ABC is launching eight new series in the fall and taking some big swings, including a Tuesday lineup of all-new series, anchored by Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Rebel Wilson’s hot streak continues, with the rising star landing the post-Modern Family slot for her comedy Super Fun Night. ABC is looking to stem Dancing With The Stars‘ ratings decline by eliminating the Tuesday edition, with the Monday 8-10 PM show incorporating both performances and results. Dancing, as well as The Bachelor, Shark Tank and The Taste have been formally renewed for next season. Here is ABC’s fall schedule, analysis and descriptions of all 13 new series for next season, including newly picked up adventure reality series The Quest from The Amazing Race creators Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri:
ABC FALL 2013-2014 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET/PT)
8 PM – Dancing With The Stars
10 PM – Castle
8 PM – MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
9 PM – THE GOLDBERGS
9:30 PM – TROPHY WIFE
10 PM – LUCKY 7
8 PM – The Middle
8:30 PM – BACK IN THE GAME
9 PM – Modern Family
9:30 PM – SUPER FUN NIGHT
10 PM – Nashville
8 PM – ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND
9 PM – Grey’s Anatomy
10 PM – Scandal
8 PM – Last Man Standing
8:30 PM – The Neighbors
9 PM – Shark Tank
10 PM – 20/20
8 PM – Saturday Night College Football
7 PM – America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 PM – Once Upon A Time
9 PM – Revenge
10 PM – BETRAYAL
From ABC’s returning series, left off the schedule are comedy Suburgatory and reality series The Bachelor, which comes on in midseason, and The Taste.
The agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be going after the agents of NCIS next fall. ABC is showing some serious balls, slating its high-profile (and male-skewing new drama) Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. against CBS’ veteran drama NCIS on Tuesday (and NBC’s The Voice for good measure). It is one of four new series on Tuesday as ABC is giving the night a complete makeover, including comedies The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife and new drama Lucky 7. The cushy half-hour slots in ABC’s established Wednesday block went to Super Fun Night (9:30 PM) and Back In The Game (8:30 PM). Returning comedy The Neighbors will join Last Man Standing on Friday for a 8-10 PM block of what ABC says are all highly co-viewed shows, including Shark Talk at 9 PM.
Surprisingly, ABC is keeping Revengein the high-profile Sunday 9 PM slot despite the show’s shaky second season. Based on the pitch for season 3, ABC brass believe the series will bounce back creatively as “Emily goes back to the malaise in her heart,” ABC president Paul Lee said. In fact, ABC is keeping ALL of its returning dramas put, including the dynamic duo of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal on Thursday, Castle on Monday, Nashville on Wednesday and Once Upon A Time on Sunday.
The Once creators have their work cut out for them as both Once and the spinoff Once Upon A Time In Wonderland are on the fall schedule. Wonderland can use some magic as it will try to break the ABC 8 PM curse that has claimed a slew of new series over the last several years. Lee said the decision was made to make Thursday “a powerful night of empowered women”: Alice, Meredith Grey and Olivia Pope.
Here are the networks’ descriptions of the new shows:
Betrayal — A chance meeting between photographer Sara Hadley (Hannah Ware) and Attorney Jack McAllister (Stuart Townsend) leads to an instant and undeniable attraction. Sarah’s husband, Drew (Chris Johnson), is a successful prosecutor with political aspirations, while Jack is married to Elaine (Wendy Moniz), the daughter of his boss, Thacher Karsten (James Cromwell). When Karsten’s brother-in-law Lou is murdered, all evidence points to Karsten’s son, T.J. (Henry Thomas). Jack, the company’s lead counsel, will have to defend him, but for Sara’s prosecutor husband, Drew, this is the kind of high-profile murder case that can secure his political future. Just as Sara and Jack’s affair is starting, the lovers find themselves in an impossible situation — on opposite sides of a murder investigation. “Betrayal” stars Hannah Ware (“Shame,” “Boss”) as Sara, Stuart Townsend (“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”) as Jack, James Cromwell (“Babe,” “American Horror Story”) as Thacher Karsten, Henry Thomas (“E.T.,” “Gangs of New York”) as T.J. Karsten, Chris Johnson (“The Vampire Diaries”) as Drew, Wendy Moniz (“Guiding Light,” “The Guardian”) as Elaine, Elizabeth McLaughlin (“The Clique”) as Val and Braeden Lamasters (“Men of a Certain Age”) as Vic. “Betrayal” was written by David Zabel (“ER”) and directed by Patty Jenkins (“The Killing,” “Monster”) and is executive-produced by David Zabel, Rob Golenberg (“Red Widow”) and Alon Aranya. “Betrayal” is produced by ABC Studios.
Killer Women — Of all the notorious lawmen who have ever patrolled the violent Texas frontier, none are more storied than the Texas Rangers. But being the only female ranger in this elite squad isn’t going to stop ballsy, badass Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer). Molly is committed to finding the truth and seeing justice served. While she’s surrounded by law enforcement colleagues who want to see her fail, including Police Lieutenant Guillermo Salazar (Vic Trevino), the Rangers have her back, led by Company Commander Luis Zea (Alex Fernandez). Molly has also got her brother, Billy (Michael Trucco), and his wife Becca (Marta Milans). On the verge of getting divorced from her smarmy husband, Jake (Jeffrey Nordling), Molly begins an affair with sexy DEA Agent Dan Winston (Marc Blucas). “Killer Women” stars Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) as Molly Parker, Mark Blucas (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) as Dan, Marta Milans (“Shame”) as Becca, Alex Fernandez (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”) as Luis and Michael Trucco (“Battlestar Galactica”) as Billy. “Killer Women” was written by Hannah Shakespeare and is executive-produced by Sofía Vergara (“Modern Family”), Martin Campbell, Ben Silverman, Luis Balaguer, Electus, Latin World Entertainment. The pilot was directed by Larry Trilling. “Killer Women” is produced by ABC Studios.
Lucky 7 — In Astoria, Queens, a group of seven gas station employees have been chipping into a lottery pool for months, never thinking they’d actually win. Money could solve problems for each of them: Matt (Matt Long) could get his girlfriend and two kids out of his mother’s house; Matt’s brother, Nicky (Stephen Louis Grush), an ex-con, could pay off a dangerous debt; Samira (Summer Bishil), a second-generation Pakistani immigrant, could afford to go to Juilliard; Denise (Lorraine Bruce), a plucky cashier, could focus on rebuilding her crumbling marriage; Leanne (Anastasia Phillips), a young mother, could help her daughter realize her dreams; Bob (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), the store’s manager, could finally retire; and Antonio (Luis Antonio Ramos) could give his wife and kids a whole new life. “Lucky 7” stars Isiah Whitlock, Jr. (“The Wire”) as Bob Harris, Matt Long (“Private Practice”) as Matt Korzak, Stephen Louis Grush (“Detroit 1-8-7”) as Nicky Korzak, Lorraine Bruce (“Eden Lake”) as Denise, Anastasia Phillips (“Stoked”) as Leanne, Summer Bishil (“Towelhead”) as Samira Rajpur, Luis Antonio Ramos (“The Ruins”) as Antonio Clemente and Christine Evangelista (“The Joneses”) as Mary. Written by David Zabel (“ER”) and Jason Richman (“Detroit 1-8-7”), “Lucky 7” is executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, David Zabel and Jason Richman. The pilot was directed by Paul McGuigan. “Lucky 7” is produced by ABC Studios and Amblin Television.
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.l.E.L.D. — Clark Gregg reprises his role of Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel’s feature films, as he assembles a small, highly select group of Agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Together they investigate the new, the strange and the unknown around the globe, protecting the ordinary from the extraordinary. Coulson’s team consists of Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), highly trained in combat and espionage; Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), expert pilot and martial artist; Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), brilliant engineer; and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), genius bio-chemist. Joining them on their journey into mystery is new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet). “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Marvel’s first television series, is from executive producers Joss Whedon (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen, who co-wrote the pilot (“Dollhouse,” “Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”). Jeffrey Bell (“Angel,” “Alias”) and Jeph Loeb (“Smallville,” “Lost,” “Heroes”) also serve as executive producers. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television.
Mind Games — Clark (Steve Zahn) and Ross (Christian Slater) Edwards are brothers and partners in a unique agency committed to solving clients’ problems using the hard science of psychological manipulation. Clark is a former professor and a world-renowned expert in the field of human behavior. But he has a checkered history due to bipolar disorder, which sometimes results in quirky, manic episodes. Older brother Ross is a slick con man who has spent time in prison. Each in their own way knows what makes people tick. Drawing from the most cutting edge research in psychology, they can a tailor a plan to influence any situation. It’s a little bit science, a little bit con artistry, plus a smattering of Jedi mind tricks. The brothers, along with their team of master manipulators, are offering clients an alternative to fate. “Mind Games” stars Steve Zahn (“Treme”) as Clark, Christian Slater (“True Romance”) as Ross, Megalyn Echikunwoke (“CSI: Miami”) as Megan, Cedric Sanders (“The Social Network”) as Latrell, Gregory Marcel (“The Good Shepherd”) as Miles and Wynn Everett (“The Newsroom”) as Claire. Written and executive-produced by Kyle Killen, the series is also executive-produced by Keith Redman. “Mind Games” is a 20th Century Fox Television production. Miguel Sapochnik directed the pilot.
Once Upon A Time In Wonderland — In Victorian England, the young and beautiful Alice (Sophie Lowe) tells a tale of a strange new land that exists on the other side of a rabbit hole. An invisible cat, a hookah smoking caterpillar and playing-cards that talk are just some of the fantastic things she’s seen during this impossible adventure. Surely this troubled girl must be insane, and her doctors aim to cure her with a treatment that will make her forget everything. Alice seems ready to put it all behind her, especially the painful memory of the genie she fell in love with and lost forever — the handsome and mysterious Cyrus (Peter Gadiot). But deep down Alice knows this world is real, and just in the nick of time the sardonic Knave of Hearts (Michael Socha) and the irrepressible White Rabbit (John Lithgow) arrive to save her from a doomed fate. Together the trio will take a tumble down the rabbit hole to this Wonderland where nothing is impossible. “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” stars Sophie Lowe (“Beautiful Kate”) as Alice, Michael Socha (“This Is England”) as Knave of Hearts, Peter Gadiot (“The Forbidden Girl”) as Cyrus, Emma Rigby (“Hollyoaks”) as Queen of Hearts and John Lithgow (“3rd Rock from the Sun”) as the voice of the White Rabbit. “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” was written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (“Once Upon a Time”), who serve as executive producers. Steve Perlman and Zack Estrin also serve as executive producers, and the pilot was directed by Ralph Hemecker. “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” is produced by ABC Studios.
Resurrection — The people of Arcadia, Missouri are forever changed when their deceased loved ones suddenly start to return. An 8-year-old American boy (Landon Gimenez) wakes up alone in a rice paddy in a rural Chinese province with no idea how he got there. Details start to emerge when the boy, who calls himself Jacob, recalls that his hometown is Arcadia, and an Immigration agent, Martin Bellamy (Omar Epps), takes him there. The home he claims as his own is occupied by an elderly couple, Harold (Kurtwood Smith) and Lucille Garland (Frances Fisher), who lost their son Jacob more than 30 years ago. While they look different, young Jacob recognizes them as his parents. Those closest to the family try to unravel this impossible mystery, including Sheriff Fred Garland (Matt Craven), whose wife Barbara drowned 30 years ago while trying to save Jacob. But this boy who claims to be the deceased Jacob knows secrets about his own death that no one else knows — secrets that Fred’s daughter, Gail (Devin Kelly), will begin to investigate and discover to be true. “Resurrection” stars Omar Epps (“House”) as Martin Bellamy, Matt Craven (“Crimson Tide,” “A Few Good Men”) as Fred, Devin Kelley (“Chernobyl Diaries,” “The Chicago Code”) as Gail, Frances Fisher (“Titanic”) as Lucille, Kurtwood Smith (“That ‘70s Show”) as Harold, Sam Hazeldine (“The Raven”) as Abel, Samaire Armstrong (“Entourage,” “The O.C.”) as Elaine, Nicholas Gonzalez (“Off the Map”) as Connor, Mark Hildreth (“Dragon Ball Z”) as Tom and Landon Gimenez as Jacob. Written by Aaron Zelman (“Damages,” “The Killing”), “Resurrection” is executive-produced by Aaron Zelman, JoAnn Alfano, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Jon Liebman, Brillstein Entertainment and Plan B. The pilot was directed by Charles McDougall. “Resurrection” is produced by ABC Studios.
Back In The Game — Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson) was an All Star softball player until life threw her a few curve balls — a baby, a lost college scholarship and a loser for a husband. After striking out on her own, Terry and her son, Danny (Griffin Gluck), move in with her estranged father, Terry Sr., aka “The Cannon” (James Caan). The Cannon is an opinionated, beer-guzzling, ex-athlete who never quite made the cut either as a single father or professional baseball player. As hard as Terry tries to keep Danny away from the sports-driven lifestyle of her youth, Tommy wants to play Little League. His stunning lack of baseball skills (he doesn’t even know which hand the mitt goes on) makes him the laughing stock of the baseball field and of his grandfather’s living room. When Danny and a group of other athletically-challenged hopefuls fail to make the team, Danny’s disappointment forces Terry to face her past. So when a wealthy neighbor volunteers to finance a team for the rejected kids, Terry reluctantly offers to coach the team of misfits. “Back in the Game” stars Maggie Lawson (“Psych”) as Terry, Jr., James Caan (“Las Vegas”) as Terry “The Cannon” Gannon, Sr., Lenora Crichlow (“Being Human,” “Fast Girls”) as Gigi, Griffin Gluck (“Private Practice”) as Danny, Ben Koldyke (“Big Love”) as Dick, Kennedy Waite (“I-Doll”) as Vanessa, J.J. Totah (“Jessie”) as Michael and Cooper Roth as David. “Back in the Game” was written by Mark and Robb Cullen (“Lucky,” “Las Vegas”), who also executive-produce along with directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (“Bad Santa,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love”) and Aaron Kaplan (“The Neighbors”). “Back in the Game” is from 20TH Century Fox Television/ Kapital Entertainment.
The Goldbergs — Before there were parenting blogs, trophies for showing up and peanut allergies, there was a simpler time called the ‘80s. For geeky 11-year-old Adam (Sean Giambrone) these were his wonder years, and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. The Goldbergs are a loving family like any other, just with a lot more yelling. Mom Beverly (Wendi McClendon-Covey) is a classic “smother,” an overbearing, overprotective matriarch who rules this brood with 100% authority and zero sense of boundaries. Dad Murray (Jeff Garlin) is gruff, hot-tempered and trying to parent without screaming. Sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is 17, hot, terrifying and not one to mess with. Barry (Troy Gentile) is 16, a grade-A spaz with classic middle child syndrome. Adam (Sam Giambrone) is the youngest, a camera-wielding future director who’s crushing on an older woman. Rounding out the family is beloved grandfather Al “Pops” Solomon (George Segal), the wild man of the clan, a shameless Don Juan who’s schooling Adam in the ways of love. When Pops buys a new sports car and offers his Caddy to middle child Barry, it’s enough to drive this already high-strung family to the brink of chaos. “The Goldbergs” stars Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Bridesmaids”) as Beverly, Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Murray, George Segal (“Don’t Shoot Me”) as Pops, Hayley Orrantia (“The X Factor”) as Erica, Sean Giambrone as Adam and Troy Gentile (“Good Luck Chuck”) as Barry. “The Goldbergs” was written and executive-produced by Adam F. Goldberg (“Breaking In,” “Fanboys”) and also executive produced by Doug Robinson. The pilot was directed by Seth Gordon (“Identity Thief,” “Horrible Bosses”). “The Goldbergs” is from Adam Sandler’s production company, Happy Madison, and is produced by Sony Pictures Television.
Mixology — One bar. One night. Ten single people. Welcome to Union, a high-end bar in Manhattan’s trendy meat-packing district. Recently dumped by his fiancée, Tom (Blake Lee) hasn’t been out on the town in a decade. His best friends, handsome, confident Cal (Craig Frank) and fast-talking Bruce (Andrew Santino), are throwing Tom back into the dating pool whether he likes it or not. Tom’s first encounter is with Maya (Ginger Gonzaga), an attorney who’s as beautiful as she is brutal; before long, Tom is in tears. After that, it only gets worse. Rounding out Union’s chic crowd is Maya’s engaged-for-now friend, Liv (Kate Simses); aggressive single mom Jessica (Alexis Carra); her younger, naive sister, Janey (Sarah Bolger); bubbly cocktail waitress Kacey (Vanessa Lengies); dark, mysterious bartender Dominic (Adan Canto); and failed internet entrepreneur Ron (Adam Campbell), who’s having the worst night of his life. “Mixology” stars Blake Lee (“Parks and Recreation”) as Tom, Andrew Santino (“Punk’d”) as Bruce, Kate Simses (“What’s Your Number”) as Liv, Adam Campbell (“Epic Movie”) as Ron, Craig Frank (“8.13”) as Cal, Vanessa Lengies (“Glee”) as Kacey, Alexis Carra (“Incredible Girl”) as Jessica, Sarah Bolger (“Once Upon a Time”) as Janey, Ginger Gonzaga (“Legit”) as Maya and Adan Canto (“The Following”) as Dominic. “Mixology” was written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore (“The Hangover,” “21 and Over”), and is executive-produced by Lucas, Moore, Ryan Seacrest, Nina Wass and Adam Sher. It’s directed by Larry Charles (“Seinfeld,” “Entourage,” “Borat”), and is produced by ABC Studios.
Super Fun Night — Junior attorney Kimmie Boubier (Rebel Wilson) and her two best friends, Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira) and Marika (Lauren Ash), have had a standing date every Friday night for the last 13 years. They even have a motto for what they call “Friday Night Fun Night”: “Always together! Always Inside!” However Kimmie’s recent promotion throws a monkey wrench into the tradition. Not only is she now working with her idol, “Lady Lawyer of the Year” Felicity Vanderstone (Kelen Coleman), but she meets a dashingly handsome British attorney, Richard Lovell (Kevin Bishop), who invites her to his party at a trendy club. Determined to spend time with Richard and heed Felicity’s advice to network, Kimmie sets out to convince her friends to take Super Fun Night on the road. “Super Fun Night” stars Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect,” “Bridesmaids”) as Kimmie, Lauren Ash (“Lars and the Real Girl”) as Marika, Liza Lapira (“Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23”) as Helen-Alice, Kelen Coleman (“The Newsroom”) as Felicity and Kevin Bishop (“Star Stories”) as Richard. “Super Fun Night” was written by Rebel Wilson who also serves as co-executive producer. Executive producers are Conan O’Brien, Jeff Ross, David Kissinger and John Riggi (“30 Rock”), who also directed the pilot. “Super Fun Night” is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Conaco and Warner Bros. Television.
Trophy Wife — They say the third time’s the charm, and reformed party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) is hoping that’s true when she becomes Pete’s (Bradley Whitford) third wife. She fell into his arms (literally) at a karaoke bar, and a year later Kate’s got an insta-family, complete with three stepchildren and two ex-wives. Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) is ex-wife number one, an intense, over-achieving doctor and the mother of twin teenagers Hillary (Gianna LePera) and Warren (Ryan Scott Lee). Diane is quick to convey her withering disapproval of Kate’s barely tapped maternal instinct. Ex-wife number two, Jackie (Michaela Watkins), is mother to adopted son Bert (Albert Tsai), and can pull Pete’s strings with her special blend of neurotic, new-ageyness. Juggling all this baggage is uncharted territory for Kate, who finds support with her best friend Meg (Natalie Morales), a party-hearty singleton and the only woman Kate knows who has less experience with kids than she has. “Trophy Wife” stars Malin Akerman (“Suburgatory”) as Kate, Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”) as Pete, Marcia Gay Harden (“Into the Wild,” “Damages”) as Diane, Michaela Watkins (“Saturday Night Live”) as Jackie, Natalie Morales (“90210”) as Meg, Ryan Scott Lee (“Super 8”) as Warren, Albert Tsai (“How I Met Your Mother”) as Bert and Gianna LePera (“Modern Family”) as Hillary. “Trophy Wife” is written and executive-produced by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins, executive produced by Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky (“The Office”), produced by Malin Ackerman. The pilot was directed by Jason Moore (“Pitch Perfect,” “Avenue Q”). “Trophy Wife” is from ABC Studios.
The Quest — “The Quest” is a new reality adventure that takes 12 lucky contestants on the journey of a lifetime when they enter the world of “Everealm.” For “The Quest,” the producer of the blockbuster movie franchise “The Lord of the Rings” has joined forces with the creators and producers of “The Amazing Race” to conjure a land of magic and malevolence, where mythical creatures lurk in the woods, agents of darkness stir in the shadows, and mystical beings infiltrate the keep. For 12 lucky souls, a fantastic world will come alive in a unique competition series where players will engage in epic challenges. Fantasy meets reality when one player emerges as a real-life hero. “The Quest” is from executive producers Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri (“The Amazing Race,” Profiles Television), executive producers Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming (Court Five), and executive producers Rob Eric and Michael Williams (Green Harbor Productions).
Toy Story Of Terror — From Disney•Pixar comes a spooky new tale featuring all of the favorite characters from the “Toy Story” films. What starts out as a fun road trip for the “Toy Story” gang takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate in this “Toy Story of Terror.” The cast of “Toy Story of Terror” includes Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Carl Weathers as Combat Carl/Combat Carl Jr., Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, Wallace Shawn as Rex and Kristen Schaal as Trixie. “Toy Story of Terror” is produced by Galyn Susman and directed by Angus MacLane. The special, from Disney•Pixar, will premiere on ABC in October 2013.
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.