Rethinking the Later Start for Once Upon A Time:

So the other day I questioned why ABC was delaying the premiere of Once Upon A Time a month and leaving EM:HE leading into DH for the first month of the season. I qualified that since they are debuting 2 new Sunday dramas, it makes sense to separate the premieres so that each receives a fair amount of promotion, but a month? That I didn’t understand. The more I think about it, premiering Once Upon A Time October 23rd actually is a smart decision. Let me explain why.

With the premiere in late October there will only be 8 eps scheduled before the end of 2011. (There is one preemption in November for the American Music Awards). That makes two October eps, 3 in November and 3 (at most) in December. ABC only has 2 Sundays in February to schedule their regular lineup since the first week is the Super Bowl and the last week is the Oscars. If Once Upon A Time works, I could see ABC ordering 24 eps, (Only 23 will actually needed to be produced this season since the pilot is already filmed.) If they schedule 3 new eps in January, 2 in February and assuming there’s a week preemption in May for the Billboard Music Awards, Once Upon A Time will be virtually new and uninterrupted the entire season (excluding those special event weeks). This will help the flow for a serialized show like this. It will also keep ABC Sunday rerun free all year.

Today, I proposed a scenario where they could run G.C.B in March in place of DH reruns. Assuming that’s a possibility it will have an original Once Upon A Time lead in every week and ABC Sundays will be mostly new all season and it solves that problem they have every Spring when they have to run low rated reruns. (I could also see ABC choosing to run The River beginning in March in the 9p Sunday slot. Would fit well out of OUAT. But these are all premature ideas that won’t be decided until the fall shows premiere and ABC can see what/where their needs are). Whatever show goes there, the more I think about it, I could see ABC premiering one of their new midseason shows Sun at 9 in March in lieu of Housewives reruns.

All this assumes Once Upon A Time works. Obviously that’s not a guarantee. (I assume if it doesn’t, Secret Millionaire will be ready to go in that slot). But contrary to what my snap judgment said on Monday, after thinking about it, I do understand the logic to ABC premiering OUAT in late October. I think part of my questioning it involved that they would be using EM:HE those 4 weeks at the start of the season. I still don’t think it’s ideal,  but I understand it now: They get to spread out the premieres of both Sunday dramas and give each their fair share of promotion, AND they can keep Once Upon A Time rerun free all year.

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