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ABC Is Sticking With Its Successes And Banking On “The Muppets”

TGIT isn't going anywhere. See the new fall schedule and watch the trailers for the new shows here!

Posted on May 7, 2015, at 9:30 p.m. ET


ABC had a big 2014-2015 season with more true new successes (How to Get Away With Murder) and fresh groundbreaking series (Black-ish and Fresh Off the Boat) than any other network. So it's no surprise it will be duplicating what worked last season.

Its Mondays (Dancing With the Stars followed by Castle), Wednesdays (returning comedies, plus Nashville), and Thursdays (all ShondaLand, all the time) remain intact. Ken Jeong's new comedy Dr. Ken will take Cristela's place on Friday nights, and Sundays add two new dramas, Oil and Of Prophets and Kings.

The biggest change comes on Tuesdays, with the network putting a lot of stock in The Muppets, which will kick off the night. "It's more Muppets as The Office, Modern Family, 30 Rock," Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group, said in a conference call with press on Tuesday morning of the "grown-up" series. "It's going to feel very different."

That will serve as a lead-in for Fresh Off the Boat, which may or may not be narrated by Eddie Huang, whose book serves as the basis for the show, as he has vocally distanced himself from the series as the first season has gone on. When asked if Huang would still serve as a narrator for the series, Lee replied that they're working out the narration. "We love Eddie … that's what inspired the whole show," he said. After Fresh Off the Boat comes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "We think S.H.I.E.L.D. really hit its creative stride this year," Lee said when asked about the show's spin-off that wasn't picked up. "We love those characters... There's a possibility of a spin-off, but we thought it was best to leave them on S.H.I.E.L.D. at this time."

Tuesday night will close with a new series, Quantico, which stars Bollywood megastar Priyanka Chopra. That casting, as well as ABC's Uncle Buck remake with an all-black cast, proves that the network is still devoted to racial diversity. But the all-white casts of Oil, The Real O'Neals, and The Family are a bit of a disappointment in that regard.

ShondaLand's newest offering, The Catch, has a more diverse cast and will head to ABC midseason because TGIT can only contain three series. Lee said it will air in the gap between the midseason finale and midseason premiere of How to Get Away With Murder at 10 p.m. on Thursdays.

As for the other unscheduled shows, Lee said after The Muppets ends its run on Tuesdays, Fresh Off the Boat will move to 8 p.m. and The Real O'Neals, which he called "the perfect ABC comedy" (even though the plot sounds just like CBS's last-season effort, the now-canceled McCarthys), will follow at 8:30 p.m; Agent Carter will air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. in the gap between the midseason finale and midseason premiere of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Wicked City, which is inspired by a real story, according to Lee, will air in the Quantico gap at 10 p.m on Tuesdays; Secrets & Lies, which aired its first season on Sundays, will air in Nashville's gap on Wednesdays at 10 p.m.; Uncle Buck will air in Dr. Ken's 8:30 p.m. slot on Fridays; Galavant's second season will air in Once Upon a Time's 8 p.m. slot on Sundays; and when Of Kings and Prophets finishes its run on Sundays at 10 p.m., the new drama The Family will jump in.

A couple other notable details:

—Lee also said that these will not be the final seasons of Grey's Anatomy or Castle. "I'd like to see them run for many, many years to come," he said.

—The second season of American Crime will be a reset for the John Ridley series. Some of the actors will come back and play different roles in an entirely new plot, according to Lee. "John's actually mapped out very specific roles for them, which is perfect because they're not playing the same roles at all," he said.

The full schedule is at the bottom of the story, and the new shows are now arranged in night-of-the-week order.

The Muppets (Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)

Eric Mccandless / ABC

Who's in it? The Muppets!

Who created it? Bill Prady and Bob Kushell

What's it about? The Muppets!

First impression? "I adore the Muppets. And I can't lie: I'm nervous about this show. When Paul Lee referred to this approach as 'grown-up Muppets,' I thought, Oh no. I want to love this show, but this trailer did not assuage my fears. The structure is a mockumentary format even the Muppets agree is tired, and they're making jokes about traffic on the 405 and Fozzie's relationship with a human woman. Also, the voices don't sound right to me. I want to believe! Prove me wrong, Muppets!" —Kate Aurthur

Wicked City (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)

Kevin Foley / ABC

Who's in it? Darrell-Britt Gibson, Taissa Farmiga, Erika Christensen, Ed Westwick, Adam Rothenberg, Karolina Wydra, Gabriel Luna

Who created it? Steven Baigelman, Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman, Laurie Zaks

What's it about? The series, should it return, will follow a different period in Los Angeles history each season. The first centers on a 1982 murder on the Sunset Strip, the home of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll.

First impression? "Ed Westwick is finally making good on the promise long hinted at on Gossip Girl: He could play an excellent serial killer. I worry that Westwick’s character seems far too flagrant about his murders to evade authorities for 13 or so episodes, but this is 1982, so perhaps there’s a “cops were so dumb before the internet” loophole to be exploited. In any case, the trailer offered enough intrigue, style, and glamour (love the hair, Erika Christensen) to pique my interest." —Jarett Wieselman

Dr. Ken (Fridays at 8:30 p.m.)

Michael Desmond / ABC

Who's in it? Ken Jeong, Dave Foley, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Jonathan Slavin, Suzy Nakamura, Albert Tsai, Krista Marie Yu

Who created it? Jared Stern, Ken Jeong, John Davis, John Fox, Mike Sikowitz

What's it about? Dr. Ken (Jeong) is a gifted physician, and though he has the best intentions, his beside manner isn't great, nor is the amount of time he spends on his family, his wife Allison (Nakamura), a therapist, and their two kids.

First impression? "I was speechless at this line that Foley has to say to Dr. Ken in a work context: 'Then I will finally have grounds to fire your tiny Asian ass.' And it does seem that Dr. Ken might not rise above over-the-top stereotypes — or stop perpetuating them. If this evolves into a fun family sitcom, then I'll be glad about it. For now, I will stick with thinking what I have generally thought: that a little Ken Jeong goes a long way." —Kate Aurthur

Blood & Oil (Sundays at 9 p.m.)

Craig Sjodin / ABC

Who's in it? Rebecca Rittenhouse, Chace Crawford, Don Johnson, Amber Valletta, Scott Michael Foster

Who created it? Tony Krantz, Josh Pate, Rodes Fishburne, Drew Comins, Don Johnson

What's it about? Small-town couple Billy (Crawford) and Cody Lefever move to North Dakota, where they hope to make new lives for themselves. But their dreams are threatened when a powerful but ruthless businessman (Don Johnson) pressures them to bet on everything they've worked for.

First impression? "OK, this is more like it! If you think Oil is going to be the gritty version of what's going on in the real North Dakota oil boom — which has drawn desperate types seeking work, making the region overrun and lawless — you will have to watch the excellent documentary The Overnighters. Because Oil is a big, winking, fun soap! Johnson as the patriarch is almost too much. Except it's actually perfect. Yay, fun." —Kate Aurthur

Quantico (Sundays at 10 p.m.)


Who's in it? Dougray Scott, Aunjanue Ellis, Priyanka Chopra, Jake McLaughlin, Johanna Braddy, Graham Rogers, Yasmine Al Massri, Tate Elllington

Who created it? Josh Safran, Mark Gordon, Nick Pepper

What's it about? A group of recruits head to the FBI Quantico base for training — and one is suspected of being behind a devastating attack on New York City, the biggest since 9/11.

First impression? "This is the sort of action drama that's so hard to evaluate in a cutdown: one that is surely not meant to be funny. There's already a lot going on in Quantico, with its Grey's Anatomy-goes-FBI structure of young, ambitious, good-looking people going through the system to become agents. And then: a terrorist attack, one that is pinned on the lead character, played by Chopra. Where will this show go from here?" —Kate Aurthur

Of Kings and Prophets (TBD)

Bob D'amico / ABC

Who's in it? Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Oliver Rix, Ray Winstone, Simone Kessell

Who created it? Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Jason Reed, Reza Aslan, Mahyad Tousi

What's it about? This Bible saga is told though the perspective of three men (a king, a prophet, and a shepherd).

First impression? "This show seems to be the story of Saul, the first king of Israel, as told through a Game of Thrones lens. It looks good: huge and dusty and expensive. Stories from the Bible have done better as limited series rather than shows (NBC's A.D. started strong, and then fell off a cliff). Will people want to watch Of Kings and Prophets every week? This trailer didn't make me think I did, but I'm interested enough." —Kate Aurthur

Uncle Buck (Midseason TBD)

Mitchell Haaseth / ABC

Who's in it? Mike Epps, Nia Long, James Lesure, Iman Benson, Sayeed Shahidi, Aalyrah Caldwell

Who created it? Steven Cragg, Brian Bradley, Will Packer, Korin Huggins, Phil Traill

What's it about? Based on the beloved John Candy movie, Epps takes on the titular role of a jovial but immature man who becomes the nanny for his nieces and nephews. And, you guessed it, hilarity ensues.

First impression? "This comedy comes from Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley, who previously wrote for MADtv and Saturday Night Live, so it’s rather surprising there’s not a single genuine laugh to be had in the trailer. OK, that’s not true — Aalyrah Caldwell, who plays youngest daughter Maizy, is incredibly winning given the little we see from her, but I suspect even that will grow tiresome if the scripts continue to rely on Mike Epps’ screaming at everyone in his vicinity." —Jarett Wieselman

The Catch (Midseason TBD)

Craig Sjodin / ABC

Who's in it? Mireille Enos, Alimi Ballard, Damon Dayoub, Jay Hayden, Jacky Ido, Bethany Joy Lenz, Rose Rollins, Elvy Yost

Who created it? Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Jennifer Schuur, Julie Anne Robinson

What's it about? This ShondaLand thriller stars The Killing's Mireille Enos as Alice Martin, a fraud investigator who becomes a victim of fraud herself, courtesy of her fiancé.

First impression? "Mireille Enos, the beguiling star of AMC’s The Killing and HBO’s Big Love, is instantly hypnotic. She's looking more like a regal leading lady than ever before as a career con artist who gets conned by her fiancé (played by the super attractive Damon Dayoub) and loses her apparently vast fortune. The trailer implies that the whole first season will be a cat and mouse game where Enos’ character attempts to regain control. So I wonder what a second season might entail. I also worry that her character kills that puppy. But then I remember it’s network television and protagonists can’t kill puppies. Right? RIGHT?!?" —Jarett Wieselman

The Family (Midseason TBD)

Bob D'amico / ABC

Who's in it? Alison Pill, Rupert Graves, Joan Allen, Zach Gilford, Liam James

Who created it? Jenna Bans, Todd Lieberman, David Hoberman, Laurie Zaks

What's it about? When a man who claims to be the son of a politician who was presumed dead after disappearing a decade prior returns, suspicions among the family emerge.

First impression? "There was an absolutely harrowing documentary released in 2012 called The Imposter about a young man who pretended to be the missing child of a Texan couple. This series plays off that terrifying premise, while also mixing in political intrigue, sexual dalliances, and — what looks to be — a stirring performance from the great Joan Allen. If The Family can be half as good as that documentary, ABC might have a vehicle worthy of its star." —Jarett Wieselman

The Real O'Neals (Midseason TBD)

Kevin Foley / ABC

Who's in it? Martha Plimpton, Jay R. Ferguson, Noah Galvin, Matt Shively, Bebe Wood

Who created it? David Windsor, Casey Johnson, Brian Pines, Dan McDermott, Dan Savage

What's it about? A picturesque Catholic family is rocked when some shocking truths come out. But ultimately, it helps them stop pretending to be perfect and start getting real. It's like The Real World, but with fictional religious people.

First impression? "There was a very unfunny sitcom on CBS last year called The McCarthys (since canceled) about a gay man living with his too tight-knit Boston family. While The Real O’Neals shares some of that premise, the results look infinitely better. Much of that is owed to its cast: Martha Plimpton (thankfully following up the always underrated Raising Hope with something equally charming), Jay R. Ferguson (majorly changing gears after Mad Men), and Bebe Wood (a breakout on NBC’s The New Normal). Whether this show ends up going the way of The McCarthys remains to be seen, but after watching the trailers for ABC's other comedies this year, there's a shred of hope the network crafted at least one show that deserves to air alongside The Goldbergs, Fresh Off the Boat, The Middle, Black-ish, and Modern Family." —Jarett Wieselman


Dancing with the Stars 8 p.m.

Castle 10 p.m.


*The Muppets 8 p.m.

Fresh Off the Boat 8:30 p.m.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 9 p.m.

*Quantico 10 p.m.


The Middle 8 p.m.

The Goldbergs 8:30 p.m.

Modern Family 9 p.m.

Black-ish 9:30 p.m.

Nashville 10 p.m.


Grey's Anatomy 8 p.m.

Scandal 9 p.m.

How to Get Away With Murder 10 p.m.


Last Man Standing 8 p.m.

*Dr. Ken 8:30 p.m.

Shark Tank 9 p.m.

20/20 10 p.m.


Saturday Night Football 8 p.m.


America's Funniest Home Videos 7 p.m.

Once Upon a Time 8 p.m.

*Oil 9 p.m.

*Quantico 10 p.m.

Note: In mid-May every year, the five television broadcast networks — NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and The CW — present their new shows and upcoming schedules to advertisers at events called "the upfronts." That's why you see an onslaught of new programming in May, as well as the cancellation of current shows. This post will be continually updated.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.