NEW YORK — The 1980s are expanding their footprint at ABC.
Joining the “1980-something” Jenkintown-set The Goldbergs and its ’90s-set spin-off Schooled in the retro-comedy realm this fall will be the Black-ish prequel Mix-ish, which will focus on the ’80s upbringing of Rainbow Johnson, the character played by Tracee Ellis Ross on Black-ish.
Given that ABC canceled 1970s-set comedy The Kids Are Alright, are the ’80s the network’s sweet spot?
“The Goldbergs is the gold standard,” ABC entertainment president Karey Burke said during a Tuesday morning news conference at Lincoln Center, though beyond their era, the two 1980s shows are different.
“And like The Goldbergs and Schooled," which will keep their 8 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday time slots this fall, "we’ve paired Mixed-ish and Black-ish chronologically,” Burke said, with the new comedy slotted for 9 p.m. Tuesdays, with Black-ish at 9:30.
Meanwhile, a classic format gets a fresh face as Tiffany Haddish comes to ABC as host and executive producer of Kids Say the Darndest Things, which will air at 8 p.m. Sundays between America’s Funniest Home Videos and Shark Tank as part of a family-friendly block of unscripted programming that will lead in to The Rookie, which moves from Tuesday for its second season.
Kids Say the Darndest Things began as a popular child-interview segment on Art Linkletter’s long-running 1950s-'60s variety show House Party and later became a separate series, hosted by Bill Cosby.
Burke also announced a new three-year deal with Jimmy Kimmel to continue as host of Jimmy Kimmel Live, and fielded a question about Fresh Off the Boat star Constance Wu, who on Twitter last week greeted news of the show’s renewal with the kind of anguish usually reserved for cancellations, the Crazy Rich Asians star later explaining that she’d only been expressing disappointment at having to pass up another opportunity.
“We love Constance and we love the show. … I’m going to choose to believe Constance’s most recent communication about the show, that she is happy to return,” Burke said.
The network’s ordered a total of six scripted series for the 2019-20 season, three of which will be on in the fall, as most networks so far seem to be stressing stability in the face of viewers’ overwhelming number of choices.
Burke’s remarks were in advance of ABC’s Lincoln Center presentation to advertisers on Tuesday, part of the broadcast networks’ annual upfronts week, so called because this is the time when programmers and their sales teams unveil their plans for the coming seasons in hopes of getting commitments up front for commercial time.
In a sign of the changing media landscape, the Disney-owned broadcast network was presenting jointly with ESPN and Freeform, and for the first time, with Disney’s recently acquired cable networks, FX and National Geographic Channel.
Besides the announcements of new shows, May used to be when viewers found out which of their favorite shows would and wouldn’t be back, but announcements of cancellations and renewals have been trickling out for months, and reached a flood in the past few days.
Among the ABC-canceled shows was Whiskey Cavalier, whose stars included Cherry Hill’s Lauren Cohan and University of the Arts grad Ana Ortiz, the daughter of former City Councilman Angel Ortiz; and For the People, a Shondaland legal drama whose executive producers include Havertown’s Tom Verica.
Here’s what else we know about ABC’s plans: