Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

The ABCs of family-friendly programming. Continuing my rant on how the broadcast networks could reestablish themselves as positive cultural forces promoting the universal values like faith in God, kindness, forgiveness, gratitude, tolerance, wisdom, personal responsibility and the all-important ability to laugh at one’s own foibles (as opposed to spitefully mocking those with whom we differ). To make my point, I’ve researched all the broadcasters’ ratings and pilots and created my own 2-13-2014 schedule for each of them — using what they reasonably have on to move away from the dark and edgy (negative) toward the light and inspirational (positive). I’m not talking about changing them into religious channels but I am talking about using their power to foster an ethos that supports and builds the universal qualities that help people to let go of anger and move forward with faith, hope and, yes, love. Not only is doing so the right thing to do. I also believe there’s a huge pent-up market demand for a return to idealistic storytelling.

I’ve previously offered thoughts on how I, personally, would program NBC and Fox. Now, here’s my proposed ABC schedule which, I believe, would be wise to embrace the Disney brand of family-based entertainment. As before, my choices are base strictly on impressions of concepts and who is involved creatively. In the end, it’s always the execution that really counts. NEW SHOWS ARE IN CAPS. (In some cases, I’ve taken the liberty of changing the titles.) Here, BTW, is what ABC (along with NBC and Fox) has actually announced. I will say that the actual ABC comes the closest so far to the kind of schedule I would like to see (and actually watch).

Anyway, here’s my imaginary ABC schedule:

ABC
MONDAY
8:00 – MURDER IN MANHATTAN (A mother and her adult daughter solve murders.)
9:00 – Castle
10:00 – DOUBT (A cynical lawyer cares more than he lets on.)
NOTE: Market the lineup as Mystery Monday.

TUESDAY
8:00 – BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN (A widowed doctor and his kids find supernatural adventure in 1890’s Wyoming)
9:00 – S.H.I.E.L.D. (based on the Marvel Comics franchise.)
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10:00 – THE RETURNED (aka/Winter: A KNIGHT’S TALE (adventure based on the Heath Ledger movie)/Spring: A.D. (From Mark Burnett, a drama about an early Christian community.)
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NOTE: A night of family-friendly action and drama.

WEDNESDAY
8:00 – The Middle
8:30 – How to Live with Your Parents/Spring: BACK IN THE GAME (A woman manages her son’s Little League team.)
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9:00 – Modern Family
9:30 – Malibu Country
10:00 – Nashville/Spring: LUCKY 7 (Drama about the winners of a multimillion lottery.)
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NOTE: I’d like to see the nastiness ironed out a bit in Back in the Game.  For instance, I’m not too crazy about the scene where the James Caan character bashes someone’s car with a baseball bat — but, that said, there is potential to nurture the show warm, funny and successful family sitcom.

THURSDAY
8:00 – Body of Proof
9:00 – Grey’s Anatomy/Spring: GILDED LILYS (Period drama set in a NYC hotel in 1895)
10:00 – Scandal/Spring: THE LADIES’ ROOM (aka The Mix, a soap about a View-type women’s talk show)
NOTE: The Mix is a Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal) concept I like because I’ve actually had a very similar idea bubbling around in my head. I like my title better though.

FRIDAY
8:00 – Shark Tank
9:00 – Secret Millionaire
10:00 – Nightline
NOTE: A night of family friendly reality shows followed by Nightline which I would move to prime time for weekly airing on Fridays (while also being available for use in place of repeats on other nights). BTW, I’d fill Nightline’s late-night slot with THE VIEW @ NIGHT WITH ADAM CAROLLA which would be a View-style chat show with a completely different perspective.

SATURDAY
8:00 – Last Man Standing
8:30 – KING OF THE CASTLE (John Leguizamo as a stand-up comic with a family.)
9:00 – THE ABC MOVIE OF THE WEEK
NOTE: It’s about time Saturday night is opened up to original programming. In fact, by bringing back its MOW original movie franchise, ABC would not only find an appreciative audience cost-effective program development since many of the offerings could be backdoor pilots. For instance, one concept on their development slate that could first be tried as a TV movie is Sawyer & Finn which follows Mark Twain’s famous characters into their 20’s as they open a detective agency in New Orleans. It sounds like a lot of fun and a show that the whole family could enjoy together.

SUNDAY
7:00 – Dancing with the Stars/(Winter: 7:00 – THE MUPPET NETWORK (SCTV/8:00 – GIRL MEETS WORLD/8:30 – 9:00 – Once Upon a Time/Spring: ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND
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10:00 – Revenge/Spring: VENICE (A Romeo & Juliet-esque set in a Los Angeles beachfront neighborhood.)
NOTE: Disney owns The Muppets. The Muppet Network is an idea I have for how they could utilize the property as part of a family-friendly branding of ABC. Girl Meets World was actually developed for The Disney Channel but I think it belongs on ABC. Likewise, Continuing Fred is in development at ABC Family but fits well as a lead-out to Girl Meets World.

Tomorrow: CBS

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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