Tag: downward dog

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


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.



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…



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!



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…



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.



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




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



























10- 20/20















WHEN WE RISE (february 2017)





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 Comedy Pilots ranked



ABC has a lot to do in the drama department to improve from this terrible year, but comedy-wise they are more than okay. Modern Family is not the hit it once was, but its performances are still pretty solid. The Goldbergs is strong enough now to anchor the 8pm slot on wednesdays. Blackish is doing okay, but could/should do better. And The Middle is aging –on the demo– but aging well. It should live at least two more years. Fresh Off The Boat is doing okay-ish on tuesdays and on a dead night for ABC helps keeping the lights on. The Real O’Neals has a good retention behind Fresh Off The Boat and is worth a renewal based on the quality of the first episodes. Plus, it’s produced in-house. They should give it a chance to grow. Last Man Standing is fine on fridays while Dr Ken is, as expected, a perfect match and should continue. The Muppets is DEAD. There’s no way this once promising show gets renewed. And Uncle Buck is still waiting for an airdate… About Galavant, it’s pretty much dead. And it’s a pity. But ABC has been patient with this one. It will never become something, let’s be real.

If ABC renews Modern Family, The Middle, The Goldbergs, Blackish, Fresh Off The Boat, The Real O’Neals, Last Man Standing & Dr Ken, there’s litteraly no slot for any new comedy next year. Which is unaceptable. They need fresh blood. And they won’t wait for midseason to launch something new. It means there’s only three solutions: 1/ The Real O’Neals is cancelled after all. One slot will be available then. 2/ They bench one of those shows for a midseason premiere. But none of them deserve such a treatment. 3/ They open a new hour of comedy, either on Tuesdays or somewhere else on the schedule. And this last solution is my favorite honestly. I’d like something like this:

TUESDAY – The Middle / NEW / Fresh Off The Boat / The Real O’Neals

WEDNESDAY – The Goldbergs / NEW / Modern Family / Blackish

Let’s see what they have in store! And contrary to last pilot season, they have a handful of solid projects… The choice will be hard to make!



  1. DREAM TEAM (Warner Bros. Television)

rate rate rate rate  Marty Schumacher coached his last Club soccer team for ten years, ultimately taking them to the National Championships. While his longtime girlfriend just dumped him, he now has to start from scratch with a new diverse group of eight-year-olds and their disparate parents, who are not all happy to be there every damn weekend… With Justin Long, Wanda Sykes, Wynn Everett, Michael Mosley…

Dream Team has success written all over its pilot script. It could score BIG. ABC couldn’t pass on the opportunity to finally have what looks like the next Modern Family (sports edition).

Read the full preview


2. SPEECHLESS (20th Century FOX Television & ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate  The story of the DiMeo family, a gang who’s pretty good at dealing with the challenges it faces, and absolutely fantastic at creating new ones. At the heart of the action are Maya, a mom on a mission who will do anything for her family, and JJ, her whip-smart teen son with special needs… With Minnie Driver, John Ross Bowie, Mason Cook…

GREAT comedy pilot script! It’s exactly in ABC’s wheelhouse. It’s a mix between Malcolm & TheMiddle, where the adult and the children characters are treated the exact same way. Very funny. Tender. And talking about handicapped persons feels important. It’s about time. I really really want ABC to give it a chance.



rate rate rate rate Until recently, opinionated, confident, unapologetic, plump Katie Otto has been the third fattest housewife in Westport, Connecticut. This is exactly where she wants to be. So when her chubbier neighbor moves away and she becomes the second fattest housewife, Katie becomes determined to regain her title. On a mission, she tries to orchestrate a suitable buyer for her neighbor’s house. But things don’t go according to her plans... With Katy Mixon, Diedrich Bader, Carly Hughes, Ali Wong…

A lot of people are already furious with the title of this show. Not because it’s too long –but it’s too long– because they find it offensive. Which I can understand. BUT the show is not offensive. It’s irreverent, yes. And we need that. It’s kinda cool too. Not saying that I loved it but I kinda did. There’s a little girl with PTSD in there and it’s a beautiful, moving, adorable character.


4. PEARL (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate  After she finds out she has cancer, Pearl Foxton, a larger-than-life family matriarch becomes intent on controlling and orchestrating every aspect of her family’s life before she dies. After all, she knows what’s best for them way better than they know themselves, and good luck convincing her otherwise… With Candice Bergen, Zachary Knighton, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Richard Mazur…

WANT. Anything with Episodes‘ Kathleen Rose Perkins is a winner for me. But still. Candice Bergen will kill in this. Zachary Knighton too. It’s a really funny pilot script with heart. If they can manage to take the Mom route, it’ll be perfect. But is ABC ready to bet on a family comedy with a 70 year-old heroine –who’s not very nice– and mostly adult characters, with cancer involved? I’m not sure, and that makes me sad a little bit.


5.  CHUNK & BEAN (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate  The unlikely friendship of two misfits, Chunk and Bean, who benefit from having two very different sets of parents living next door to each other. Connie, Chunk’s controlling mother, and Jim, Bean’s single father, instantly butt heads over their conflicting styles of parenting. While Connie believes in structure and discipline, Jim believes in high fives and cake for breakfast. With Simon Belz, Adam Rodriguez, Anna Gunn, Andy Daly…

And it’s another comedy script winner for ABC! Smart, funny & cute. Solid cast. Kids are very important in it, the way Eddie is in Fresh Off The Boat. I’m curious to see Anna Gunn in a comedy and I’d be happy to watch Adam Rodriguez with no shirt-on once again. Make it happen, ABC!


6. DOWNWARD DOG (Legendary Television & ABC Studios)

rate rate rate rate Suddenly Martin, Nan’s loyal mutt has begun acting out -and she’s confused, frazzled and angry. So Nan hauls herself off to a canine academy, initially hoping for a quick fix, but finding out, eventually, that training a dog might be work but the payoff is priceless, proving once again that a dog is a woman’s bestfriend… With Allison Tolman, Lucas Neff, Samm Hodges…

A TV show with a talking dog… in 2015? My initial reaction to Downward Dog‘s pitch was “What the fuck are they thinking?“. But this is a brilliant piece of writing, actually. I totally get why there was a bidding war among multiples networks to acquire the project. It’s bold and different. But it’s not an easy sell and the talking dog could quickly has nothing interesting to say.

Read the full preview


7. IMAGINARY MARY (Sony Pictures Television & ABC Studios)

rate rate rate  A fortysomething bachelorette’s life is turned upside-down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced dad with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single lady to family woman… With Jenna ElfmanStephen Schneider, Erica Tremblay, Nicholas Coombe…

Really funny & original script, sweet & sour. Jenna Elfman can thrive in this. Not sure about the longtime perspective though, or even making 22-24 episodes a year. It’s something worth trying at midseason, like a Galavant, but it’s probably too risky and adult to slot on wednesday nights.



rate rate rate Meet the Desais, a family who sees the world from a unique point of view. While others look to comic book superheroes to save the world, the Desais know who the real superheroes are: engineers. From creating Pyramids to iPads, they’ll tell you the world would be nothing without them. Coincidentally, all the Desais are engineers, so they have some pretty big brains… which they may occasionally remind you of… With Adhir Kalyan, Katie Walder, Noureen DeWulf, Bernard White…

It’s like The Big Bang Theory as a family comedy. It got on my nerves more than it should have and gave me a headache at some point. But honestly, it’s fine. ABC misses an Indian comedy –and it would be the first one ever.


9. TOAST (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate Over their wedding rehearsal dinner, engaged couple Max and Paige have their eclectic family and friends give toasts recalling anecdotes about the couple — but flashbacks reveal that the toasts don’t always get it right, as we watch the true story of their complicated, funny and relatable road to marriage… With Jerrika Hinton, Jono Kenyon, Tessa Ferrer, Punam Patel…

Toast is not the funniest thing I’ve read this year (…) But if ABC wants something different than the regular family comedies they’re renown for on their schedule next year, maybe it’s the right way to go. The concept looks stronger than expected and branding it as “the first Shondaland comedy” –which it is– already makes half the work for the marketing department.

Read the full preview



rate rate rate   Hilda, an unapologetic lesbian and Randall, her best friend, a neurotic straight male, navigate their enviable, yet dysfunctional, co-dependent friendship, growing up and the world of dating. With Andy Ridings, Tattiawna Jones, Julie Goldman, Christine Horn

This title has to change. Badly. But well, as cool as this pilot script is, it’s totally off-brand for ABC. No family in there. And we remember what happened with Selfie, Manhattan Love Story, Mixology… But it’s modern and fresh. It speaks the truth. Or a truth. Both heroes are different from what we are used to see. It’s something I probably would have watched and loved. So long, Randall & Hilda. So long.


11. HAIL MARY (ABC Studios)

rate rate rate   a young small-town mayor named Mary Wolf has dysfunctional siblings, a dying father, disgruntled citizens, a nearly bankrupt town and the mafia breathing down her neck. Only a miracle can help her. So … she fakes one… With Casey Wilson, Sarah Baker, Retta, Gareth Reynolds…

This is a disappointment. It’s not bad at all, the script is pretty good overall but it’s a bit too hysterical for my taste and it misses something. FOX already tried to remake the Austrian series Braunschlag last year but it was not ordered. I have a feeling it’s not on-brand enough for ABC. It’s a pass for me. But if they pick it up, I’ll definitely check it out, just in case.



rate rate Gabe, a touring standup comic, a stepfather and boss to his family and friends navigates his home life during the few days he spends off the road each week… With Gabriel Iglesias, Richard Gant, Gloria Garayua, Tommy Savas…

This is the only multicamera comedy pilot ABC ordered this yes, maybe just in case Dr Ken suddenly collapsed, so they have a solution to replace it next year. But Dr Ken is fine and The Fuffly Shop really is not! It’s just funny. It’s not appealing. It’s a definitive “No”.



Downward Dog (ABC) pilot preview: Here’s what your dog’s doing when he’s home alone…


Stay-at-home Dog“, Written & produced by Samm Hodges and Michael Killen. Also executive produced by Jimmy Miller, Sam Hansen & Kathy Dziubek. For ABC, Legendary Television, Mosaic Media Group, Animal Media Group & ABC Studios. 36 pages.

Description: Suddenly Martin, Nan’s loyal dog has begun acting out -and she’s confused, frazzled and angry. So Nan, an unapologetic woman in her thirties, hauls herself off to a canine academy, initially hoping for a quick fix, but finding out, eventually, that training a dog might be work but the payoff is priceless, proving once again that a dog is a woman’s bestfriend…

With Allison Tolman (Fargo), Lucas Neff (Raising Hope), Barry Rothbart (The Wolf of Wall Street)… and the voice of Samm Hodges as Martin.

rate rate rate rate

A TV show with a talking dog… in 2015? My initial reaction to Downward Dog‘s pitch was “What the fuck are they thinking?“. And that made me think that sooner or later a network will try to revive the 90s sitcom Baby Talk. But that’s another story I’m not eager to delve into, in case an executive is reading me right now and suddenly thinks it’s a good idea! When the revelation of Fargo Allison Tolman got cast for the lead role -of the woman, not the dog obviously- I decided to give the script a chance. That woman needs to be the star of something. And I don’t regret it a bit. This is a brilliant piece of writing. I totally get why there was a bidding war among multiples networks to acquire the project. It’s not Modern Family brilliant. But this comparison I read in a few articles is not a stretch either. I felt the same kind of vibe. Except it’s way harder to sell to an audience. A talking dog, for christ’s sake!

The fact that Martin talks is not just a tool to try to make something different out of a basic story. It’s not cosmectic. It’s the whole point of the show. And it’s not that basic a story for a single-camera comedy for television. Martin is lonely. Nan is lonely. She works too much, he’s bored. When she’s home, she’s too tired to play with him. In fact, it’s like the love story of an old couple that misses the spark they once had and don’t make love anymore (except they just do hugs here, no worries). They don’t know how to act with each other anymore but they can fix it. They just need a little push to get the groove back. And that push is a canine academy. It’s anthropomorphism in full force. Either you like animals, you have one or more yourself and you totally get what’s happening between those two, either you’re not into cats and dogs and it’s ridiculous science-fiction for you. I guess that’s the limit of its efficiency.

But let’s be clear: the dog that talks in front of the camera -and never at any other given moment so far, it’s important- could get very old very fast. At least for now, his lines are not just funny, -surely they are- but also really smart. The writers -who worked on animals documentaries- know their subject and makes it psychological without being boring. It seems relevant, not just about animals but also about humans. The whole thing is emotional too, and that’s probably the best part. The strong bond between a dog and its owner, the way they can make each other so happy, even just for a minute or two, is perfectly transcribed. What I’m not fond of for now is Nan’s scenes at her job and the secondary characters that fail to spark any interest, except for a dog trainer but just because she’s hilarious.

As much as I enjoyed reading Downward Dog‘s pilot script I’m not convinced that it can become a sustainable weekly series yet. I’m afraid there won’t be much to say after a few episodes. But maybe I’m just too pessimistic. The biggest challenge now is to turn this strong script into a strong half-hour of television, especially the scenes where the dog talks that could easily look ridiculous if not well taken care of. Can it be a home run for ABC? I’m not sure. But here’s something bold!