Cancelled: Better Off Ted, Scrubs, The Deep End, Eastwick, Flash Forward, The Forgotten, Hank, Happy Town, Lost, Romantically Challenged, Ugly Betty.
Renewed: 20/20, America's Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Brothers and Sisters, Castle, Cougar Town, Dancing With The Stars, Desperate Housewives, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Grey's Anatomy, Modern Family, Private Practice.
Moved: Dancing With The Stars Results,The Middle.
New: Better Together, Body Of Proof, Detroit 1-8-7, My Generation, No Ordinary Family, The Whole Truth, Secret Millionaire (from FOX).
ABC is holding V for the mid-season as are new drama Off The Map, and comedies Mr. Sunshine and Happy Endings. They have also indicated that, although Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Wife Swap and Shark Tank are not on the schedule it does not necessarily mean that these shows are dead.
Complete Schedule: (New shows in Capitals)
8:00-10:00 p.m.: Dancing With The Stars
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Castle
8:00-9:00 p.m.: NO ORDINARY FAMILY
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Dancing With The Stars Results (new time)
10:00-11:00 p.m.: DETROIT 1-8-7
8:00-8:30 p.m.: The Middle (new time)
8:30-9:00 p.m.: BETTER TOGETHER
9:00-9:30 p.m.: Modern Family
9:30-10:00 p.m.: Cougar Town
10:00-11:00 p.m.: THE WHOLE TRUTH
8:00-9:00 p.m.: MY GENERATION
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Grey's Anatomy
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Private Practice
8:00-9:00 p.m.: Secret Millionaire
9:00-10:00 p.m.: BODY OF PROOF
10:00-11:00 p.m.: 20/20
8:00-11:00 p.m.: College Football
7:00-8:00 p.m.: America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00--9:00 p.m.: Extreme Makeover Home Edition
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Desperate Housewives
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Brothers and Sisters
Better Together is the only comedy set to start in September. Joanna Garcia stars as Mia, who has been dating Ben (Jake Lacy) for seven weeks when she announces that they are getting married and having a baby. This shocks her sister Maddie (Jennifer Finnigan), who has been dating Ben (Josh Cooke) for nine years. They know each other inside and out and they make a point of the fact that their relationship – as it stands – is a "valid life choice." Surprisingly (to Maddie) the girl's parents are supportive of Mia's choice, having recently adopted a carpe diem attitude.
No Ordinary Family stars Michael Chiklis and Julia Benz as Jim and Stephanie Powell. On a family trip their plane crashes in the Amazon. As a result Jim and Stephanie and their two children Daphne and JJ (Kay Panabaker and Jimmy Bennett) each develop a unique super-power. Also stars Tate Donavon, Romany Malco, Autumn Reeser and Christina Chang.
Detroit 1-8-7 takes the basic concept of The Office – a documentary film crew in the work place – and applies it to a serious subject. In this case the work place is the Detroit Police Department's Homicide unit. There are moments when the cops address the cameras directly, and other times when they forget entirely that they're being filmed. The series looks at the various cops and their relationships to each other. Some of the partnerships are cases of teaming opposites with each other while in other cases the tensions are taut. Stars Michael Imperioli, Jon Michael Hill, James McDaniel, Aisha Hinds, Natalie Martinez, D.J. Cotrona, and Shaun Majumder.
The Whole Truth is Jerry Bruckheimer's latest series. Starring Rob Morrow as leading New York criminal attorney Jimmy Brogan, whose long-time friend Kathryn Peale (currently uncast – Joely Richardson had been cast in the role but pulled out of the project earlier this month ) is the Deputy Bureau Chief of the State District Attorney's office. The series endeavours to show each side – prosecution and defense – equally forcing our allegiances to shift depending on what we are seeing. Both lawyers and their teams are equally matched and both have a fervent belief in their clients and their position. In the end what counts is not guilt or innocence, it is what the jury believes to be the truth. Eamonn Walker, Sean Wing, Anthony Ruivivar, and Christine Adams also star.
My Generation looks at the changes that a decade can hold in store for people. The scripted drama looks at a group of people who, in 2000, were the subject of a documentary about high schools students about to graduate from an Austin Texas high school. They are brought back together again ten years later they discover that while they may not be where they expected to be when they left high school, they may need to be where they need to be, and more importantly that while you may not have got what you thought you wanted out of life it may not be too late to get what you need. Stars Michael Stahl David, Kelli Garner, Jaime King, Keir O'Donnell, Sebastian Sozzi, Mechad Brooks, Anne Son, Daniella Alonzo, and Julian Morris.
In Body Of Proof Dana Delaney stars as Dr. Megan Hunt. A brilliant neurosurgeon until a devastating car crash ended her surgical career she has chosen to resume her career as a medical examiner who is determined to learn who or what killed the victims who come across her table. She quickly develops a reputation for going beyond her duties as a medical examiner and greying the lines between the where her job ends and where the job of the police begins. In addition to all this she finds that she has to re-examine and rebuild her relationship with her family which suffered because of her ambition to build her career. Jerri Ryan, Geoffrey Arand, John Carroll Lynch, Windell Middlebrook, Mick Bishop and Sonja Sohn also star.
Happy Endings asks the most important question when a "perfect couple" breaks up: who gets the friends? The perfect couple in this case are Dave (Zachary Knighton) and Alex (Elisha Cuthbert) who promise to stay friends even though their relationship has ended. But can the group of friends, who are as essentially a blend of each individual's friends, hang together? Who gets to go on the big ski trip for example? More importantly, how long do you have to wait before you can act on your attraction to your friend's now ex-boyfriend. It's some thing they'll have to figure out as they go along.
Mr. Sunshine features Matthew Perry as the self-involved manager of a second rate sports arena in San Diego. Ben Donavon has just turned 40 and is re-evaluating his life as a result. But beyond that he has to deal with the people he works with. These include his powerful and highly erratic boss Crystal (Allison Janney) and her clueless son Roman (Nate Torrance) who is Ben's latest employee, Alice (Andrea Anders) the tomboyish marketing director who is also Ben's "friend with benefits," Alonzo (James Lesure) an impossibly happy ex-basketball player, and Ben's assistant Heather (Portia Doubleday) who looks sweet but is frightening – she once set one of her former boyfriends on fire.
Off The Map is the latest medical drama from Shonda Rhimes, and it is about as far from Grey's Anatomy as you can get, literally and figuratively. The series focuses on three young doctors – Lily Brenner (Caroline Dhavernas), Mina Minard (Mamie Gummer), and Manny Diaz (Enrique Murciano) – who come to work in a small understaffed and undersupplied clinic in the South American jungle. All are running away from their own personal demons and are coming to work with Ben Keeton (Martin Henderson), the brilliant founder of the clinic, who had been the youngest chief of surgery at UCLA, and his assistant Otis Cole (Jason George).
I am not terribly impressed with what ABC has done with this line-up. I think that there are a couple of interesting ideas. The concept behind Detroit 1-8-7, a documentary crew following the Detroit Homicide cops is one of those amalgams that could work. If nothing else it would seem to take the shaky cam of NYPD Blue and justifying it, while allowing the actors to break the fourth wall from time to time. Will it work though? I'm not sure, particularly with Michael Imperioli – remember how well he worked on the American version of Life On Mars. On the other hand I think that No Ordinary Family is a good mix of concept and time slot. The idea of these people gaining different superpowers after a crash is straight out of the origins of Marvel's Fantastic Four but done with a family rather than a group of people. If played as a light drama rather than with the sturm und drang that accompanied most episodes of Heroes, I think that this is a show that could attract a larger family audience. I'm not sure about The Whole Truth. It seems to take the basic Law & Order template and replace the cops with the defense side of the trial equation. (Dick Wolf would never approve – he has famously stated that he would never do a show that featured a defense attorney because he seems to believe that anyone who has been arrested and charged is nearly always guilty and by implication defense attorneys are worse in some ways than the criminals they defend.) Is this going to work? I don't know. I think it might be trying to push too much material into a too small period of time to really do justice to either side (in truth I often felt that way about Law & Order when I was watching it). I have a bigger problem with My Generation though. This reminds me of an anthology series from almost 30 years ago called What Really Happened To The Class Of '65? which looked at the post graduation lives of individuals from the stated high school class. While I realise that this is almost certainly not what ABC is trying to do with this show, and the concept seems to be drawn more from the 7 Up series of documentaries done by Michael Apted. I'm really not sure that this will work even – maybe especially – as a lead to Grey's Anatomy. I'm not entirely sure about Body Of Proof. I've always liked Dana Delaney, and enjoy seeing Jerri Ryan (who is a better actress than most people gave her credit for when she was playing 7 of 9 on Star Trek: Voyager). The problem for me is that this seems to be well travelled ground. It will undoubtedly be played more seriously than something like Crossing Jordan or Quincy but still it seems to have been done before. Despite its pedigree I just can't see Off The Map working as a series. It may sound patronizing but I can't see a show about young doctors in a jungle hospital drawing a mass audience.
Turning to the comedies, despite enjoying Joanna Garcia's work in the past Better Together seems to be another comedy treading familiar ground. It may work but it sort of stands out in comparison with shows like The Middle and Modern Family. Happy Endings seems to me to have more promise. While the concept of the group and the dynamics of the group bears some resemblance to How I Met Your Mother? and other series in which groups of friends have to differ with shifting relationships, this would seem to be a more in depth examination. There are a lot more issues for potential humour in the breaking up of a relationship and the impact on blended groups of friends than most producers and writers have really explored. Still if I can say that I am looking forward to any sitcom on the ABC line-up – and maybe any network's proposed line-up, it is Mr. Sunshine. Not only is this a stellar cast with great comedy chops but the people behind the scenes are outstanding as well, including Perry (who wrote the pilot and is one of the executive producers), executive producer Jamie Tarses, and executive producer Thomas Schlamme who also directed the pilot. If any comedy is going to get me this year it is probably this one.
Next up – CBS.