Upfronts: Why ABC benched Shonda Rhimes' and Matthew Perry's new shows
When ABC announced its fall lineup Tuesday morning, there were a couple of glaring omissions: Shonda Rhimes' new medical drama, "Off the Map," and Matthew Perry's single-camera comedy, "Mr. Sunshine."
Both of those shows packed some buzz behind them during pilot season and were picked up, but ABC didn't schedule them for the fall. Why?
Created by Jenna Bans ("Grey's Anatomy") and produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers ("Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice"), "Off the Map" is about five young doctors who run from their personal demons to a tiny town in the South American jungle that has one understaffed medical clinic. Hoping to score gold again with a post-"Desperate Housewives" mid-season launch, as it did with "Grey's," ABC has opted to premiere the series next year on Sundays after "Housewives." To make room for the new show, the network plans to move "Brothers & Sisters" to a new night.
"Mr. Sunshine" stars Matthew Perry, who has co-written the pilot, as the self-involved manager of a second-rate San Diego sports arena who begins to reevaluate his life after his 40th birthday. The single-camera comedy, along with the comedy "Happy Endings," has been held because there was no time slot available. By choosing to premiere "No Ordinary Family," on Tuesdays at 8 p.m., the network lost its only hour available to pair the two comedies. Both of them are expected to premiere in late fall, after ABC can evaluate the performance of the seven new series it has scheduled.
-- Maria Elena Fernandeztwitter.com/writerchica
Top photo: John Galindez and Jason George in "Off the Map." Credit: Craig Sjodin / ABC. Bottom photo: The cast of "Mr. Sunshine," from left to right: Portia Doubleday, Nate Torrence, Allison Janney, Matthew Perry, James Lesure and Andrea Anders. Credit: Bob D'Amico / ABC