ABC’s Midseason Schedule: ‘Family Tools’ & ‘How To Live’ On Wednesday, ‘Red Widow’ On Sunday, ‘Zero Hour’ On Thursday
ABC’s Bubble Freshmen: Who Will Make It?
ABC is overhauling its schedule for midseason with changes on four nights. New comedies Family Tools and How To Live With Your Parents (For The Rest Of Your Life) will join the network’s Wednesday comedy block, with ABC’s Tuesday comedy block going away. New drama Red Widow will succeed 666 Park Ave on Sunday. ABC is replacing now-defunct freshman Last Resort with another male-skewing new drama in the challenging Thursday 8 PM slot, Zero Hour. And, following the end of Private Practice, the revamped Body of Proof will return to its Tuesday 10 PM slot.
For a second consecutive year, ABC is scrapping a plan announced at the upfronts to expand its Tuesday comedy block from one to two hours in midseason. Last fall, the network started with a 8-9 PM block anchored by Last Man Standing, which was supposed to stretch to 10 PM in midseason with the addition of Cougar Town and Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt. 23. But in light of the breakout performance of Fox’s newbie New Girl, the network abandoned the idea. This year, ABC opened a 9-10 PM comedy block in the fall with Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B—-, which were to be joined in January by How To Live and Family Tools airing in the 8 PM hour. Given how poorly Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— have done in the comedy-heavy Tuesday 9 PM hour, the network is nixing the idea of putting newbies How To Live and Family Tools on the night, instead cramming them into the established Wednesday comedy block. Since all four series in the block have full-season orders, the addition of the two midseason half-hours will result in time-slot sharing and maneuvering. When it returns to originals in early January, The Neighbors, which occupies the Wednesday 8:30 PM, will air only originals until it completes its freshman run at the end of March. On April 3, Suburgatory, which now airs Wednesdays 9:30 PM, will return to its original 8:30 PM berth. The same night, How To Live will launch in the plum post-Modern Family slot. Family Tools, whose midseason order was recently reduced from 13 to 10 episodes, will succeed Suburgatory at 8:30 PM on May 1 and likely bleed into summer.
As for ABC’s Tuesday comedy block, it will be completely gone by mid-March, with the Dancing With The Stars results re-taking the Tuesday 9 PM hour on March 19 (the fate of the unaired episodes of Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— is unclear). It will be preceded by the network’s diving reality series Celebrity Diving. (Fox’s rival celebrity diving special will likely air in early January). Another ABC unscripted series, cooking competition The Taste starring Anthony Bourdain, will air in the Wednesday 8 PM slot from January 22 until March 12.
The rest of ABC’s moves are largely plugging holes opened by the cancellations of 666 Park Ave, which will be succeeded by mob drama Red Widow; Last Resort, which will be replaced by Zero Hour; and Private Practice, replaced by Body Of Proof. Zero Hour‘s task is particularly daunting as the Thursday 8 PM slot has seen the demise of a string of high-profile dramas over the last few years, including FlashForward, My Generation, Charlie’s Angels, Missing and Last Resort. However, Zero Hour has more of a fighting chance as it at least doesn’t have to face NFL football the way fellow testosterone-heavy Last Resort had to. Here is ABC’s midseason schedule: