LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- ABC kicked off its 2011-12 season pickups with five comedies - "Apartment 23," "Last Man Standing" (formerly "Tim"), "Man Up," "Suburgatory," "Work It" - and seven dramas - "Charlie's Angels," "Good Christian Belles," "Pan Am," "Revenge," "Once Upon a Time," "The River," "Scandal" - receiving series commitments.
[UPDATED 4:50 PM!] Also getting good news this afternoon: "Body of Proof" and "Happy Endings," both of which will return for sophomore runs, and reality entries "Secret Millionaire" and "Shark Tank," which will be back for third seasons.
Here are the official descriptions for the Alphabet's newcomers (for additional cast and crew information, follow the links to the right):
APARTMENT 23: June (Dreama Walker) moves to Manhattan for a dream job and the perfect company apartment, only to have them disappear in a puff of reality, thanks to a CEO from the Bernie Madoff School of Embezzlement. Deep in debt and out on the streets, June scrambles to land a gig and a place to live. It seems that her luck has turned around when she gets hired at a coffee shop and finds Chloe (Krysten Ritter): a charming, vivacious roommate ... with the morals of a pirate. She swindles June out of all her savings, but she and her snarky friend James Van Der Beek (yes, that James Van Der Beek) soon learn that just because June's naive, she isn't stupid. June ingeniously turns the tables on Chloe, who's so shocked about being scammed herself that she decides to pull June into her colorful band of friends. But, not before she sleeps with June's fiance Stephen - in order to show June that he's a cheater. Sure, it's all dysfunctional, bizarre, and overwhelming, but so is New York City. And with the help of Chloe and the other oddballs around her, June might just learn the survival secrets she needs to make it there. Executive producer/director Jason Winer ("Modern Family") and writer Nahnatchka Khan American Dad create a hilarious, contemporary female Odd Couple surrounded by an outrageous ensemble cast. "Apartment 23" is a sexy, subversive comedy that will steal your heart.
CHARLIE'S ANGELS: Everyone deserves a second chance. Even a thief, a street racer and a cop who got in a little too deep. After all, the three women who solve cases for their elusive boss Charlie Townsend are no saints - they're angels ... Charlie's Angels. This big, loud, fun take on the 1970's smash hit series introduces us to three new angels, all fearless operatives, head-turning beauties and close friends. There's Abby (Rachael Taylor) a Park Avenue Princess who became a world-class thief. Then there's Kate (Annie Ilonzeh), a Miami cop who fell from grace, losing both her career and her fiance. Finally there's Gloria, a disgraced army lieutenant who has a way with explosives. When one of the angels' missions ends in Gloria's tragic death, Charlie persuades them to partner with Gloria's childhood friend, Eve (Minka Kelly), a street racer with a mysterious past. They may not know each other yet, but one thing's for sure - Abby, Kate and Eve will always have each others' backs. Leonard Goldberg (the original "Charlie's Angels") and Drew Barrymore (the "Charlie's Angels" movies) join forces with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar ("Smallville") to deliver the adrenaline rush of the season. Set in scorching-hot Miami, Charlie's Angels delivers nonstop big screen action. With the help of Bosley 2.0 (Ramon Rodriguez), their hot, young technical expert, and the guidance of their enigmatic boss Charlie (Robert Wagner), these angels are an unstoppable crime fighting force.
GOOD CHRISTIAN BELLES (formerly GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES): Twenty years ago, Amanda Vaughn was the queen bee of Highland Park Texas, but now she's got to pay for her sins. An original mean girl, Amanda (Leslie Bibb) used to terrorize the less attractive and less popular. After her husband gets busted for a Ponzi scheme and then dies in sensationalized circumstances, Amanda has to return to Dallas in disgrace and start her life again. Will the good Christian bitches of her hometown welcome her with open arms ... or stab her in the back? No one in Highland Park is a saint, but that doesn't mean they can't have a heart. As Amanda and her teenage kids try to adjust to their new circumstances, the ladies of Highland Park alternate between sympathy and scheming. Based on Kim Gatlin's hit book, "Good Christian Bitches," Robert Harling ("Steel Magnolias") is adapting and executive producing along with Darren Star ("Sex and the City") to bring this sexy, salacious new drama home to roost.
LAST MAN STANDING (formerly TIM): Men may have built civilizations, invented the locomotive, the car, bacon western cheeseburgers, and ESPN, but they're about to find out that it's not a man's world anymore. Tim Allen is back in the most hotly anticipated comedy of the season, Tim. You can't get manlier than Tim. He works for an outdoor sporting goods store, drives a truck, and drinks beer. Unfortunately for Tim, being a guy isn't where it's at anymore. Modern day women are bringing their A-game. They're outperforming men in every area - school, work, and home. Tim is completely secure in his manhood, but he's about to discover that he's got some serious competition. Tim's wife Vanessa is a former stay-at-home-mom who is now a bigwig with a recent promotion to Vice President. His twenty-two-year-old daughter Kristin works multiple jobs to save up for a house. Meanwhile, his slacker son Howie just plays videogames and can't keep up at school. Even when Tim puts his best foot forward, he usually ends up stepping in it. His dating advice to his youngest daughter Eve results in her accidently putting her crush in the hospital, and his attempt to help Howie at school gets him put in "special" classes. With Tim's boss retiring and promoting Tim to President of his sporting goods company, Tim is up for the challenge. But when his boss hires his niece to be the company's new CEO, will Tim be man enough to deal with a young, female supervisor? Written by Jack Burditt ("30 Rock") who will also be executive producing along with Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy, Marty Adelstein, and Becky Clements, this multi-camera family comedy is a modern day All in the Family about a quintessential American man who is trying to reclaim his rightful place in his home and in the workplace.
MAN UP: Will's grandfather fought in WWII. Will's father fought in Vietnam. Will plays Call of Duty on his PS3 and drinks non-dairy hazelnut creamer. So what happened to all the real men? They're still here - they just smell like pomegranate body wash now. Meet Will (Mather Zickel). His evolved, sensitive nature is why his awesome wife Theresa (Teri Polo) married him. But Will and his friends find themselves wondering - in a world of Axe ads and manscaping - what does it really mean to be a guy anymore? Will is more interested in finding the perfect gift for his son Nathan's (Jake Johnson) thirteenth birthday than in doing his job selling insurance, sensitive soul Craig (Christopher Moynihan) still pines for his college ex Lisa, and Kenny (Dan Fogler) clamps down on his anger and asks himself "What would Tobey Maquire do?" when his ex Bridgette (Amanda Detmer) starts seeing a guy known as "the barracuda" (Henry Simmons). But after Craig crashes Lisa's wedding to try to win her back, they all learn that unleashing the manly man within can get them into some seriously sticky situations. In the vein of The Hangover, "Man Up" is the virile new comedy from writer/producer/actor Christopher Moynihan ("100 Questions"), executive producer Victor Fresco ("Better off Ted"), and director Beth McCarthy Miller ("SNL," "30 Rock"), that follows the struggles of three modern male archetypes as they search for their identities and try to prove that "real men" really can use hazelnut creamer.
ONCE UPON A TIME: Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz ("Lost," "Tron") invite you to a bold new vision of the world where fairytales and the modern day are about to collide. Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) knows how to take care of herself. She's a 28-year-old bail bonds collector who's been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. But when the son she gave up years ago finds her, everything will change. Henry (Jared Gilmore) is 10 years old now and in desperate need of Emma's help. Henry believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world ... and is Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White's (Ginnifer Goodwin) missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen's (Lana Parilla) curse, which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time. Of course Emma doesn't believe a word, but when she brings Henry back to Storybrooke, she finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for Henry, she decides to stay for a while, but she soon suspects that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It's a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close ... where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don't remember who they once were - including the Evil Queen who is now Henry's foster mother. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, but for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell. Brace yourself for a modern fable with thrilling twists and hints of darkness. Brimming with wonder, and filled with the magic of our most beloved fairytales, "Once Upon A Time" is a fitting follow up to "Lost" from two master storytellers.
PAN AM: Welcome to the Jet Age. It's 1963 and the whole world is on the brink of a cultural revolution. WWII is history, the Cold War is just getting warmed up and big changes are in the air. In this modern world, air travel represents the height of luxury, and Pan Am is the biggest name in the business. The planes are glamorous, the pilots are rock stars and the stewardesses are the most desirable women in the world. Not only are these flyboys and girls young and good looking; to represent Pan Am, they also have to be educated, cultured and refined. They're trained to handle everything from in-air emergencies to unwanted advances - all without rumpling their pristine uniforms or mussing their hair. There's Dean (Jonah Lotan) - a cocky and ambitious new pilot, the first of a new breed not trained in the war. Against company policy, he's dating Bridget, a motherly beauty with a mysterious past. Rebellious bohemian Maggie (Christina Ricci) buttons up for work so she can see the world. Rounding out the crew is flirtatious Colette (Karine Vanasse), the adventurous Kate (Kelli Garner) and finally there's Laura (Margot Robbie) - Kate's beauty queen sister who recently fled a life of domestic boredom to take to the skies. Passion, jealousy, espionage. They do it all and they do it at 30,000 feet. Mad Men's style meets Grey's Anatomy's entanglements in this thrilling and highly original new drama from producer Nancy Hult Ganis (a former stewardess), writer Jack Orman ("ER") and director Tommy Schlamme ("The West Wing").
REVENGE: Welcome to the Hamptons, a glittering world of incredible wealth and privilege, where smiles hide secrets - and nothing is colder than revenge. It's easy to see why the Hamptons are so exclusive. But no matter how guarded they are, they can't keep the truth out forever. Meet Emily Thorne (Emily Van Camp), a sexy beauty hell-bent on a mission of revenge. When she moves in, everyone wonders about the new girl, but she knows everything about them, including who they are and what they did to her family. Years ago, they took everything from her. Now, one by one, she's going to make them pay. When it comes to revenge, money is no object, because only an eye for an eye will ever make things right. Emily's main target is Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), a powerful and cunning woman who holds the key to Emily's past ... and perhaps her future. As we flash back and forth between the past and the present, Emily tries to ignore ties to her old life. Whatever the danger, Emily refuses to be distracted from her mission. When everything you love has been taken, revenge is all you have left. Executive produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen ("Twilight"), written by Mike Kelley ("Swingtown") and directed by Philip Noyce ("Salt"), this sweeping multi-generation soap is a modern day retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo from a female perspective. Get a glimpse into the lives of the filthy rich and the people who serve them in this scorching new thriller that asks: if someone stole everything from you, how far would you go to get revenge?
THE RIVER: The creators of Paranormal Activity join forces with DreamWorks and Michael Green ("Heroes," "Kings") for a riveting new thriller that takes you deep into the unknown, where the only thing darker than family secrets is the mystery at the heart of the Amazon - mystery that may just have you believe there's magic out there. Famed explorer Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) went looking for magic deep in the uncharted Amazon and never returned. Now, the shocking truth about his disappearance is out there, somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. To the millions of kids who grew up watching his nature show, Dr. Cole was a hero. To his own son Lincoln (Joe Anderson), he was more of an enigma. Now, six months after he vanished, Lincoln is finally ready to bury the past when Dr. Cole's emergency beacon suddenly goes off. At the urging of his mother Tess (Leslie Hope), Lincoln reluctantly joins her on a search for his father. To fund the rescue, they agree to let Dr. Cole's cagey ex-producer Clark (Paul Blackthorne) film the mission documentary-style. The mixed crew of old friends and new acquaintances includes the sexy and resourceful Lena (Eloise Mumford), loyal mechanic Emilio (Daniel Zacapa) and lethal bodyguard Captain Kurt Brynildson (Thomas Kretschmann). Once they find The Magus, the real adventure begins. In the search for Dr. Cole, they will encounter a scary new mystery each week, while struggling with their own personal jealousies, insecurities, secrets and desires. As they venture further into the Amazon, away from the world they know, the crew of The Magus will discover a place where one bad decision can be fatal, and where powerful magic is as real as science.
SCANDAL: When you get into trouble - life-ruining, headline-making trouble - there's only one person to call ... Olivia Price. Olivia (Kerry Washington) is a professional Fixer who makes problems go away before anyone even knows they exist. For the moneyed, the powerful and even the President, Olivia is a legend in her field. Her spectacular success is mostly due to her unbreakable rule of always trust your gut. No matter how careful you are, when you do damage control for a living, you're bound to cause some damage to your own life. She and her crew eat, sleep, live and breathe crisis. It's a major adrenaline rush, but forget relationships ... well, at least outside relationships. Each week, as the team races against the clock to defuse intriguing new problems before they become full-blown disasters, they also have to deal with their own personal issues. They may call themselves 'gladiators in suits', but little by little, Olivia and her crew begin to reveal the chinks in their armor. Creator Shonda Rhimes delivers an insider's guide to the backrooms and bedrooms of the rich and powerful, making Scandal the most hotly anticipated drama of the year - and one that is sure to have everyone talking.
SUBURGATORY: Single father George only wants the best for his sixteen-year-old daughter Tessa. So when he finds a box of condoms on her nightstand, he moves them out of their apartment in New York City to a house in the suburbs. But all Tessa sees is the horror of over-manicured lawns and plastic Franken-moms. Being in the 'burbs can be hell, but it also may just bring Tessa and George closer than they've ever been. Tessa (Jane Levy) and George (Jeremy Sisto) have been on their own ever since Tessa's Mom pulled a Kramer vs. Kramer before Tessa was potty trained. So far, George has done a pretty good job of raising Tessa without a maternal figure in their lives, but suddenly he's feeling a little out of his league. So it's goodbye New York City and hello suburbs. At first Tessa is horrified by the big-haired, fake-boobed mothers and their sugar-free Red Bull-chugging kids, but little by little, she and her dad begin finding a way to survive on the clean streets of the 'burbs. Sure, the neighbors might smother you with love while their kids stare daggers at your back, but underneath all that plastic and caffeine they're really not half bad. Not as awesome as the trannies in their old 'hood, of course, but they do make a tasty pot roast. Emily Kapnek ("Hung") writes and executive produces this bitingly ironic single-camera comedy that combines Juno's heightened reality with Father Knows Best's heart. Tessa and her Dad may be out of their element, but at least they've got each other. When you descend into "Suburgatory," it's good to have backup.
WORK IT: Looking for a job in today's economy can be a real drag. Take Lee Standish (Ben Koldyke), one-time breadwinner and current unemployment statistic. After being laid off, Lee will do anything it takes to support his family - even if it means putting on a skirt and heels. Ever since Lee and his best friend Angel (Amaury Nolasco) lost their jobs at the local Pontiac dealership, they've had to deal with a few cutbacks. Lee's wife Connie's salary is enough to pay the bills, but what about all the little extras in life - like vacations, dates, and cell phone service for their teenage daughter Kat? And is a gig at Astro Tacos really the best Angel can do? It looks like there's no place left for Lee and Angel but their local bar - the last stronghold of masculinity. Their luck changes when Lee overhears a cute drug rep saying that there are plenty of jobs at her company ... for women. Desperate times call for desperate measures. So Lee raids his wife's wardrobe and struts into Fleming Pharmaceutical Company as "Lee" - an awkward, man-ish sales rep with killer credentials and a really sad handbag. His new boss Vanessa is so wowed by his job performance, he's also able to swing a job for his friend Angel, who hopefully may be able to learn how to connect more with women now that he's had to become one himself. Steady employment is great, but there are other perks to their new gig, too. Being a woman makes Lee a better husband and kick-starts Angel's transformation from a womanizer into a respectful, standup guy. "Work It" is a modern day buddy comedy in the hilarious tradition of Bosom Buddies and Some Like It Hot. From Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen ("Friends") and director Beth McCarthy Miller ("30 Rock"), this outrageous multi-camera comedy isn't afraid to go where no man has gone before.
The Alphabet passed on 10 other pilots - comedies "Bad Mom," "Lost & Found," "My Freakin' Family," "Other People's Kids"; dramas "Georgetown," "Grace," "Hallelujah," "Identity," "Partners," "Poe" - while multi-camera entry "Smothered" is said to still be in the mix.