Designated Survivor Should Give New Life to Fourth-Place ABC This Fall

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Our weeklong breakdown of each broadcast network’s new fall shows hits the midway point today with ABC. The network slipped to No. 4 last season among 18- to 49-year-olds after an ugly fall in which only two of its five freshman shows survived (most disappointingly, its most-anticipated arrival, The Muppets, attracted large audiences initially, only to subsequently drive them away). ABC did have a breakout fall hit in Quantico, but that wasn't enough to save then-chief Paul Lee, who departed the network in February.

For her first fall as ABC Entertainment president, Channing Dungey will be missing one of the network's most important assets after it held Scandal until midseason to accommodate Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. She’s filling the gap with the first Thursday night drama not produced by Shonda Rhimes in two years, a new comedy block on Tuesdays and two new fall shows with real breakout potential, including one that has the inside track to end up as fall’s biggest freshman hit.

And while a pilot isn’t always the best way to judge a show’s ultimate potential, it’s often the only episode audiences watch before deciding whether to stick around or throw in the towel, especially given all the other new and returning shows fighting for attention. With that in mind, here are ABC’s new fall shows, ranked from least promising to most:

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV/Media Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.