ABC & ESPN 05/16/17

May 16
ABC, ESPN

ABC previewed its 2017-2018 programming at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall in NYC. “I’m very proud of this year’s slate of series at ABC,” said Channing Dungey, President, ABC Entertainment. “We’ve focused on some of the universal themes that unite us – exciting stories, relevant dramas, and of course, lots of laughs. Our goal is to focus on the unique points of view of our show creators, but make shows that have broad appeal.”

Among the big news: Katy Perry was revealed as the first judge on theAmerican Idol reboot. Plus, for the second consecutive year, Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars, airing Sunday, March 4. Kimmel is also teaming with Justin Theroux to produce an untitled live sitcom special that will bring viewers classic sitcom scripts acted out by today’s biggest names in comedy.

Dungey announced that Season 7 of Shonda Rhimes drama Scandal will be its last. “Shonda has decided the series needs to come to a close, and while this is definitely a bittersweet moment for all of us gladiators, I have no doubt what she has in store for the final season will be as powerful as what’s come before,” said Dungey. Rhimes promised the show’s end will leave “nothing on the table… We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our ‘Scandal’ family: all together, white hats on, gladiators running full speed over a cliff.”

ABC confirmed an eight-episode reboot of Roseanne featuring original cast members Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson. Premieres 2018.

In spinoff news, Grey’s Anatomy is getting another one; this time, revolving around Seattle firefighters. Two reality hits have landed offshoots, too. The Bachelor Winter Games features stars from the franchise competing in winter-themed athletic challenges. Dancing with the Stars Junior has celebrity kids and kids of celebrities pairing up with professional junior ballroom dancers.

During the Univision Communications Inc. Upfront on Tuesday, Fusion TV announced the formation of the Fusion TV Creative Board. Led by professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., with founding members including Viola Davis, Ezra Edelman, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, and Residente, the group will work to identify the next generation of creators and build a pipeline of diverse talent that the network can tap into.

ESPN emphasized out of the (TV) box measurement and star power at its Upfront, where the network announced two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning will host its 2017 Espy Awards on July 12.

The Disney-and-Hearst-owned sports net wants to strike advertising partnerships deals based on a new, Nielsen-measured metric that takes into account all live viewers, no matter what screen they’re accessing ESPN and ESPN2 content on. Beginning October 1, the live-streaming tally will also include viewers who consume the Disney- and Hearst-owned company’s content with the same “ad load” as a tTV broadcast.

In other announcements, Beth Mowins andRex Ryan will call the late game in the season-opening MNF doubleheader, the September 11 LA Chargers vs. Denver Broncos game. Ryan, the former Buffalo Bills and NY Jets head coach, joins ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown as a new studio analyst this fall. Maria Taylor, current ESPN and SEC Network host, will join the crews ofCollege GameDay Built by The Home Depot and ABC Saturday Night Football. SEC Network’s Laura Rutledge is the new host of pre-game show SEC Nation.

Additionally, next year’s College Football Playoff National Championship will have an “A-list music act” perform a halftime show for ESPN viewers for the first time in College Football Playoff history.

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