ABC joins its competitors in flexing comedy muscles for its fall schedule, announcing a lineup that sticks a new comedy about space aliens in suburbia behind hit Modern Family, creates a young-skewing comedy block at 9 p.m. Tuesdays and moves buzzed-about drama Revenge into long-running show Desperate Housewives' old time slot.
Executives also revealed next season's Dancing With the Stars will be an all-star edition, bringing back old favorites from the last 14 cycles, though they would not divulge who is under consideration (but according to reports, no past winners will compete). There's also a shot of country culture, with singing star Reba McEntire featured in the comedy Malibu Crossing as the cheated-on wife of a country music star and ex-Friday Night Lights and American Horror Story star Connie Britton as a fading singing star in Nashville.
Gone are ambitious dramas such as GCB and Ashley Judd's Missing, though another midseason tryout, Scandal, will return in Private Practice's old 10 p.m. Thursday time slot. ABC's comedy about young friends, Happy Endings, will be paired with its other comedy about not-so-friendly young people, Don't Trust the B--- in Apartment 23, for a 9 p.m. comedy block, pushing Dancing's results show to 8 p.m. Tuesdays.
Star Tim Allen gets pushed to Fridays — fellow critics and I have taken to calling it "DVR Theater" because nobody actually watches TV that night — forming a comedy block at 8 p.m. that hearkens back to the network's old family-oriented "T.G.I.F." lineups.
Other than the spark of comedy, ABC's 10 new shows for next year run the gamut, ranging from The Shield creator Shawn Ryan's The Last Resort, about a nuclear sub that refuses to nuke Pakistan, to 666 Park Avenue, a drama about a supernatural apartment building with Lost alumnus Terry O'Quinn and Desperate Housewives alumnus Vanessa Williams.
"Everything we do is about emotional connection — great stories, great characters and real emotions," said ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee.