In fourth place and looking for an escape route this fall, ABC will do what commercial broadcast networks have done pretty much since the tube was invented: Turn to a hitmaker. To that end, the network will hand over its entire Thursday prime-time schedule to Shonda Rhimes, one of its most reliable showrunners since Aaron Spelling ruled at the network.
As the current reigning queen of the prime-time soap, Rhimes will have three series on Thursday night starting in September -- "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal" and her new series, "How to Get Away With Murder," which stars Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis. This kind of dominance on one night is not merely unusual, but quite possibly unprecedented, especially on a Thursday night. (Separately, Rhimes signed a four-year extension at ABC, the trades reported yesterday.)
"Scandal" is also moving an hour earlier on Thursday and "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." will air an hour later on Tuesday, but for the most part, ABC's returning shows are staying pretty well in place.
Here's the fall lineup:
MONDAY: "Dancing With the Stars" (8 p.m.); "Castle" (10).
TUESDAY: "Selfie" (8), about a woman Eliza Dooley (Karen Gillan) who is obsessed with her huge online following, and turns to a marketing guru (John Cho) to teach her how to find real friends; "Manhattan Love Story" (8:30), a rom-com about the "unfiltered thoughts" men and women have about each other; "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (9); "Forever" (10), about a New York medical examiner Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) who is immortal -- and his partner, Det. Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza), who is not.
WEDNESDAY: "The Middle" (8); "The Goldbergs" (8:30); "Modern Family" (9); "Black-ish" (9:30), about Dre (Anthony Anderson), his dad (Laurence Fishburne), Dre's wife (Tracee Ellis Ross) and their kids -- all trying to assimilate in the 'burbs; "Nashville" (10).
THURSDAY: "Grey's Anatomy" (8); "Scandal" (9); "How to Get Away With Murder" (10), about a professor (Davis) and her law students, who get entangled in a murder.
FRIDAY: "Last Man Standing" (8); "Cristela" (8:30), about a Mexican-American law student (Cristela Alonzo) on the cusp of landing a job as an intern at a fancy law firm; "Shark Tank" (9); "20/20" (10).
SATURDAY: College football.
SUNDAY: "America's Funniest Home Videos" (7); "Once Upon a Time" (8); "Resurrection" (9); "Revenge" (10).