ABC has released its fall schedule, and to be honest, it hasn’t changed that much. In the fall, there are only three new series added to the lineup (in bold):
8-10 p.m. — Dancing With the Stars
10-11 p.m. — The Good Doctor
8-8:30 p.m. — The Conners
8:30-9 p.m. — Bless This Mess
9-9:30 p.m. — Mixed-ish
9:30-10 p.m. — Black-ish
10-11 p.m. — Emergence
8-8:30 p.m. — The Goldbergs
8:30-9 p.m. — Schooled
9-9:30 p.m. — Modern Family
9:30-10 p.m. — Single Parents
10-11 p.m. — Stumptown
8-9 p.m. — Grey’s Anatomy
9-10 p.m. — A Million Little Things
10-11 p.m — How to Get Away With Murder
8-8:30 p.m. — American Housewife
8:30-9 p.m. — Fresh off the Boat
9-11 p.m — 20/20
8-11 p.m. — Saturday Night Football
7-8 p.m. — America’s Funniest Home Videos
8-9 p.m. — Kids Say the Darndest Things
9-10 p.m. — Shark Tank
10-11 p.m. — The Rookie
If viewers cared at all anymore about timeslots, it might feel significant that The Rookie has been moved to Sunday night, while A Million Little Things, of which I am a fan, has been sandwiched between two Shonda Rhimes series on its powerhouse Thursday lineup (it at least illustrates confidence in the series moving ahead). I would note, however, that notwithstanding the addition of the Black-ish spin-off, Mixed-ish — a prequel about Rainbow’s childhood — the network that at one point felt fairly diverse feels … less so. Maybe it’s just that, at one point, all that diversity was on Wednesday, and now Wednesday is all white. Or maybe it’s just that The Conners has soured the ABC brand for diverse family sitcoms. I dunno.
Speaking of Wednesday nights, Cobie Smulders’ Stumptown — based on the graphic novels of the same name about “a strong, assertive and sharp-witted army veteran with a complicated love life, gambling debt and a brother to take care of in Portland, Oregon” — has kicked up some social media controversy by recasting the third lead. The series has removed Mark Webber from the series because, from what Mark Webber understands, he was not handsome enough.
Look, I’m a straight white male so I know my journey has been way less painful in this warped industry, but I’m being recast in a network television show because I’m not handsome enough for the executives. It’s important for me to share the real pain we endure in this industry.— mark webber (@likemark) May 8, 2019
I’m so curious how they’re going to frame this in their upfront announcement. What the spin will be? Probably none as I’ve already been deemed insignificant by them. The way I was treated was so degrading. These “executive” decisions are why network tv is dying.— mark webber (@likemark) May 8, 2019
I like Mark Webber. I’ve seen a few of his movies (he’s also a writer/director), and — like Josh Charles — I think he’s plenty handsome, although to his credit, I would not call him “network material.”
I think you’re hot as hell but I’m biased.— Josh Charles (@MrJoshCharles) May 8, 2019
I also appreciate the outpouring of support he’s received:
When I was 19 I was fired from a job because A. I wasn’t famous enough and B. When pressured to hook up with the lead guy by the producers to have more “chemistry” with him I said no and was promptly replaced by someone else. #industrytruths— Teresa Palmer (@teresapalmer) May 8, 2019
I hope I can say this since you're my best friends husband, but you're one of the most handsome, intelligent, kind, talented, magical men I know and will ever know. Like actually fuck em all. https://t.co/ajNzeyIuQE— Phoebe Tonkin (@1PhoebeJTonkin) May 8, 2019
Happened to me too. Turned into the best choice I never made. Congrats on dodging that network bullet. Now you can have the long and interesting career that you deserve. ❤️🙏🏼— Pablo Schreiber (@schreiber_pablo) May 8, 2019
(Note that, if Pablo Schreiber was once recast because he wasn’t handsome enough, what hope do we as a society have?)
This is, of course, par for the course in the network world. In fact, Anders Holm is being recast in the aforementioned Mixed-ish while Freddie Prinze Jr. is being replaced by freakin’ Scott Wolf in The CW’s Nancy Drew series (that’s gotta be a blow to the ego). Webber is from the indie world and probably just isn’t used to having network suits dictate these kinds of decisions, and he may be experiencing this reality for the first time.
He did, however, hit a sour note, with this now deleted tweet: “Contrived ‘diverse’ female empowerment shows by stale white men, created for the sole purpose of making them money and giving them more power. Contributes nothing to the cultural development of the world.” I mean, that may be true, but dude: He did sign on to that show, and he was happy to take the paycheck from a “contrived female empowerment show by stale white men” and he probably would have been happy to promote it, which makes all of this sound weirdly … about the money.
To his credit, he did delete that tweet, and replace it with several other well intentioned tweets:
I deleted a tweet, that while still true to my beliefs was unrelated to the show I was fired from. It’s been falsely connected to it in some articles written.— mark webber (@likemark) May 12, 2019
I feel sad that by expressing my own bad experience with the show I was fired from, that it could interfere with the positive experience the actors & creatives that are still on the show should be having. I wish the writers, producers and cast nothing but love.— mark webber (@likemark) May 12, 2019
My deepest sincere love, respect, and admiration for all of the actors working on “Stumptown”. @CobieSmulders is phenomenal and so is @MichaelEaly. I believe the whole creative team is and will make a show you’re gonna wanna watch.— mark webber (@likemark) May 14, 2019
My guess is that the original tweet was motivated by sour grapes and hopefully not a real disdain for the series he was recast in because Michael Ealy and Cobie Smulders are dreamy and also, I just realized that Smulders and her husband Taran Killam will now occupy back-to-back time slots on the same network. Congrats to them.
In either respect, go watch Webber’s End of Love. It’s a pretty nifty little film. If I am not mistaken (and I may be!), Webber also hangs with a group of actors that are too lovely, earnest and sweet for this world, like Jason Ritter, Melania Lynskey, and Marianna Palka.
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