A thriller from David E. Kelley and a comedy from Kari Lizer are ABC’s two new scripted series for fall.
Otherwise, the network renewed 19 series as, like other networks, it looks for ways to shore up its lineup as the pandemic prevents live-action production from resuming for the time being.
“At a time when we are physically apart and shared experiences matter more than ever, these shows will build on the strategy that has made us No. 1 this season – bringing people together, creating cultural moments, and making content that entertains and inspires across generations and demographics,” said Karey Burke, president, ABC Entertainment, in a statement. “Our top priority now is to work with our studio partners to ensure a safe return to production so that we can build on the strong momentum of a winning lineup with measured bets on new series that will invigorate our air and continue to deliver the quality programming that our viewers have come to expect and love.”
Kelley’s new series, Big Sky, is a thriller starring Ryan Phillippe and Kylie Bunbury as private detectives Cody Holt and Cassie Dewell who are forced to team up with Holt’s ex-wife, Jenny (Viking’s Kathryn Winnick), to find a pair of kidnapped sisters. The case quickly evolves into something much bigger when the three realize that several women have disappeared in the remote Montana mountains. The series is based on books by C.J. Box, and is executive produced by Kelley, Box, Ross Fineman, Matthew Gross and Paul McGuigan. It’s produced by A+E Studios in association with 20th Century Fox Television.
Call Your Mother comes from Lizer, who wrote and executive produced Julia Louis-Dreyfus-starrer The New Adventures of Old Christine. It follows empty-nester mom, Jean (Kyra Sedwick), who follows her adult children across the country and reinserts herself into their lives. The show is produced by Sony Pictures Television alongside 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios.
Among the newly renewed series are American Housewife, The Bachelor, Black-ish, The Conners, Dancing with the Stars, The Goldbergs, A Million Little Things, Mixed-ish, The Rookie, Shark Tank, Stumptown, 20/20 and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Already renewed were America’s Funniest Home Videos, American Idol, The Bachelorette, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19. Earlier, the network picked up alternative series, Supermarket Sweep, starring former Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones.
Excluding sports, ABC finished the broadcast season number-one primetime’s key demographic of adults 18-49 for the first time in four years, averaging a 1.1 rating/6 share in the demo. That effectively tied NBC and Fox, both of whom averaged a 1.1 /5 in the demographic. ABC led among viewers in the demo, averaging 1.452 million viewers.