Market Overview

ABC Expands Comedy Slate As New Network Chief Shakes Things Up

ABC Expands Comedy Slate As New Network Chief Shakes Things Up

Channing Dungey may have inherited a pilot slate overseen by her predecessor Paul Lee, but she definitely is making it her own.

The new head of ABC (Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) owned) revealed her first fall schedule on Tuesday, and the news came on the heels of a massive amount of cancellations. Analysts were a bit taken aback by the sudden change in direction at the network, but slowly are seeing the strategy.

As Dungey explained, the axing of mainstays "Castle" and "Nashville" was done to free up the valuable 10 p.m. real estate that ABC's rivals had been dominating. Buzzed about rookies "Conviction" and "Designated Survivor" will now hold court in those slots backed by a mostly stable slate of established series.

Related Link: ABC Doubles Down On Its Own Summer Games With "Match Game" Revival

The big changes came on Tuesdays where ABC has shifted the synergistic Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." to 10 p.m. and opened up a new comedy block with the relocated "The Middle" kicking off the night. The network's Wednesday night comedy slate will remain with "The Goldbergs" now in the anchor position, and its most vaulted freshman laugher "Speechless" joining the schedule.

"Scandal" was also noticeably absent from the roster, as star Kerry Washington is expecting her second child. The series will return for an abbreviated run in 2017, but ABC is using the break to try and launch new drama "Notorious," which stars "Covert Affairs'" Piper Perabo and "Graceland's" Daniel Sunjata.

In total, ABC will debut five new shows in the fall with more slated for mid-season.


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