Upfronts 2012: ABC Launching Friday Comedy Block, Shifts 'Revenge' to Sunday
'The Neighbors' gets post-'Modern Family' slot; 'Dancing With the Stars' goes for all-star edition
By Andrea Morabito -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/15/2012 11:02:01 AMComplete Coverage: Upfronts 2012
Click here to watch trailers for ABC's new shows.
Updated: 1:30 p.m. ET
Like NBC and Fox, ABC is going long on comedy next season, scheduling four new laffers on three nights of the week, according to the schedule released Tuesday.
New sitcom The Neighbors, about a family that moves to a New Jersey community and discovers their neighbors are all aliens, will get the network's top launch pad, Modern Family, airing Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. in the fall.
As a result, Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, which both took turns in the post Modern Family slot this season, will be paired on Tuesday at 9 p.m., putting them in competition with Fox's female friendly block of New Girl and The Mindy Project.
On a conference call with reporters, ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee brushed off the competition, saying he believed their passionate audiences would move to find the shows on a new night."I do think there's room on all broadcast networks to get big ratings despite what's on other networks."
In January, Tuesday will expand to two hours of comedy, with How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life), starring Sarah Chalke as a single mom who moves back home with her daughter; and The Family Tools, about a man who takes over his father's handyman business, leading off the night at 8 p.m.
ABC will also go back to its T.G.I.F. roots, programming an hour of family comedy on Fridays, "something that I have wanted to do since I came to this network" Lee said. Starting in November, the returning Last Man Standing leading into the new Malibu Country, starring Reba McEntire as a recently divorced woman who moves her mother and two kids to California to pursue a country music career.
On the drama side, the network's biggest move is shifting buzzy soap Revenge to Sunday after Once Upon a Time, where it will inherit Desperate Housewives' 9 p.m. time slot. That will lead into new hour 666 Park Avenue, starring Lost's Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams as the husband-and-wife owners of a supernatural residential building who hire an unsuspecting Midwestern couple to run it.
In Revenge's old Wednesday 10 p.m. time slot, ABC will bow another soapy drama, Nashville, starring Connie Britton (Friday Night Lights) as a waning country music legend and Hayden Panettiere as the young star threatening to steal her spotlight.
Lee called Once and Revenge on Sundays a "great pairing" for a night of appointment television, saying "both shows have real cinematic ambition." He also said the shift would give Nashville the benefit of following ABC's highly-rated Wednesday comedy block, which helped launch Revenge this season.
"We're designing that as a win-win for both Nashville and Revenge," he said.
The remaining fall drama, Last Resort, from creator Shawn Ryan (The Shield), about the crew of a nuclear submarine seeking refuge on an exotic island, will anchor Thursdays at 8 p.m. The other new dramas -- Mistresses, Red Widow and Zero Hour -- remain unscheduled for midseason. though Lee said Mistresses will likely premiere after The Bachelor next May. Medical drama Body of Proof will also return for a 13-episode run in midseason.
On the reality side, ABC has moved its Dancing With the Stars results show up an hour to Tuesday at 8 p.m., where it will be in direct competition with The Voice in its fall return. The fall cycle of DWTS will be an all-star edition, with returning fan-favorite contestants from the past 14 seasons.
ABC's fall primetime schedule is as follows (all times listed are Eastern); new shows are in bold.
8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars"
10:00 p.m. "Castle"
8:00 p.m. "The Bachelor"
10:00 p.m. "Castle"
8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars the Results Show"
9:00 p.m. "Happy Endings"
9:30 p.m. "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23"
10:00 p.m. "Private Practice"
8:00 p.m. "How To Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)"
8:30 p.m. "The Family Tools"
8:00 p.m. "The Middle"
8:30 p.m. "Suburgatory"
9:00 p.m. "Modern Family"
9:30 p.m. "The Neighbors"
10:00 p.m. "Nashville"
8:00 p.m. "Last Resort"
9:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"
10:00 p.m. "Scandal"
8:00 p.m. "Shark Tank"
9:00 p.m. "Primetime: What Would You Do?"
10:00 p.m. "20/20"
8:00 p.m. "Last Man Standing"
8:30 p.m. "Malibu Country"
9:00 p.m. "Shark Tank"
10:00 p.m. 20/20"
8:00 p.m. "Saturday Night College Football"
7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"
8:00 p.m. "Once Upon a Time"
9:00 p.m. "Revenge"
10:00 p.m. "666 Park Avenue"
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