ABC comedy Tuesday did come in 4th as expected and while it didn’t drop that much from their DWTS lead, considering NBC massives lead at 8p and New Girl‘s steady 2.7, there’s not much room for the other ABC comedies to grow beyond these lower numbers. Premieres usually do better than subsequent eps and while it’s certainly possible they hold in future weeks, next weeks 2 hour The Voice won’t help.
One could make the argument that once DWTS ends at end of Nov the comedies will fall even more, but considering there are already similar skewing comedies in the hour, and they didn’t drop by much (2.2 -1.9-1.7), it’s also possible they hang in this area. It is interesting that given The Voice’s strong numbers at 8p, The New Normal was virtually tied with Apt 23 at 9:30. In all the 18-34 demos, it outright beat TNN.
One week is definitely too soon to make a snap judgement (which I am aware I am doing), but this may not be a long term ABC option for ABC at 9, mostly, I think, because of the similar comedy logjam and because ABCs biggest hit of the night, DWTS, is off in a few weeks. What does ABC do in Jan? Do they air those other brand new comedies at 8? Maybe not. For the moment, I am thinking that maybe they slide the 9p comedies up an hour and air a reality show at 9 (They have Wife Swap on tap which won’t do more than a 2.0 and an Anthony Bourdain cooking competition show whose potential is unknown). A reality show is the hole here, with older skewing NCIS:LA and 2 sets of similar skewing comedies, and ABC would be best served going after that audience.
If ABC is bullish on the Bourdain show, that’s an option here. Another strong option is Shark Tank. I’ve already suggested ABC rest DWTS in the spring and one of the options to fill in for it that I suggested, was that they move ST to Mon at 8. (abc-should-rest-dwts-after-this-season-concludes-yes-that-means-sit-out-the-spring-season)
A much better option would be to move Shark Tank to Tue at 9 (already better than Mon at 8, where it would face The Voice). It’s getting 7 million and a 2.0 on Friday, already much higher than what the Tue comedies pulled last night and that was on Friday. It would have the reality audience all to itself Tue at 9 and could potentially do very well, and even add some new viewers, in addition to being excellent counterprogamming. It would give ABC a strong anchor for the night, which they currently don’t have. Come Feb, ABC might be best served with ST at 9 and a new drama at 10. I’ve also suggested that ABC should go after the hole at 10 and schedule a new drama there. (10p-tue-is-still-open-for-a-big-network-hit). With Vegas down to a 1.5 (with the strongest 9p lead of all the nets) and no broadcast show getting a 2.0 at 10p, I could see Shark Tank followed by (possibly) Zero Hour being a good 9-11p option for ABC beginning in Feb.
As far as the ABC comedies comedies go, I feel strongly that Happy Endings is still a very strong creative option for the network and has a huge cult audience and a 1.9 isn’t horrible when the highest rated show of the hour is a 2.7. ABC wasn’t likely expecting much more than it got. It’s also possible they could slide down HE to 10pm at some point (or 8p like I mentioned above), or far all I know it might stay at 9p all season and do fine here. I’m not exactly sure where it ends up this year, but I think it’s still an important show for ABC and will find a place on the sked. Apt 23 held most of of its lead (and it faced X Factor which HE didn’t) and should ABC move it up or down on the night, these two shows are certainly compatible.