/// ABC Overhauls Fall Schedule

May 15, 2013  |  Media Week

In what has become a somewhat hoary upfront tradition , Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday took the stage at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall and gleefully skewered the broadcast TV business. “Let’s call the upfronts what it is: Throwing a bunch of shit at a wall to see what sticks. And guess what? You guys are the wall,” Kimmel told the assembled media buyers at the tail end of ABC’s upfront presentation. As he’s done for the past 11 years, the late-night host teed off on the network’s rivals, likening Fox to the Titanic and suggesting that only a lobbying effort to impose immigration reform would save NBC from an advancing Univision. Of course, ABC received its fair share of abuse, as Kimmel reminded buyers that they were on the verge of investing “$4 billion in a network that rolled a 400-pound comedian off a diving board last week.” (Later, he would return to the bellyflop that was the celebrity diving competition series, Splash, suggesting that ABC would drain the pool next season and rename the show Splat.) For all that, ABC actually assembled its most promising prime time schedule in years, introducing a horde of new dramas and comedies designed to free it from broadcast’s ratings basement. (While no one directly acknowledged that ABC will once again finish last among the Big Four in the race for adults 18-49—entertainment president Paul Lee instead focused on the intangibles, describing ABC as the “No. 1 brand in network television”—the proof was there for all to see in the radical reconfiguration of its nightly lineup.) With only two freshman shows returning in the fall, ABC has plenty of opportunities to try and reinvent itself. Tuesday nights have been utterly transformed, and over the course of the season, the network will introduce no fewer than a dozen new scripted series. Chief among these is Josh Wheedon’s much-anticipated Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. , which leads off Tuesdays in the 8 p.m. slot. Born of the $1.5 billion Avengers theatrical, S.H.I.E.L.D. should bow to monster ratings if ABC cross-promotes the absolute hell out of it on sibling net ESPN

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ABC Overhauls Fall Schedule

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