfortunately based on a limited premise. As for the rest of the cancellations, yeah, they were pretty obvious, no? It’s a shame that The Unusuals was dropped in mid-season. I suspect it may have found it’s legs if it had been launched in the Fall instead.

Enough of the returning (or not, as the case may be) shows, let’s take a look at some of the new shows. I’m at a bit of an advantage here as I’ve seen at least two clips from all but one of these shows. Of course, I’m sure folks will have those clips up by the end of the day so it won’t be long before you’ll be able to check them out too. And I say that because seeing a clip of a show is a lot different than reading about a show. The only show on the list that I had even a passing interest in before the clips was Flash Forward. After the clips? I like the looks of several of these. So here are the official show descriptions followed by my brief thoughts based on the clips I’ve seen.

Matt Long as Dylan Hewitt and Tina Majorino as Addy Fisher on the ABC show THE DEEP END. COming to ABC mid-season 2009-2010. (ABC/SCOTT GARFIELD)THE DEEP END - Each year one of LA’s most prestigious law firms recruits four young lawyers from the finest law schools worldwide. The only way for these first-years to survive is to support each other…even as they compete against one another in the cutthroat arena of high-end law. Sex, greed, romance, betrayal – it’s all part of being a first year associate at Sterling Law. It stars Matt Long as Dylan Hewitt, Ben Lawson as Liam Priory, Tina Majorino as Addy Fisher, Norbert Leo Butz as Rowdy Kaiser, Leah Pipes as Beth Bancroft, Billy Zane as Cliff Huddle, Sherri Saum as Susan Oppenheim and Clancy Brown as Hart Sterling.

Rae’s Take: Tina Majorino!!! Lawyer shows are not my thing and the description of this show doesn’t appeal to me at all. That said ,I like Tina, Matt Long, and Billy Zane a lot. That’s probably enough to get me to check this out. ABC’s two preview clips are a mixed bag. One I like a lot, the other not so much. Wonder if that’s how I’ll feel about the show overall?

Rebecca Romijn as Roxie Torcoletti, Lindsay Price as Joanna Frankel, Jamie Ray Newman as Kat Gardener, and Paul Gross as Darryl Van Horne on the set of the new ABC show EASTWICK coming Wednesdays this Fall. (ABC/ROBERT VOETS)EASTWICK - Three very different women find themselves drawn together by a mysterious man who unleashes unique powers in each of them, and this small New England town will never be the same. The series is based on the popular movie The Witches of Eastwick and on the novel of the same title by John Updike. It stars Rebecca Romijn as Roxie Torcoletti, Lindsay Price as Joanna Frankel, Jamie Ray Newman as Kat Gardener, Paul Gross as Darryl Van Horne, Sara Rue as Penny, Veronica Cartwright as Bun, Johann Urb as Will, Jon Bernthal as Raymond and Ashley Benson as Mia.

Rae’s Take: Hmmm, I may enjoy this after all! I did enjoy the (first) book but it looks like they’re trying to stick very close to the feel of the movie here. Fortunately I loved the movie so that’s not really bad from my perspective. The one downside? I’m not sold on Paul Gross as Darryl Van Horne. It’s hard to say from just one clip but I’m not sure he’s devilishy charming enough for me. I’ll definitely be checking it out.

Joseph Fiennes as Mark Benford and John Cho as Demetri Noh seen in the new ABC show FLASH FORWARD coming Thursdays this Fall. (ABC/CRAIG SJODIN)FLASH FORWARD - When a mysterious event causes the entire world to black out, humanity is given a glimpse into its near future, and every man, woman and child is forced to come to grips with whether their destinies can be avoided or fulfilled. Adapting award-winning author Robert J. Sawyer’s revolutionary novel, executive producers David S. Goyer (visionary co-writer of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) and Brannon Braga (24, Star Trek: Enterprise) invite you to embark on a journey to answer the question, “if you knew what your future held, what would you do?” It stars Joseph Fiennes as Mark Benford, John Cho as Demetri Noh, Jack Davenport as Lloyd Simcoe, Sonya Walger as Olivia Benford, Courtney B. Vance as Stan Wedeck, Brian O’Byrne as Aaron Stark, Christine Woods as Janis Hawk, Zachary Knighton as Bryce Varley and Peyton List as Nicole.

Rae’s Take: I’ve read this pilot thanks to Amrie and loved it. I can’t wait to see what they do with it. The one clip I’ve seen didn’t do much for me but the promos we’ve been seeing during the last few episodes of Lost would have peaked my interest anyway. Will definitely be watching.

A new show on ABC, THE FORGOTTEN starts Tuesdays in the Fall. (ABC/DANNY FELD)THE FORGOTTEN - From executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer comes a crime show in which a team of dedicated amateurs work on cases involving unidentified victims. After the police have given up, this group must first solve the puzzle of the victim’s identity in order to then help catch the killer. They work to give the deceased back their names, lest they become — The Forgotten. It stars Rupert Penry-Jones as Alex, Reiko Aylesworth as Linda, Michelle Borth as Candace, Bob Stephenson as Walter, Anthony Carrigan as Tyler and Rochelle Aytes as Detective Grace Russell.

Rae’s Take: This looks and feels like a Bruckheimer production. A good thing, in my eyes, by the way. I’m just not sure the topic is going to keep me interested. It’s still a procedural. I’ll give it a shot but I don’t expect it to earn a permanent spot on my schedule.

Geoff Stults as Tommy Conroy and Amy Acker as Rachel Conroy on the new ABC show HAPPY TOWN. (ABC/KEN WORONER)HAPPY TOWN - Haplin, Minnesota, Happy Town, is approaching almost a decade of peace after being riddled for years by unsolved kidnappings. But in the wake of this small town’s first crime in seven years, some dark truths are being revealed about some familiar faces. They say every town has its secrets… that doesn’t even begin to describe Happy Town. It stars Geoff Stults as Tommy Conroy, Lauren German as Henley, Amy Acker as Rachel Conroy, Dean Winters as John Haplin, John Patrick Amedori as Andrew Haplin, Sarah Gadon as Georgia Bravin, Jay Paulson as Larry ‘Root Beer’ Rogers, Robert Wisdom as Roger Hobbes and Sam Neill as Merritt Grieves.

Rae’s Take: So. I had no idea what this was about and, based on the title, my only interest in it had to do with Amy Acker’s involvement. Now that I’ve seen some clips? I’m so on board. In fact, I’m rather annoyed that I have to wait until mid-season for it.

Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans and Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans in the new ABC show V. (ABC/DAVID GRAY)V - V is a re-imagining of the 1980′s miniseries about the world’s first encounter with an alien race in which the aliens call themselves The Visitors, and have a seemingly friendly agenda that may or may not be a cover for something more malevolent. It stars Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica Evans, Morris Chestnut as Ryan Nichols, Joel Gretsch as Father Jack Landry, Lourdes Benedicto as Valerie Stevens, Logan Huffman as Tyler Evans, Laura Vandervoort as Lisa, with Morena Baccarin as Anna and Scott Wolf as Chad Decker.

Rae’s Take: I’m kind of ambivalent so far. It looks cool and I love Elizabeth Mitchell and Morena Baccarin. Scott Wolf is kind of awesome in one of the clips I saw. I just wonder if it would be better as a mini-series vs an episodic show?

The cast of the new COUGAR TOWN on ABC Wednesdays this Fall. (ABC/KEVIN FOLEY)COUGAR TOWN - Courteney Cox stars as a recently divorced single mother exploring the honest truths about dating and aging in our beauty and youth obsessed culture. It also stars Christa Miller as Elle, Busy Philipps as Laurie, Dan Byrd as Travis, Brian Van Holt as Bobby, Josh Hopkins as Grayson and Ian Gomez as Andy.

Rae’s Take: Surprised by how much I liked these clips! I like Courteney Cox but I didn’t expect to like this show based on the descriptions we’ve seen so far. I didn’t know Dan Byrd is playing her son though and just the thought of the two of them together is enough to get me to check this one out. Plus Busy Philipps and Ian Gomez! Yeah, it’s on my schedule for now.

Macey Cruthird stars as Maddie on the new ABC comedy HANK, coming Wednesdays this Fall. (ABC/RICHARD FOREMAN)HANK - Kelsey Grammer stars in this timely comedy as Hank Pryor, a titan of industry who suddenly finds himself out of work, almost out of money and around a wife and kids for whom he’s never made much time. Despite his recent setbacks, however, Hank is confident he’s on the road back to the top. He knows he is destined to return to greatness. And he is – just not the greatness he imagines. It also Melinda McGraw as Tilly, David Koechner as Grady, Macey Cruthird as Maddie and Ryan Wynott as Henry.

Rae’s Take: Doesn’t look bad but it also doesn’t look particularly good either. I hate to say it but Kelsey always seems to play the same character to me. Nothing in these clips makes me think that’s going to be different this time. That said, I do think the daughter is pretty funny. I’ll probably watch the first episode but I don’t expect it’ll get me to watch again.

THE MIDDLE - The Hecks are a middle class family living in the middle of Indiana, just trying to keep their heads above water. Emmy-winner Patricia Heaton stars as a wife and mother of three in a comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations. It also stars Neil Flynn as Mike, Eden Sher as Sue, Atticus Shaffer as Brick and Charlie McDermott as Axel.

Rae’s Take: Oh, no. The only good thing about these clips was the youngest kid. No, that’s a lie. I did laugh at one other thing. But I didn’t care for the style or way it was shot nor did I find it particularly funny. Again, I’ll check it out but it’s already left a bad taste in my mouth.

MODERN FAMILY - Today’s American families come in all shapes and sizes. Shot from the perspective of an unseen documentary filmmaker, this comedy takes a modern look at the complications that come with being a family in 2009. It stars Ed O’Neill as Jay, Sofía Vergara as Gloria, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell, Eric Stonestreet as Cameron, Ty Burrell as Phil, Julie Bowen as Claire, Sarah Hyland as Haley, Rico Rodriguez as Manny, Nolan Gould as Luke and Ariel Winter as Alex.

Rae’s Take: Loved all three of the clips for this show! Even better, I actually laughed out loud while watching them. Will definitely be watching this one. Hope it lives up to what little I’ve seen of it so far.

And then there’s Shark Tank, a reality show from Mark Burnett that gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to get their dreams off the ground. It may actually be interesting but I have no intention of checking it out. Though I am grateful that ABC picked up so many scripted shows and only one “alternative” series.

PS: Sorry for the lack of pics on those last two. ABC was nice enough to take away my photo download access while I was right in the middle of this post…

10 Responses to “Examining ABC’s 2009-2010 Lineup”

  1. 1
    Polter-Cow says:

    Augh, I can’t believe they’re putting Flash Forward on Thursday! I HAVE ENOUGH TO WATCH ON THURSDAY GEEZ.

    Happy Town does look intriguing, but I can’t pick up too many new shows. I’m juggling enough already! Of course, if it’s midseason, I may take a look at it and V.

  2. 2
    Rae says:

    What do you have on Thursday at 8PM?

    They just switched out one show for another for me at that time.

    I don’t feel like I’m juggling nearly as many shows as I was before so I’m pretty calm about shows right now.

  3. 3
    Polter-Cow says:

    I have nothing on Thursday at 8 (now that MNIE is gone), but I have a lot of Thursday shows, period.

    I don’t know how you juggle all your shows!

  4. 4
    Rae says:

    I hear ya. I have lots of Thursday stuff too. Especially at 9PM now.

    I’d say I use my second DVR do to my juggling but, these days, I actually use what’s available online to help with my juggling. I wouldn’t watch Grey’s if it wasn’t available online.

  5. 5
    Spadada says:

    Boo! Bring back The Unusuals!

    At least ABC is trying some new programming though, unlike Fox and NBC…

  6. 6
    Spadada says:

    Wait, maybe it is the same amount of new programming as NBC. It just sounds more interesting.

  7. 7
    Rae says:

    Hmm, no, ABC definitely has more new shows. NBC’s really only got about 6 whereas ABC has 10. And, yeah, the shows they’ve got definitely sound more intriguing to me. (FOX only has 6 too and one of those is one they’ve had on the back burner forever…)

  8. 8
    Stella says:

    Wednesday is all new shows (until LOST returns I guess)? That’s just suicidal. I’ve no idea what Shark Tank or Cougar Town could be, but unless they merge the two and put the cougars IN the Shark Tank I’m betting neither makes it to mid-season.

    I’m semi-sad about Cupid biting the dust (AGAIN!!!). Bobby Cannavale was no Jeremy Piven, but the show had some charm.

  9. 9
    Shannon says:

    ABC always seems to have the most interesting sounding shows…Eli Stone, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, even Men in Trees – now Flash Forward, Happy Town, V, Modern Family. I must be their exact target demo – bc I ALWAYS love most of what they are coming out with…either that or their programmer and I were secretly twins, and one of us was switched at birth! :) I am always the most excited for the new ABC shows.

    Unfortunately, it never seems like ABC can launch a show that sticks…at least not since the season of Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and Lost…how many big hits have they had since then? Looking at this schedule, all I can think of is how many times I’m probably going to have my heart broken….Here’s hoping that at least Flash Forward and Happy Town have some staying power bc those two look exactly like my kind of shows…come on America…for once…please watch some ABC shows that I like!!

  10. 10
    Tranter says:

    Bravo to ABC for being brave enough to go with Bruckheimer. Not their normal fare but they need some popular success to support their more niche products. Love Rupert Penry – Jones in MI5 and Persuasion. Good news that he has been tempted to US.