ABC: Reducing RepeatsWith Limited Series

Network using 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' to anchor new Tuesday, including another swing at a comedy block

Why This Matters

The Rookie Class

COMEDIES

BACK IN THE GAME: A single mother moves back in with her estranged father (James Caan) and coaches her son’s Little League team of misfits.

THE GOLDBERGS:
Semi-autobiographical family comedy from Adam F. Goldberg (Breaking In) set in the 1980s. Stars Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids) and Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm).

MIXOLOGY: Follows 10 singles at a high-end Manhattan bar over the course of one night. Ryan Seacrest is an executive producer

SUPER FUN NIGHT:
Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids) stars as a junior attorney who has a standing date with her two best friends every Friday night. Conan O’Brien is an executive producer.

TROPHY WIFE:
A reformed party girl (Malin Ackerman) marries an older man (Bradley Whitford) and instantly inherits three stepchildren and his two ex-wives.

DRAMAS

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Phil Coulson from the Marvel films as he assembles a select group of agents to investigate the strange and unknown across the world. Executive produced by Joss Whedon (The Avengers).

MIND GAMES: Two brothers, one bipolar (Steve Zahn) and another an ex-con (Christian Slater) are partners at an agency that solves clients’ problems using psychological manipulation. From creator Kyle Killen (Awake).

BETRAYAL:
An unhappily married female photographer begins an affair with a highpowered attorney who is defending a murder suspect being prosecuted by her husband. Limited series.

KILLER WOMEN:
Centers on the sole female ranger in an elite squad patrolling the Texas frontier. Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara is an executive producer.

LUCKY 7: Seven gas station employees in Astoria, Queens, have their lives changed when they unexpectedly win the lottery. Steven Spielberg is an executive producer.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND: Spinoff features a young Alice who is saved from a doomed fate by the Knave of Hearts and the White Rabbit, who all travel down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.

RESURRECTION: Omar Epps stars as an immigration agent discovering the secrets of a Missouri town where the deceased start to return. Limited series.

REALITY

THE QUEST: From the executive producers of The Amazing Race, 12 contestants compete in epic challenges in a fantasy realm with one crowned the real-life hero.

Complete Coverage: Upfronts 2013

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Click here to view the fall primetime schedule grid.

Click here to view pilot clips and trailers from the networks' new shows.

STRATEGY: Cut down on repeats for serialized dramas by scheduling them in batches of 12 episodes in fall and spring, with limited series filling the gaps; use new Avengers spinoff action drama to relaunch Tuesdays.

Gone are the days when 22-episode seasons could last 52 weeks. So starting this fall, ABC will begin running some of its serialized dramas in two batches of 12 original episodes, with fall and spring premieres, and using limited series to fill the gap in midseason.

"The idea is to create quality launches throughout the season, away from the clutter of fall," ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee said last week. Though Lee noted that a limited eight-to-12-episode run is not right for every show, where deployed it can "make for better storytelling" in a series' first year.

One such show is new drama Betrayal, about an unhappily married female photographer who begins an affair with an attorney who is arguing a case against her husband. The show is designed for a 13-episode run on Sundays at 10 p.m. On tap to replace it in midseason is new drama Resurrection, about people coming back to life. ABC has also ordered the fantasy competition reality series The Quest, which will air between runs of Once Upon a Time on Sundays.

While during his upfront presentation roast ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel joked that limited series are something "we've been doing for years," citing quickly axed ABC series such as 666 Park Avenue and Red Widow, Lee said in seriousness it's "not impossible that limited series can run on" to a second season of limited episodes.

To keep stability amid its ambitious new scheduling plan, ABC will leave key series anchoring each night in place: Dancing With the Stars and Castle on Monday; The Middle, Modern Family and Nashville on Wednesday; Grey's Anatomy and Scandal on Thursday; Last Man Standing and Shark Tank on Friday; and Once and Revenge on Sunday.

To jolt the fading Dancing With the Stars, ABC will fold its performance and results into one show on Monday in an effort to "really build a sense of occasion to that night," Lee said. That also frees up the network to aggressively revamp Tuesday, starting with Joss Whedon's much-anticipated Avengers spinoff, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The big action drama will lead into a new two-comedy block of the nostalgic family sitcom The Goldbergs -- which ABC showed a lengthy five-minute clip of at its upfront -- and Trophy Wife, starring Malin Ackerman. Lucky 7, which Lee billed as a drama for the "99 percent," about seven gas station employees who win the lottery, will end the night.

On Wednesday, ABC will launch two more comedies in fall -- Back in the Game, about an estranged father-daughter relationship; and Super Fun Night starring Rebel Wilson, which earned the prime slot after Modern Family. Despite the cancellation of young adult ensemble comedy Happy Endings this season, Lee said midseason comedy Mixology, which follows 10 singles at a Manhattan bar over the course of one night, and the female friendship-themed Super Fun Night are "much broader shows that can bring in a wider audience."

Thursday at 8 p.m. has been a black hole for ABC's new series in recent seasons (R.I.P. Zero Hour, Last Resort, Charlie's Angels), but the network will again attempt to launch a freshman there in the fall, this time the franchise spinoff Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Billing Thursday as a night of "powerful women," Lee expressed confidence that Wonderland will have a better flow with Grey's and Scandal than past pairings, and the show offers the built-in audience of a franchise.

Friday continues to be a family destination with Last Man Standing and The Neighbors, the latter relocated to the night for its sophomore season. A new season of comedy Suburgatory remains unscheduled for midseason, as do new procedurals Mind Games, about two brothers solving clients' problems with psychological manipulation, and Killer Women, about the lone female ranger on a squad patrolling the Texas frontier.

E-mail comments to amorabito@nbmedia.com and follow her on Twitter: @andreamorabito