ABC adds 12 new shows, including Viola Davis drama

Viola Davis
This March 2, 2014 file photo shows actress Viola Davis at the Oscars in Los Angeles. ABC says it is adding a dozen new series to its schedule next season, including its third drama from producer Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis will star in the new series from Rhimes, a legal thriller titled “How to Get Away with Murder.” ABC and other broadcast networks are presenting their 2014-15 schedules to advertisers in New York this week. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — ABC will add a new drama from “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” powerhouse producer Shonda Rhimes to its fall schedule, giving her ownership of Thursday night on a network that’s lagging behind its competitors among advertiser-favored young adults.
Rhimes’ “How to Get Away with Murder,” a legal thriller starring Viola Davis, is among 12 new series that will occupy an ABC schedule that’s heavy on crime dramas and rich in ethnic diversity. Rhimes is “one of the greatest voices on television,” ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee said Tuesday before the network presented its new schedule to advertisers.
“Grey’s Anatomy” will move to 8 p.m. EDT Thursday, followed by “Scandal” at 9 p.m. and “How to Get Away from Murder” to close out the evening. That will bolster what has been a weak 8 p.m. slot for ABC and give the new drama a strong launching pad, Lee said.
“Scandal” will air opposite NBC’s hit series “The Blacklist” later in the new season, but Lee said he’s confident his series will stand up to challenge, especially as viewers adept at time-shifting have allowed dueling series both to perform well.
Medical soap opera “Grey’s Anatomy” can be racy, but Lee said it will have appropriate content for the first hour of primetime, traditionally home for more family-friendly programming.
Tony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes
This Feb. 1, 2013 file photo shows, from left, actors Tony Goldwyn, and Kerry Washington from the ABC series “Scandal,” with series creator Shonda Rhimes at the 44th Annual NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, FIle)

ABC and its heavily female audience ranks third in viewership this season behind CBS and NBC, but is fourth among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic it cares most about. The network, known for its multi-ethnic casts, is adding shows focused primarily on non-white characters or with minority creators — something often missing from major broadcast networks.
The new sitcoms include “Black-ish,” starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as a suburban family trying to embrace their African-American identity, and “Fresh Off the Boat,” about an immigrant Chinese family pursuing the American dream in the 1990s and based on chef Eddie Huang’s memoir with the same title. “Cristela,” another comedy, is about an ambitious law student (Cristela Alonzo) at odds with her traditional Mexican-American family.
John Ridley of “12 Years a Slave” created the gritty “American Crime,” a drama about a murder with racial overtones that features former “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman.
ABC hits “Modern Family” and “Scandal” have benefited from their inclusivity, Lee said.
“America has changed,” he said. “We see that in the election cycle and we see that in everything.”
Other new dramas include “Secrets and Lies,” starring Ryan Phillippe as a murder suspect trying to prove his innocence, and “Forever,” with Ioan Gruffudd, as a New York city medical examiner with a secret: He’s immortal.
On the genre front, “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” starring Hayley Atwell, will air midseason between runs of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
ABC canceled “Trophy Wife,” ”Mixology,” ”The Neighbors,” ”Suburgatory,” ”Super Fun Night,” ”Killer Women,” ”Lucky 7,” ”Betrayal,” ”Back in the Game” and “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.”
Other ABC series to debut next season:
—”The Whispers,” an alien invasion story with Steven Spielberg as an executive producer.
—”Galavant,” a musical fairytale.
—”Manhattan Love Story,” a comedy that exposes the unfiltered thoughts of men and women.
—”Selfie,” a comedy about a woman with 263,000 online followers and no real friends.

ABC’s prime-time schedule for the fall:
8 p.m. — “Dancing With the Stars”
10 p.m. — “Castle”
8 p.m. — “Selfie”
8:30 p.m. — “Manhattan Love Story”
9 p.m. — “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
10 p.m. — “Forever”
8 p.m. — “The Middle”
8:30 p.m. — “The Goldbergs”
9 p.m. — “Modern Family”
9:30 p.m. — “Black-ish”
10 p.m. — “Nashville”
8 p.m. — “Grey’s Anatomy”
9 p.m. — “Scandal”
10 p.m. — “How to Get Away With Murder”
8 p.m. — “Last Man Standing”
8:30 p.m. — “Cristela”
9 p.m. — “Shark Tank”
10 p.m. — “20/20”
8 p.m. — “Saturday Night Football”
7 p.m. — “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8 p.m. — “Once Upon a Time”
9 p.m. — “Resurrection”
10 p.m. — “Betrayal”


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