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Upfronts 2015: ABC Pairs ‘Muppets’ With ‘Fresh Off the Boat’; Sets ‘Oil,’ ‘Kings and Prophets’ for Sunday

Following a strong 2014-15 campaign, ABC will mostly stay the course next season.

ABC’s fall schedule features only a few changes, as the network will keep its Monday, Wednesday and Thursday lineups the same. “We obviously kept much of our schedule intact,” ABC entertainment group president Paul Lee said on a conference call with the media Tuesday morning.

Comedy Fresh Off the Boat will remain on Tuesdays next season and will be paired with ABC’s revival of The Muppets for the fall. The network’s reboot of the classic Jim Henson characters will lead off Tuesdays at 8 p.m., pushing Fresh Off the Boat to 8:30 p.m.

The rebooted Muppets will be starkly different than the classic TV show; Lee described the new version as a cross between The Office and 30 Rock, including a faux-documentary style that will feature the characters talking to the camera. “This is not the old Muppets.” Once The Muppets finishes its run, Fresh Off the Boat will move back to 8 p.m. and lead into another new comedy The Real O’Neals.

Midseason replacements will be a major theme for ABC’s schedule next year. Longer-episode series will have their seasons split into fall and spring batches with shorter-run series filling the midseason gaps. Lee says this will help ABC avoid airing too many repeats. “It just didn’t reflect the way we are watching television,” he said of having reruns littered throughout a season.

Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will continue to air at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and lead into another new series in the FBI drama Quantico at 10 p.m., which will have another rookie Wicked City take over its timeslot during the midseason break. Marvel’s other ABC series Agent Carter will again fill S.H.I.E.L.D.’s void during its midseason break.

Though Marvel and ABC were developing a spinoff of S.H.I.E.L.D. that would have starred Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood, Lee said it was more important for them to remain with the main show, though he said they would revisit a possible spinoff in the future.

“We think S.H.I.E.L.D. really hit its creative stride this year,” he said. “We thought it was the right time now to leave them on S.H.I.E.L.D.” He had no update on secretive Marvel project they are working on with American Crime’s John Ridley.

Ken Jeong comedy Dr. Ken will air Fridays at 8:30 p.m., following Last Man Standing, sharing the timeslot with its Uncle Buck remake. For the first time, ABC will split Nashville’s season into two parts, with Secrets & Lies filling the midseason gap; Lee confirmed Juliette Lewis will return for season two.

With Resurrection and Revenge no longer on the schedule, ABC will air a pair of new dramas on Sunday with Oil (formerly the Untitled Pate & Fishburne Project) leading into Biblical saga Of Kings and Prophets. Once Upon a Time will remain the same timeslot it’s been in since it premiered, following America’s Funniest Home Videos.

The Catch, the fourth Shonda Rhimes-produced drama, will take over for How to Get Away With Murder once it’s season is finished. ABC will do the same with drama The Family, which will take over for Kings and Prophets once its season is finished. The Family will launch out of the Oscars in February.

During the call, Lee was asked about if two its longest running series Castle and Grey’s Anatomy would be ending after next year, which Lee shot down. “Not the final seasons for either,” he said. "I'd like to see them run for many, many years to come."

The only series that doesn’t have a scheduled return is American Crime, which Lee said will completely reset for season two, though he said some actors might return in new roles a la FX’s American Horror Story franchise. Discussions with Ridley about the new season just began and that’s why it’s not yet scheduled, Lee explained.

ABC will hold its upfront presentation Tuesday afternoon.

MONDAY:                               8:00 p.m.              “Dancing with the Stars”

                                                10:00 p.m.            “Castle”

TUESDAY:8:00 p.m.              “THE MUPPETS”

                                                8:30 p.m.              “Fresh Off the Boat”

                                                9:00 p.m.              “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

10:00 p.m.           “QUANTICO”

WEDNESDAY:                       8:00 p.m.              “The Middle”

                                                8:30 p.m.              “The Goldbergs”

                                                9:00 p.m.              “Modern Family”

                                                9:30 p.m.              “black-ish”

                                                10:00 p.m.           “Nashville”

THURSDAY:                           8:00 p.m.              “Grey’s Anatomy”

                                                9:00 p.m.              “Scandal”

                                                10:00 p.m.           “How to Get Away with Murder”  

FRIDAY:                                  8:00 p.m.              “Last Man Standing”

8:30 p.m.              “DR. KEN”

                                                 9:00 p.m.              “Shark Tank”

                                                 10:00 p.m.           “20/20”

SATURDAY:                            8:00 p.m.              “Saturday Night Football” 

SUNDAY:                                 7:00 p.m.              “America’s Funniest Home Videos”

                                                  8:00 p.m.              “Once Upon a Time”

9:00 p.m.              “OIL”

10:00 p.m.           “OF KINGS AND PROPHETS”