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ABC's new fall schedule looks to build on the success of 'Roseanne' with a focus on the family

Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

ABC unveiled its fall schedule Tuesday, touting the blockbuster success of its reboot of "Roseanne" and its plans to build on that triumph with a mix of new family comedies and dramas featuring familiar TV faces in new places.

The most "Roseanne"-esque of the newcomers, the half-hour comedy "The Kids Are All Right," will follow "Roseanne" on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. The series centers on a working-class Irish Catholic family in 1970s Los Angeles and was created by Tim Doyle, a writer on "Roseanne" during that show's initial run.

In a conference call with reporters before the network's upfront presentation to advertisers in New York, Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, downplayed the "Roseanne" connection.

"We already developed our shows and ordered our pilots before we'd even launched 'Roseanne.'" Dungey said. "We had gone into our development season placing an emphasis and a priority on family comedy. The fact that 'Roseanne' has resonated as strongly as it has is fantastic, but it kind of fits in with the building blocks we already had in place."

As expected, "Roseanne" and its controversy-courting star Roseanne Barr was a hot topic during the call, and Dungey confirmed there was "a little bit" of concern that the politically divisive Twitter presence of Barr might affect response to the show. She also defended what many viewers and critics interpreted as a dismissive joke directed toward the diverse perspectives of ABC's cultural comedies "black-ish" and "Fresh Off the Boat."

"We felt like the writers were simply tipping the hat to those shows. It certainly wasn't meant to offend," Dungey said, adding that she was surprised by the criticism the line generated. "That said, I do stand by the 'Roseanne' writers in terms of the decision to include that line. I think they felt that they were expressing the point of view of the Conners."

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When asked whether politics would continue to be a presence on "Roseanne" in the new season, Dungey said she expected that the show would continue its trajectory of focusing more on economic and family issues than any character's political beliefs.

Tuesday night continues with the returning "black-ish" and "Splitting Up Together" and will be followed by the hour-long drama "The Rookie," starring Nathan Fillion ("Castle") as a small town cop ( fulfilling his dream of joining the LAPD.

The network's Monday lineup stands pat with The Good Doctor" and "Dancing With the Stars," which will also spawn the kid-centric spinoff "Dancing With the Stars: Juniors." The competition series airs Mondays at 8 p.m. followed by "Shark Tank" and the new series "The Alec Baldwin Show" at 10 p.m., a celebrity chat show originally titled "Sundays With Alec Baldwin" that was previewed on ABC in March.

The Baldwin series will be the first talk show to be featured in network prime time since Jay Leno's short-lived chat fest in 2009.

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