If you’ve been trying to keep straight the airing pattern for ABC’s long-suffering Tuesday comedies Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B—- In Apt. 23, don’t bother; it’s been a mess. ABC just made it a …
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Do shows like Don’t Trust the B— In Apartment 23, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and the Fox series New Girl mean we’re in some kind of women’s renaissance in network TV? At this morning’s TCA session on Apartment 23, creator/executive producer Nahnatchka Khan concluded, well, maybe. But in an afternoon panel featuring producers from ABC’s successful Wednesday night comedy block, the female showrunners of The Middle, Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, pointed out that they’ve been funny for some time now — behind the scenes. “It’s exciting, but we always thought women had funny things to say,” said Heisler. “I think Tina Fey — and us — poked a little hole that allowed for this. We’ve been doing it for a while, and we’re glad to have company.” The Middle is a family show, not a snarky sitcom about a bitch or an emotionally unstable female roommate. But after the panel, Heisler said the show will continue to borrow as guest stars the veterans of that classic comedy about the “girl” who’s gonna make it after all, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Harking back to his Lou Grant character, Ed Asner will portray the editor of the local paper.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s TCA panel on Don’t Trust The B— In Apartment 23, creator/executive producer Nahnatchka Khan said the show is different from other new “roommate” comedies like CBS’ 2 Broke Girls because one of the roommates is a total bitch. The bitch (Krysten Ritter’s Chloe) is the B— of the title. It’s a word ABC entertainment president Paul Lee said earlier in the day could not be included in the title of a network show, even though it might work for cable. The new series — from American Dad executive producer Khan with David Hemingson and Jeff Morton — is about a sweet girl from the heartland (Dreama Walker’s June) forced by circumstances to bunk in with a wild roommate who doesn’t mind having sex on top of a birthday cake.
At ABC’s TCA executive session, president Paul Lee announced that new midseason comedy Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23 will launch on April 11 on Wednesday after Modern Family. Shonda Rhimes’ new drama Scandal will also premiere April 5 in the post-Grey’s Anatomy Thursday 10 PM slot. “We are using our No. 1 drama to push the launch of Scandal, and we are using our No. 1 comedy to push the launch of Don’t Trust The B—,” Lee said. Don’t Trust will succeed Happy Endings, which will have ended its sophomore run, while Scandal will take over Private Practice, which will get a four-week trial after Dancing With The Stars. There is still no slot for Cougar Town, through Lee hinted that they “have an idea” where the third-year comedy will go. Its tentative return date is in March. “I think when we launch it, we’ll bring a big strong message that we love that show,” Lee said. As for Cougar Town‘s long-term prospects, Lee said it factors into a “dream” he has about one day bringing together the “group of young irreverent comedies” the network has in Happy Endings, Cougar Town and the upcoming Apartment 23. Back in May, ABC announced plans to extend its new Tuesday 8-9 PM comedy block to 10 PM between the two cycles of Dancing With The Stars, with Cougar Town and Apartment 23 taking over the Dancing result show. But the network dropped the plan following the breakout success of Fox’s New Girl in the Tuesday 9 PM slot, Lee said after the panel. Lee also talked about ABC’s strategy of staggering its fall and midseason launches. “Maybe I’m slightly in the cable model, but my job is not to launch a week’s television, my job is to bring great television and spend a year launching it.”
Other highlights from ABC’s executive session: