ABC, hellbent on making news during this otherwise quiet upfront announcement week, just made some more: “Scandal” will be held until the midseason next fall.
As such, ABC’s fall schedule — the network’s first under new entertainment chief Channing Dungey — will effectively break up the all-Shondaland Thursday lineup. The new 9 p.m. series is “Notorious,” a legal drama with Piper Perabo.
While ABC, which released the schedule Tuesday, gave no reason for the delay, “Scandal” star Kerry Washington is pregnant with her second child. Two years ago when she was also expecting, she told the Hollywood Reporter that the process of taping the show while pregnant had become an ordeal: “All of last season was a challenge for me, on a few levels. For one thing, I was going through this amazing physical transition, this physical journey of having a baby, that my character was not going through. And I work very physically. What I do is often grounded in the body.”
The network canceled several major series last week (including just-ended “Castle”) as part of a major housecleaning. With the surprise “Scandal” move, the cleaning continues.
Meanwhile, ABC is finally getting into the “musical event” business, with a three-hour production of “Dirty Dancing.” A special honoring Muhammad Ali is also planned.
How to read the “Scandal” announcement? (An exact return date in 2017 was not given.) Besides the obvious Washington pregnancy possibility, fans can also reasonably take either a glass half-full approach or half-empty one.
On the half-full side, this is a good move for the show, even a vote of confidence, as it rides to the rescue next year when another drama inevitably stumbles.
The half-empty: This hit has tumbled off the rails this season with some wild storylines (or repetitive ones), while ratings have softened. The show needs a break to regroup, figure out how to move forward, and may even benefit from a shorter season.
Take your pick. Possibly both theories are true.
Monday “Dancing With the Stars” (8); “Conviction” (10), the new Hayley Atwell (“Agent Carter”) drama, about an attorney investigating wrongful convictions
Tuesday “The Middle” (8); “American Housewife” (8:30), a sitcom formerly (also unfortunately) called “The Fattest Housewife in Westport,” with Katy Mixon of “Mike and Molly” as an imperfect mother among a crowd of more perfect ones in this Connecticut suburb; “Fresh Off the Boat” (9); “The Real O’Neals” (9:30); “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (10)
Wednesday “The Goldbergs” (8); “Speechless” (8:30), with Minnie Driver, as a mom of a boy with special needs; “Modern Family” (9); “Black-ish” (9:30); “Designated Survivor” (10), the Kiefer Sutherland drama about a cabinet member who becomes president after an attack
Thursday “Grey’s Anatomy” (8); “Notorious,” with Perabo, and “inspired by the true-life” stories of attorney Mark Geragos; “How to Get Away With Murder” (10)
Friday “Last Man Standing” (8); “Dr. Ken” (8:30); “Shark Tank” (9); “20/20” (10)
Saturday “Saturday Night College Football” (8)
Sunday “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (7); “Once Upon a Time” (8); “Secrets and Lies” (9); “Quantico” (10)