ABC will premiere three scripted shows in the fall: dramas Emergence and Stumptown, and comedy Mixed-ish. The network holds its upfront presentation at Lincoln Center the afternoon of May 14. Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, will share the slate at what is called the Disney Upfront Experience.
“Since the beginning of the year, ABC has been the No. 1 network with a schedule that is working, and we are going to nurture it,” said Burke. “Going into next season, our priorities are stability and launching shows in a way our audience will know we are committed to them. Add to that some of the most buzzed-about titles and top talent of the recent pilot season, and we have an enviable combination that sets the stage for us to win with women and grow our overall reach.”
In the fall, Mondays will have Dancing with the Stars and The Good Doctor. Tuesdays are The Conners, Bless This Mess, Black-ish spinoff Mixed-ish, Black-ish and drama Emergence. Mixed-ish shows Rainbow Johnson recounting her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the ‘80s.
Emergence is a “character-driven genre thriller,” said ABC, about a police chief who takes in a child she finds near the site of a mysterious accident. The investigation draws her into a serious conspiracy. Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters executive produce, and Paul McGuigan directs the pilot and exec produces.
ABC Studios produces Emergence. Allison Tolman and Alexa Swinton are in the cast.
Wednesdays offer The Goldbergs, Schooled, the 11th and final season of Modern Family, Single Parents and Stumptown. Based on the Stumptown graphic novel series, that drama follows Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders) – a sharp-witted army veteran with a complicated love life, gambling debt and a brother to take care of in Portland, Oregon. Her military intelligence skills make her a great PI, but her unapologetic style causes some issues.
Writer Jason Richman produces Stumptown with Ruben Fleischer and David Bernad, Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth and Justin Greenwood. James Griffiths is an executive producer and directed the pilot. Stumptown is produced by ABC Studios.
Thursdays are Grey’s Anatomy, A Million Little Things and How to Get Away With Murder. Fridays are American Housewife, Fresh Off the Boat and 20/20.
Saturdays will be Saturday Night Football and Sundays offers America’s Funniest Home Videos, Tiffany Haddish-hosted Kids Say the Darndest Things, Shark Tank and The Rookie.
The mid-season will feature new dramas The Baker and the Beauty and For Life, and new comedy United We Fall. The Baker is based on an Israeli show about a man working in a family bakery and who meets a fashion mogul and shifts his humdrum life into the spotlight.
For Life is a serialized legal and family drama about a prisoner who becomes a lawyer, litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn't commit. 50 Cent is behind For Life.
United We Fall is a family sitcom starring Christina Vidal and Will Sasso.
Karey Burke said ABC's aim is to be “broadly appealing, with strong female points of view.”
She mentioned a new three-year contract for late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, and a show from Tiffany Haddish, Kids Say the Darndest Things. Burke said she’d “literally been dreaming about” bringing Haddish on board “since my first day on the job.”
Disney’s upfront presentation includes new acquisitions FX and National Geographic. John Landgraf, FX Networks chairman, spoke of the importance of strong brands in the age of Netflix. “Audiences love the price and the delivery mechanism,” he said of the streaming giants. “But how do you find the stuff that you love?”
He added, “Brands are really valuable, particularly when you’re in a really large retail or consumer environment.”
Asked about American Crime Story, Landgraf spoke about the numerous true-crime projects out there, whether they’re TV series or podcasts or another medium. “It’s quite a ubiquitous form right now,” he said.
Four American Crime Story projects are in the works. Landgraf mentioned “a really elevated ambition in terms of how we want to bring these stories to market,” noting the depth and nuance behind the series. “It’s a very challenging franchise to develop.”
On Freeform, season three of mermaid thriller Siren will air. New shows include Motherland: Fort Salem, reboot Party of Five and Everything’s Gonna Be Okay.
Freeform is grabbing The Simpsons starting in September. New animated series in the works include Betches and Woman World.
“Freeform is built on one very powerful belief: that embracing the disruptive voices and diverse identities of our viewers is key to our ongoing success,” said Tom Ascheim, president, Freeform. “We are so proud to have the opportunity to grow with our audience and are looking forward to continuing to push the boundaries of convention through our programming—this year and in years to come.”
Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Channel, mentioned seven new series coming to Nat Geo. She teased a “bold new reimagined format” for Brain Games, with a lineup of celebs set to come on the show, including Kristen Bell, Rebel Wilson and Anthony Anderson. That starts December 1.
Aretha Franklin will be the subject of the next Genius series.
Running Wild With Bear Grylls begins November 5. Brie Larson and Armie Hammer are among the celebrity competitors.