Tag: american crime

How to fix ABC in 5 easy steps [My Take]

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As you probably all know by now, ABC is in trouble with two of their new shows, Notorious & Conviction, not surprisingly starting poorly, with no hope for potential recoveries over the next few weeks. They can’t even count on a good word of mouth: they were not well-liked by both critics and curious viewers. The question now is whether the network will let them stay on the schedule until the remainder of their initial order (which consists of 13 episodes), trim it to 10 or even less, or cancel them altogether with an immediate effect. Since ABC didn’t order that many new shows for the entire season overall, they will probably stick with them through the fall, at least.

Not everything is this dark for ABC though: Kiefer Sutherland-starrer Designated Survivor looks like a hit with very decent live numbers and huge DVR; and comedy Speechless fits perfectly with the ABC Funny line-up alongside The Goldbergs & Modern Family. American Housewife has yet to start but stuck between The Middle & Fresh Off The Boat, it’s expected to make decent numbers.

While making too many changes too soon is never a good idea, ABC has to make some anyway so they can stay competitive before starting anew next season, with the first shows developed by the new regime. And by the look of things, Channing Dungey shouldn’t rely too much on procedurals: that’s simply not ABC’s brand, even if they’re more profitable when they actually work.

 

1/ MOVE “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” RIGHT AFTER “GREY’S ANATOMY”

Unless ABC can start the 6th season of Scandal sooner than expected -I doubt it because of Kerry Washington’s pregnancy- they can’t let their best drama lead-in –Grey’s Anatomy– go to waste (Notorious). Since HTGAWM has a hard time at 10 with its live numbers -the +3 & +7 are still potent- it wouldn’t hurt to move it to 9 where it can do a little bit better. The more they wait, the less the move will be effective. They can put Notorious at 10 or…

 

2/ FINALLY SAVE QUANTICO !

Is it too late so save the L+7 blockbuster? Probably. At least, the show helps keeping the lights on at 10 on sundays, where anything new would crash and burn. And that’s probably why they decided to keep it that way this season. BUT as numbers suggest, Quantico is not dead. Not yet. And it’s still an asset for the network. Giving it a push at 10 on thursdays, which was not possible when the TGIT was still a thing, is now very much possible. It probably won’t rise that much, but any rise is good to take, even for a few weeks! Justice for Quantico!

 

3/ PAIR THE BACHELOR WITH STILL STAR-CROSSED

They’d make a perfect march, wouldn’t they? Of course, ABC will be tempted to launch the Shondaland’s Romeo & Juliet soap on their TGIT night come spring, but it certainly would be a better fit with The Bachelor, which is now, by the way, a better lead-in than Dancing With The Stars on the demo. They could also put it on sundays after Once Upon A Time, and it’d be fine but not ideal. If ABC wants a try at another hit this season, they know what to do…

 

4/ GIVE A REAL CHANCE TO TIME AFTER TIME

Don’t make the same mistake you did with Forever, ABC. There are still very angry fans out there, and we can’t really blame them. What you did with Forever made sense somehow but you could have handled things better and give it a push. Give Time After Time -which is not that different tonally- a real chance to shine and find its audience, even though it’s not produced in-house but by Warner Bros. once again. And what does it mean precisely? Don’t hide it somewhere at 10. Don’t put it after Dancing With The Stars for example. It wouldn’t be a good fit. Don’t waste it on fridays. But you’re not FOX, I guess you would never do that, right? So what? Yes, it’s a difficult timeslot but sundays at 9 seems to be the best option. Once Upon A Time is not a good lead-in anymore, but at least Time After Time is compatible with it. Doing the same numbers or slightly better would be a victory of some sort.

 

5/ GIVE A PRESTIGE FEEL TO YOUR SUNDAYS

Meaning doing this (either during the winter hiatus -if there’s one- or this spring)…

8- IMAGINARY MARY / DOWNWARD DOG

9- AMERICAN CRIME

10- WHEN WE RISE

I know most of you will call me crazy but it’s all about changing the narrative! Let me explain. Can we agree that ABC is dead on sunday for multiple reasons (football on NBC, no sports before 8 to support the night like this is the case on CBS, The Walking Dead on AMC… and of course shows which are not Desperate Housewives)? Yes we can. What if ABC self-proclaimed sunday night as their “prestige night” by scheduling there the shows that critics give much praise to but viewers don’t massively go to? The only “veteran” American Crime could be put at the center, at 9. Right before that, they have two midseason comedies waiting in the wings with a real cable feel: Imaginary Mary & Downward Dog. Make it a combo. And put When We Rise, a period drama about the LGBT movement, at 10. ABC could use the Oscars to promote the four of them heavily for a March launch. Of course, the numbers won’t be impressive but at least ABC could proudly turn a bad night into a prestige night where numbers don’t matter that much.

 

What’s your opinion? Feel free to comment!

ABC 2016/2017 Schedule / TRAILERS & THOUGHTS

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MONDAYS

8- DANCING WITH THE STARS

9- DANCING WITH THE STARS

10- CONVICTION

TUESDAYS

8- THE MIDDLE / AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE

9- FRESH OFF THE BOAT / THE REAL O’NEALS

10- AGENTS OF SHIELD

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WESNESDAYS

8- THE GOLDBERGS / SPEECHLESS

9- MODERN FAMILY / BLACKISH

10- DESIGNATED SURVIVOR

 


notroois

 

THURSDAYS

8- GREY’S ANATOMY

9- NOTORIOUS

10- HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER


FRIDAYS

8- LAST MAN STANDING / DR KEN

9- THE SHARK TANK

10- 20/20

 

SUNDAYS

8- ONCE UPON A TIME

9- SECRETS & LIES (Midseason TIME AFTER TIME)

10- QUANTICO

 

timeaftertime

 

 

MIDSEASON

TIME AFTER TIME

STILL STAR-CROSSED

SCANDAL

AMERICAN CRIME

WHEN WE RISE (february 2017)

THE CATCH

DOWNARD DOG

IMAGINARY MARY





THOUGHTS

What’s good:

  • EVERYTHING is right where it should be. It’s almost exactly the fantasy schedule I made and explained (HERE). So yeah, I’m very happy with this smart and solid plan.

What’s bad:

  • Nothing. Except the fact that The Real O’Neals could have gotten a better timeslot in order to improve. It’ll be more complicated at 9.30.

ABC | 2016/2017 – Fantasy Schedule

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Those are predictions based on feelings and ABC final schedule may end up very differently! It will be announced on Tuesday. Stay tuned and until then, enjoy the read!

Dramas renewed: GREY’S ANATOMY | ONCE UPON A TIME | SCANDAL | AGENTS OF SHIELD | HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER | AMERICAN CRIME | SECRETS & LIES | QUANTICO | THE CATCH

New dramas ordered: DESIGNATED SURVIVOR | WHEN WE RISE | CONVICTION | NOTORIOUS | TIME AFTER TIME | STILL STAR-CROSSED

Comedies renewed: MODERN FAMILY | THE MIDDLE | LAST MAN STANDING | THE GOLDBERGS | BLACKISH | FRESH OFF THE BOAT | THE REAL O’NEALS | DR KEN

New comedies ordered: SPEECHLESS | DOWNWARD DOG | THE SECOND HOUSEWIFE IN WESTPORT | IMAGINARY MARY

 

ABC new president Channing Dungey didn’t prove to be very greedy (or satisfied?) in the drama department for her first pilot season with only 4 pilots getting picked-up + straight-to-series Designated Survivor. Which is even more surprising when you take into account the fact that both veterans Castle & Nashville have been cancelled. Last year, they ordered six new dramas. On the comedy side, they’re even with 4 orders, meaning a new hour of comedies could be added in the schedule. It will be an important year for ABC after the 2015/2016 disaster but let’s be realistic: it will take time before things look good again. Will the new schedule be conservative or a bit more ambitious with unexpected moves? There’s a lot of opportunities, especially with Scandal not coming back in the fall –apparently– which could lead towards a revamped TGIT. Here are my predictions.

 

MONDAYS

DANCING WITH THE STARS

DANCING WITH THE STARS

CONVICTION

Dancing With The Stars is not the hit it once was but stays very relevant on mondays against The Voice. There’s no reason to change that. The interesting thing though is that The Bachelor is stronger now in the demo when it takes over the slot between two editions. It’s one of their strongest lead-in, actually. During 8 years, only Castle aired at 10pm. Now that it’s gone, there are two options: launching a new drama or moving an older show and giving it a boost. Procedural Conviction looks like the safer bet. BUT airing Secrets & Lies season 2 then lauching something new behind The Bachelor is a convicing idea too. And what about The Catch? ABC renewed it against all odds, and with its older-skewing, a spot after DTWS would make sense. That’s a tough one. I’ll go with Conviction anyway.

 

TUESDAYS

THE MIDDLE / THE REAL O’NEALS

FRESH OFF THE BOAT / SECOND FATTEST

AGENTS OF SHIELD

Comedies are among ABC’s strongest assets right now: it’s time to finally expand to 2 hours on Tuesdays. But adding two new shows at 9 is not the best way to go. Weakened on wednesdays but still potent The Middle could move at 8 to anchor the night, followed by a compatible comedy that needs a boost: recent entry The Real O’Neals. At 9, Fresh Off The Boat can take the lead, followed by a new show, preferably Second Fattest Housewife in Wesport. At 10, Agents of SHIELD can die peacefully. ABC could also dump it to sundays but I don’t see it happening yet, sadly.

 

WEDNESDAYS

THE GOLDBERGS / SPEECHLESS

MODERN FAMILY / BLACKISH

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR

The Goldbergs is strong enough to anchor the wednesdays comedy block and help launching a new show. Speechless is the best contender for that, it’s very compatible, totally on-brand and it has potential for a long run. Modern Family & Blackish can stay together. I have the feeling Blackish could totally collapse in another timeslot. At 10, it’s go big or go home now that Nashville is gone for good. Some may argue it’s a waste not using Designated Survivor for a 9pm slot but quite frankly, as good as it looks, I’m not sure it’s such a good fit with ABC’s lineup. That timeslot is less risky. If the numbers are good, the affiliates will be happy –which is important– and ABC can give it a better exposition for season 2.

 

THURSDAYS – TGIT

GREY’S ANATOMY

NOTORIOUS

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

What ABC will do with the TGIT is unpredictable, due to Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. It has not been confirmed that Scandal will air on midseason but it’s talked about and at this point it’s a safe bet. It opens many doors and it’s hard to tell which one ABC will choose. Designated Survivor is a debatable possibility. It would make sense if they want to make noise BUT very dangerous. Too dangerous in my opinion. It’s not a good fit at all with Grey’s Anatomy. Thursday should remain female-oriented. It makes Conviction tempting and it would be an interesting pair, but Notorious is definitely the most logical option. It should satisfy Scandal fans AND give a boost to How To Get Away With Murder if it works. Scandal could take over when the Viola Davis-starrer ends or sooner if Notorious flops.

FRIDAYS

LAST MAN STANDING / DR KEN

THE SHARK TANK

20/20

Why fixing something that doesn’t need to be fixed?

 

SUNDAYS

ONCE UPON A TIME

SECRETS & LIES

QUANTICO

Sunday is another big question mark. Once Upon A Time is not strong anymore but moving it would only make it worse. Delayed Secrets & Lies should finally air at 9, where season 1 managed to get okay numbers. Once it’s gone –it’s only 10 episodes– ABC has Still Star-Crossed & Time After Time as possibilities I would go with the first one. I have no idea what they can do with Time After Time but it needs to be taken care of properly, it has a big potential. At 10, I’m sad to tell that Quantico should stay here. ABC wasted it there for the first season, and it’s too late now to move it to another night. New viewers won’t jump on the occasion and those who are used to watch the show in +3 or +7 will probaby keep doing the same, if they don’t give up on it. It makes me sad but that’s the way it is.

 

MIDSEASON

SCANDAL / THE CATCH / STILL STAR-CROSSED / TIME AFTER TIME / AMERICAN CRIME / WHEN WE RISE / DOWNWARD DOG / IMAGINARY MARY

 

Any thoughts? Feel free to comment.

 

SEE FOX 2016/2017 FANTASY SCHEDULE

SEE NBC 2016/2017 FANTASY SCHEDULE

Is Felicity Huffman joining John Ridley’s pilot “Presence” cast?

 

UPDATE: Deadline confirms she will be a guest-star in the pilot.

 

It seems so, looking at this tweet… It wouldn’t be such a surprise since she’s already one of the stars of John Ridley’s American Crime for ABC, and the show is not in a very good position to get a third season due to low ratings (but it’s more than amazing guys, just watch it already!).

As a reminder, Presence is about Presence Foster, a former Army veteran, who finds herself interacting with a widely divergent and highly colorful cross-section of Los Angeles as she unintentionally begins a career as an unlicensed (unlic) Private Investigator. Felicity Huffman may has been cast as  Duchess Avedon, a very rich woman who lives in a big mansion and who happens to be Presence’s ex-mother in law. In the script, she does make an impression! A confirmation should come shortly.

READ OUR PILOT REVIEW

 

Presence (ABC) pilot preview: Meet Olivia Pope’s long-lost thug sister!

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Created and directed by John Ridley (American Crime, 12 Years a Slave, Third Watch). Produced by Michael MacDonald (American Crime, Xena: Warrior Princess). For ABC, ABC Studios & Stearn Castle. 53 pages.

Description: Presence Foster, a former Army veteran, finds herself interacting with a widely divergent and highly colorful cross-section of Los Angeles as she unintentionally begins a career as an unlicensed (unlic) Private Investigator…

With Stephanie Sigman (Spectre, Narcos, American Crime), Rick Gonzales (Rush, Reaper), Marcus Anderson

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ABC is doing something really right and very smart with talented writer, director and producer John Ridley through the deal they signed with him at ABC Studios. First, they gave him the greatest freedom to do exactly the series he wanted to. It became American Crime, one of the best, if not the best, network show on the air right now, low rated but impressive at every level. Against all odds, they even gave it a second season, which is even better than the first one by the way, a tour de force. And that is called keeping someone happy. Then, they challenged him with creating a detective drama, a genre ABC is not renowned for (at the notable exception of Castle, which is close to the end). But one he can be proud of. One that makes a difference. It is Presence. His next task? Developing a Marvel show. We still don’t have a clue about the character he’s writing for -some chatter say it’s Miss Marvel, ABC won’t confirm- and readers, that is called squeezing someone dry. They paid a shitload of money to get him and they won’t let it go to waste, obviously. And we’re all winners in this. Because like American Crime, Presence looks like something that requires all of our attention – and praise.

I know what you’re thinking, especially since I had the exact same thought when the project was announced: “yet another cop show *yawn*”. Well, no. There is just one cop in this show and it’s not our heroin. It’s Mike McKay, an officer from the LAPD, described as “a guy who knows where the gym is located‘. And that’s it! The other characters are not cops. This isn’t about catching bad guys. In fact, the people who hire Presence for an investigation are the bad guys. Because even bad guys need help, right? And she has no problem helping them, as long as money is involved. Presence is not your typical detective. First, she’s not licensed. Which makes a real difference. Second, she’s a bad ass. She fights like no other. She drives like crazy. She’s not afraid of anything anymore, or so it seems. She knows what is war, what is death, what is suffering. She lost family and friends. She’s fierce, she’s smart, she’s funny, she’s sexy, she knows how to stay classy in any circumstances. And she has a complicated past that will be interesting to explore in due time. She was a bit of a thug. She was this close to go prison. To be honest, Presence Foster makes me think of Olivia Pope from Scandal, if Olivia Pope had been raised on the streets and then had military training. She certainly fits with ABC’s wide range of heroins, from Meredith Grey (Grey’s Anatomy) to Alex Parrish (Quantico). She also drinks wine alone at night. There is no other way but to love her at first sight.

So yes, there’s an investigation and there will be one in every episode. Deal with it! But the whole fun -‘cos this pilot is really fun- lays on the way she investigates, the way she moves, the way she kicks ass and irritates and charms everyone, both at the same time. But she’s not the only reason why Presence is a cool show. The characters who surround her are all pretty convincing too. There’s Tre, her gay brother from another mother she only met 4 months ago and with whom she tries to have a real relationship based on trust. Which is not easy for him, trusting her. Their dynamic is engaging. Then there’s Manny, an ex-con who tries to be good and keeps Presence on the right path. Here again, that’s not an easy thing to do. You also have Jas, a near-Eastern woman that has history with Presence, and not a good one. Last but not least: Duchess Avedon. Yes, this is her name. She’s a very rich woman who lives in a big mansion and she happens to be Presence’s ex-mother in law. She does make an impression. Oh and let’s not forget Presence’s car. A black Marauder. She’s part of her story. A character in itself. As his her apartment. And music. Music is so important in the pilot. The plan is to hear some Sade, some Nina Simone… Good vibes. Classy stuff.

What I love about this script is how much John Ridley knows what he’s doing and what he wants. He has a real vision. He’s an author. He may be on a mission -finding a successor for Castle– but he’s not just here for the paycheck. It feels like he contemplated what’s been done before in the detective genre on TV to find what new he could bring to the table. And the answer is diversity (most of the characters are not white), some sort of feminism (think about it: most of cop shows are led by a male character or a duet of a man and a woman but not by a woman alone), a mix of a glamourous Los Angeles we’re used to see and another one, more dangerous and dirty, that networks tend to forget it even exists. And that’s exactly what Presence is: a stylish mix between elements from classical detective dramas and more serious cable shows like The Shield. Now that I think about it, it’s a bit like Jennifer Lopez’ Shades of Blue on NBC, but more sophisticated, sharper and definitely funnier

Presence is a cable show ingeniously disguised as a network show. And that’s how you try to fill the gap between those two types of television. It’s riskier than doing yet another reimagining of MacGyver or Nancy Drew, and we can only hope it pays off. It’s exactly the show FOX would have dreamed of to pair with Empire. They share some DNA. Instead, they got Rosewood. Which is the exact opposite of Presence. I’m not sure it can be billed as “the new Castle” for ABC but it has definitely what it takes to make an impression. 

Shots Fired (FOX) pilot preview: A lesser American Crime

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Also known as Indictment. Created & directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Beyond the Lights, The Secret Life of Bees, Love & Basketball). Co-created by Reggie Rock-Bythewood (Notorious BIG, Players, New York Undercover). Produced by Francie Calfo (Empire) & Brian Grazer (24, Friday Night Lights, Gang Related, Arrested Development). For FOX, 20th Century FOX Television, Imagine Television & Undisputed Cinema. 63 pages.

Description: A black officer shoots a white teen in a racially charged Tennessee town. Considering the unusual circumstances of this case, two out-of-town black prosecutors are brought in to sort through the evidence and find out what really happened. As the community grows anxious and the country is buzzing, Preston Terry and Ashe Bell must keep personal bias and suspicions to themselves to seek the truth…

With Sanaa Lathan (Nip/Tuck, Boss, Family Guy, Alien Vs Predator, Out of Time), Stephan James (Selma), Helen Hunt (Mad About You, As Good As It Gets, Twister), Richard Dreyfuss (Weeds, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Stephen Moyer (True Blood), Conor Leslie (Klondike, Other Space), Aisha Hinds (Under The Dome, True Blood), Tristan Wilds (The Wire, 90210DeWanda Wise

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I’ve just finished my American Crime season 1 binge-watching when I’m writing this article. So, sorry if this brilliant show comes up a lot during the following review but the truth is they share a lot and even though Shots Fired is a decent pilot script, it can’t compare to American Crime‘s. In any way. That’s said. The FOX “event series” as they call it -meaning it’s written as a miniseries but it could get a second one with a new story if it works- is described by the proud network as a “mystery-thriller drama”, but I don’t think it really fits with what I’ve read. It’s a cop show, mostly. Yeah, it doesn’t sound as exciting but it’s closer to the truth. And a few very serialized cop shows like The Killing are great so it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad and generic. Mystery implicates surprising plot twists and twisted characters. Not that kind of show. Thriller means suspense and action. Not that kind of show either.

At its core, Shots Fired tells the story of a detective investigation led by two very different people, whose main common thread is to be… highly desirable. And it doesn’t take long before they start being flirtatious. Yeah, it was obvious from the pitch it was going to happen. At least, they don’t try to hide it. Just a few pages and we’re right in the middle of it. Well… It took 9 seasons for Mulder & Scully. Why do I talk about those two beloved characters? Because they’re back and because when you look closely at the pitch of Shots Fired, it’s like The X-Files, without the monsters or any supernatural events. Except, maybe, the monsters are humans hiding in this town.

American Crime is an anomaly on ABC. It’s a cable show from start to finish. Shots Fired is very networky. It means it gets a better chance to work, especially if FOX decides to pair it with Empire, since they share a producer and most of all a potential afro-american audience with two black leads and a racially-charged topic. And I’m okay with it, don’t get me wrong. It’s cool to have a fair entertaining show that treats a subject which is resonating with the news, with America. Especially when the next presidential election is coming. Oh but.. FOX means… FOX News. And FOX News means Republican propaganda. Means Donald Trump! Means misinformation and guns for all. And suddenly I’m afraid the show could be instrumental for the campaign. And that’s a scary thought… But NOTHING in the pilot script resembled any sort of propaganda. And the writers are black themselves. It’s safe to assume it’s all gonna be OK.

Shots Fired tries to be realistic mostly, and that’s where I have a little disapointment: the script is not detailed to the point where you can really feel the atmosphere of this little town in Tennessee smothering you, like Modesto did in American Crime. There’s not the same raw emotion either. They want us to be comfortable in front of our TV. And when you decide to talk about such a sensitive subject, making people comfortable is not the best way to make your point, in my opinion. It should be a punch in the face. It should make you feel pain, you should be able to sense the despair of the population. Let’s take an example: there’s the mother of the victim. We briefly met her during one of those classical interrogation scenes we’ve seen a thousand times before in every cop show. There’s no emotion coming out of it. At least on the page. It’s lazy. And that’s a real problem to me. Then you think about Felicity Huffman’s character in American Crime, also the mother of the victim, and it’s definitely another level… But it’s not fair to compare words with acting. That being said, as a network show, it works. It’s efficient. You want to see more. It’s a good place to start and you can only hope it’s gonna get more ambitious along the way, more complex, more subtle. One can dream, hum?

With Shots Fired, the real question is not “Is it any good?” but “Is it up to the challenge?”. And I really fear it’s not. It needs to be ‘cos it’s serious stuff here, it’s politics. You can’t fuck this up. It would be a shame. It’s too important these days. This love story they’re forcing between the leads doesn’t reassure me at all, honestly. So okay, you understood me: Shots Fired is not American Crime. Never will be. It’s not great but it’s not bad either. Let the writers call the shots. We’ll see what they’re capable of.

 

NEXT: DESIGNATED SURVIVOR (ABC)