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Upfronts: ABC's New Shows and 2016-17 Schedule

Our comprehensive coverage of the TV network upfront presentations this week in New York continues with a look at ABC's plans for the 2016-17 season. We'll have additional reports for the other networks each day this week. See more upfronts coverage...

ABC was a bit ahead of schedule this year with both its renewal and cancellation announcements. The latter came last Thursday, with the network killing off fan favorites like Nashville, Galavant, and the long-running Castle.

Scripted shows are in bold below.

New programs are indicated in bold in the schedule below. All times are ET/PT unless otherwise indicated.

The 9 first-year series ordered for ABC's 2016-17 season are detailed below. ABC passed on pilots including (for the second time) Marvel's Most Wanted (an Agents of SHIELD spinoff that would have starred Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood), Shonda Rhimes-produced comedy Toast, Anna Gunn/Andy Daly comedy Chunk & Bean, 1970s modeling agency drama Model Woman, Gabriel Iglesias comedy The Fluffy Shop, Gina Torres drama The Death Of Eva Sofia Valdez, Casey Wilson comedy Hail Mary, Candice Bergen comedy Pearl, and serialized trial drama The Jury (which would have starred Archie Panjabi). The latter three projects are being redeveloped and could resurface next year.


With Agent Carter canceled, Hayley Atwell moves on to this more conventional legal drama, portraying what amounts to a naughtier version of Chelsea Clinton. A lawyer and former First Daughter with a drug problem, she takes a job offer from her "sexy nemesis," a New York District Attorney, to head up his new wrongful conviction unit to avoid jail time for a cocaine possession charge (and avoid harming her mother's Senate campaign). The soapy procedural (an ABC specialty) also stars Eddie Cahill, Shawn Ashmore, and Emily Kinney.

ImageDesignated Survivor

Ordered to series way back in December without a pilot, this thriller finds Kiefer Sutherland playing a low-level cabinet member (the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development) who suddenly becomes president after a terrorist attack during the State of the Union address kills everyone else in the line of succession. Not only is he unprepared for his new position, but he must also face an immediate military showdown with Iran, which is threatening action amidst the chaos in America. Kal Penn, Maggie Q, and Natascha McElhone also star. The series comes from screenwriter David Guggenheim (Safe House).

ImageDownward Dog

Fargo's Allison Tolman stars as a woman dealing with the usual work and relationship problems in a Pittsburgh-set comedy narrated by her dog. Lucas Neff and Barry Rothbart also star in this adaptation of the web series of the same name by Samm Hodges and Michael Killen (with the former providing the voice of the canine, lest you think that ABC has cast an actual talking dog). Before you start looking for Downward Dog online, note that it never actually streamed because the concept immediately started attracting attention from networks ("You had us at talking dog!"), with the series ultimately going to ABC after a heated bidding war between that network and Fox.

ImageImaginary Mary

Talking dogs not your thing? How about imaginary friends? Jenna Elfman stars as an independent career woman who finally meets the love of her life (Stephen Schneider), a divorced father of three. The catch? Her "slightly unhinged" childhood imaginary friend (voiced by Rachel Dratch) suddenly re-enters her life to give her advice. This live-action/CGI hybrid comes from The Goldbergs creator Adam F. Goldberg, plus David Guarascio and Disney animator Patrick Osborne.


"Living at the intersection of law and media" (just a few miles down from the junction of originality and excitement) is this drama that's loosely based on the connected personal and professional lives of criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and Larry King Live producer Wendy Walker (who both serve as producers on the show), with a story from Josh Berman (Drop Dead Diva) and blogger Allie Hagan. Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs) and Daniel Sunjata (Graceland) star. The show will break up ABC's formerly all-Shonda Rhimes Thursday night lineup.

ImageStill Star-Crossed

Shakespeare, meet Shonda Rhimes. For her fifth ABC series on next year's schedule, the producer (with a script from Scandal writer Heather Mitchell) is picking up the story of Romeo and Juliet at its ending point, and continuing it forward from there, with the Montagues and the Capulets still feuding. (The series is based on Melinda Taub's novel.) The diverse cast includes Anthony Head, Grant Bowler, Wade Briggs, Zuleikha Robinson, Lashana Lynch, Sterling Sulieman, and Torrance Coombs.

ImageTime After Time

Another network, another time travel series. Kevin Williamson (The Following) adapts Karl Alexander's sci-fi novel (previously turned into an excellent 1979 film by Nicholas Meyer) that examines what would happen if 19th century author H. G. Wells really did build a working time machine—and use it to track down Jack the Ripper across multiple time periods. (Expect much of the show to take place in the not-too-distant present, however.) UnReal's Freddie Stroma stars as Wells and Josh Bowman (Revenge) plays Jack, while the cast is filled out by Regina Taylor, Jordin Sparks, and Genesis Rodriguez.

More coverage of the 2016-17 upfront presentations ...

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