*ABC has just announced a slew of programming changes for next fall, including a revolving door of Shonda Rhimes shows – one cancelled, one picked up.
Gone is “Off the Map,” the jungle-set medical drama starring Martin Henderson and Zach Gilford that struggled to find its footing on Wednesday nights after premiering in January. The freshman drama, from Rhimes and her protégé Jenna Bans, averaged 6.4 million viewers during its 13-episode season.
But ABC has added “Scandal,” the Rhimes drama formerly known as “Damage Control.” As seriously reported, the drama revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer (Kerry Washington) and her staff.
Lost’s Henry Ian Cusick co-stars as her right-hand man and Tony Goldwyn plays the president. It is based on the career of crisis management consultant Judy Smith, who serves alongside producers including Rhimes and Betsy Beers (Grey’s Anatomy).
Below, the rest of ABC’s new additions and cancellations, per the Hollywood Reporter:
A modern take on the 1970s series starring Annie Ilonzeh (Melrose Place), Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) and Rachael Taylor (Grey’s Anatomy) as Charlie’s (Robert Wagner) new Angels. The Miami-set drama, from Sony Pictures Television, is written by Smallville duo Alfred Gough and Miles Millar and produced by Nancy Juvonen (Whip It), Leonard Goldberg (the Charlie’s Angels features) and Drew Barrymore, who appeared in the big-screen reboot. Marcos Siega (The Vampire Diaries) directed the pilot. The project scored strong buzz throughout pilot season, with the benefit of its built-in franchise name.
Last Man Standing
The project centers on the former Home Improvement star, who is fighting for his manhood in a world increasingly dominated by women. Nancy Travis (So I Married an Axe Murderer) co-stars in the multicamera comedy from 20th Television. Jack Burditt (30 Rock) penned the pilot, with Marty Adelstein (Prison Break), Becky Clements and Shawn Levy (Date Night) on board as producers. Insiders believe the mutlicam Allen vehicle, which has had “lock” status for weeks, will launch a second ABC comedy block, likely on Tuesdays (Improvement’s old stomping ground). While it’s not Friends money, Allen didn’t come cheap, with two sources with knowledge of his deal suggesting he’ll be paid $220,000 per episode with a 7.5 percent backend (off adjusted gross).
From Sony, the sexy soap set in the 1960s focuses on stewardesses and pilots, some of whom live double lives as spies. Christina Ricci stars in her first series regular role in the drama written and produced by Jack Orman (ER). Also producing are Sid Ganis, Nancy Hult Ganies and Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), who helmed the pilot. Though there has been buzz about casting troubles and potential retooling, say insiders, both its Mad Men-esque world and the names attached were a selling point.
The a single-camera comedy from 20th TV centers on a Midwestern girl (Dreama Walker, The Good Wife) whose big-city dreams are dashed after her first week in New York, where she finds herself living with her worst nightmare (Krysten Ritter, Breaking Bad). James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) co-stars as himself in his first series comedy role. Nahnatchka Khan (American Dad) and Dave Hemingson (Traffic Light) penned the pilot and will produce along with Jeffrey Morton (Traffic Light). Jason Winer (Modern Family) helmed the pilot. The project has been considered a lock for some time, with several insiders giving Van Der Beek’s performance high marks. Another noted its status as one of 20th’s highest testing comedy pilots in years.
Good Christian Belles (formerly Good Christian Bitches)
The soap, which will inevitably be retitled, revolves around a former high school “mean girl” (Leslie Bibb, Popular) who returns home to Dallas after her marriage ends in scandal. The series, from ABC Studios, also stars Kristin Chenoweth (Glee) and Annie Potts (Designing Women). Robert Harling (Laws of Attraction), who penned the pilot, produces alongside Darren Star (Sex and the City) and Aaron Kaplan. Alan Poul (Six Feet Under) directed the pilot. The series is based on the book by Kim Gatlin. A lock from the beginning, the show dubbed “Desperate Housewives in Dallas” could be paired with Housewives, which currently occupies the Sunday block alongside (now-canceled) Brothers and Sisters.
The Count of Monte Cristo-inspired soap from Mike Kelley (Swingtown), centers on a woman (Emily VanCamp, Brothers and Sisters) who moves to the Hamptons. The ABC Studios pilot, which was directed by Phillip Noyce, counts Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey as executive producers. The project gained momentum internally in recent weeks, insiders tell THR.
Once Upon a Time
A fantasy drama that revolves around a woman (Jennifer Morrison, How I Met Your Mother) who, after a boy who claims to be her son shows up, is drawn into a town where fairy tales might be real. Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love) co-stars as Snow White in a cast that also includes Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe) and Josh Dallas (Thor) as Prince Charming. Lost’s Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz penned the pilot and will produce alongside Steve Pearlman (V) and Mark Mylod (Shameless), who directed the pilot from ABC’s sister studio.
A stylized project that follows a crew through the Amazon in search of a missing adventurer. Eloise Mumford (Lone Star) stars in the ABC Studios drama written by Michael Green (Kings) and Michael R. Perry (Persons Unknown). Executive producers include Oren Peli and Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity), Darryl Frank and Justin Flavey (United States of Tara), Zack Estrin (No Ordinary Family) and Steven Schneider (Paranormal Activity). Jaume Collet-Serra directed the pilot, which was shot in Puero Rico. There was buzz in recent weeks about the high quality of the show’s footage.
The single-camera comedy from Sony stars Zachary Knighton and Elisha Cuthbert. With a throng of comedies jumping into the fray the spring, Endings managed to cut through and win some critical praise.
The rookie crime drama starring Michael Imperioli has been preempted several times during its 18-episode run. From ABC Studios, it averaged 7.6 million viewers in its Tuesdays timeslot.
Since its February premiere, Sony’s Matthew Perry comedy has averaged 7.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. It has neither Friends critical status nor viewership, though few expected it to. For his part, Perry announced earlier this week that he’d be entering rehab.
No Ordinary Family
The network cut the order for the Greg Berlanti freshman drama from 22 to 20 episodes in February after the ABC Studios Michael Chiklis and Julie Benz starrer stumbled late in the season after losing half its premiere episode viewership. It averaged 6.6 million viewers for the season, according to Nielsen.
Brothers and Sisters
Though the ensemble drama still had loyal viewers in its recently wrapped fifth season, it no longer was the buzz or ratings draw it used to be. Multiple insiders had suggested this coming season would be the aging — and increasingly pricey — drama’s last, with whispers of a truncated season to tie up story lines.
The second season of the alien-invasion remake starring Elizabeth Mitchell dipped to 6.9 million viewers, on average, reports Nielsen, though fans blame ABC’s scheduling.
ABC is scheduled to unveil its complete slate to Madison Avenue buyers on Tuesday in New York.