Tiffany Haddish, stability mark ABC's 2019-20 schedule

NEW YORK — With the TV industry in flux, ABC entertainment chief Karey Burke said a goal for the network's 2019-20 schedule is something network audiences might welcome — familiarity.

There are newcomers, notably Tiffany Haddish, and inevitable cancellations. But ABC said next season represents the lightest hand in more than a decade.

"Viewers love our shows and we are listening to the audience. So this year we're not trying to jam them with too many messages and too many new shows to watch," said Burke, presenting her first schedule since being named to the position last November.

Although ABC had a "tough" start last fall, she said, a ratings rebound since January justifies the approach.

That means nurturing the shows in place, such as long-time ABC successes "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Bachelor" and not "putting on something new for the sake of something new," she said. A marketplace increasingly packed with streaming content is another reason to hold steady, Burke said.

But low-rated series are out, and their replacements include Haddish as host and producer of a reboot of "Kids Say the Darndest Things." Burke told a teleconference the actress-comedian who gained fame in "Girls Trip" was the star she most coveted and other networks competed for her show.

There are three other newbies debuting in fall, including "mixed-ish," a "black-ish" spinoff that stars Arica Himmel as the preteen version of the mom, Rainbow, played by Tracee Ellis Ross in the original show.

Allison Tolman stars in "Emergence," described as a character-driven genre thriller, while the graphic novel-based "Stumptown" stars Cobie Smulders as an Army veteran turned private eye.

The midseason entries include the dramas "For Life," about a prisoner seeking freedom for himself and others, with Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson among the producers, and "The Baker and the Beauty," about the unlikely romance between a working man and a superstar.

The family comedy "United We Fall" also is on deck for midseason.


The host of late-night's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" has signed on for three more years, Burke announced.

The new deal means that "we'll be able to celebrate 20 years together with Jimmy," she said.

He may not be required to rescue ABC from a repeat of this year's no-host Oscars. When controversy drove Kevin Hart from the job, the ceremony failed to woo a replacement and let presenters carry the show.

Although Burke was noncommittal about 2020, she expressed satisfaction with the ceremony and its ratings.

"We're extremely proud of how the show turned out creatively and how well it performed this year," she said. "I think you'll see us not messing with that formula, to the best of our abilities."

Asked if that meant two-time Oscar host Kimmel wouldn't be conscripted, Burke stopped short of ruling it out.

"I'm not being evasive. It's something that the (motion picture) academy makes decisions about later in the year," she said.


A duty the comedian can't skip is entertaining advertisers and media buyers for ABC and other Disney networks at a New York theater, eviscerating his employers as well as their competitors.

In his 16th outing Tuesday, Kimmel called "Modern Family," which ends after next season, "the rarest of ABC shows — a hit."

He summoned the memory of past network standout "Desperate Housewives" to poke fun at a cast member involved in the college-bribery scandal.

That was "back in the days when Felicity Huffman only played a scheming suburban mom," he said.

Over at NBC, Kimmel said, popular drama "This Is Us" received a rare, three-year renewal — "Or, as Constance Wu would call it, a death sentence," a reference to the ABC star's public outburst .


Although ABC's cancellation slate is far from a Red Wedding, these seven shows got the axe: "Whiskey Cavalier," ''For the People," ''Dancing with the Stars: Juniors," ''Child Support," ''The Alec Baldwin Show," ''The Kids Are Alright" and "Splitting Up Together."

Add one more: "Speechless," a groundbreaking comedy about a teenager with cerebral palsy, played by Micah Fowler, and his family.

"It was not without great, gut-wrenching consideration that we ultimately made that call," Burke said. It drew an outcry from fans, but the end ratings ruled: it was decided that "Fresh Off the Boat" would do better in the time slot.

That outcome proved ironic for Wu, who experienced her own backlash after she complained online after learning that "Fresh Off the Boat" would return.


Lynn Elber can be reached at and on Twitter at .

You may also like these

Study finds women competitors dominate NBC's...

Aug 15, 2016

A study finds that nearly 59 percent of the prime-time Olympic competition shown so far on NBC...

Box Office Top 20: 'Sausage Party' scarfs up...

Aug 15, 2016

It was a feast for the raunchy animated comedy "Sausage Party" at the box office this weekend

'Wire' actor Wendell Pierce loses Baton Rouge home

Aug 16, 2016

"The Wire" and "Treme" actor Wendell Pierce's home was destroyed by flooding in Baton Rouge,...

NBC chairman blasts Trump in private Facebook post

Aug 16, 2016

The chairman of NBC Entertainment is slamming Donald Trump, the network's onetime "Apprentice" star

As floodwaters recede, disbelief mixes with...

Aug 17, 2016

The smell of muddy water hung heavy in the air as people began sorting through waterlogged...

There are so many celebrities out there, but who’s the real Diva? Discover more on your favorite celebrities and get closer to them only here in The Diva Today

Contact us: sales[at]