Attempting To Guess ABCs Midseason Sked:

ABC just cancelled 666 Park Avenue (as expected) and Last Resort. I maintain that they should have at least tried LR even just once Tue at 10 (What did they have to lose? Wouldn’t have done any worse than Private Practice did this past week).  But I guess the fact that it trended down the last 2 weeks, getting a series low 1.2 on Thursday, sealed its fate. I’m really bummed that something different and ambitious with terrific actors and smart creators/showrunners that was COMMERCIAL (this weeks great ep featured action, compelling drama and sex!) couldn’t even get a high 1 (which would have gotten them a back 9 by ABC).

Now that what we know what pieces aren’t gonna be a part of ABCs midseason sked, it’s possible to try to conjecture what they might do:

  • As I previously suggested, I think Nashville should go to Sunday where there is no major broadcast drama or cable drama in the 10p slot come January. (abc-should-move-nashville-to-sunday). It will fit well our of the two other ABC dramas but is also different enough that it will offer something more to those who have already been watching ABC and also to those who aren’t. But it’s not crazy to think ABC might just leave Nashville on Wed too.
  • As I previously suggested, I still maintain that there is a major broadcast hole Tue from 9-11 and ABC should seize that opportunity by moving Shark Tank to Tue at 9 and following it with their most male skewing new drama, Zero Hour. (a-reality-show-and-maybe-shark-tank-is-abcs-best-option-tue-at-9).  The FOX and NBC comedies are not doing anything major at 9 (and the 2.2 Go On got this week had much to do with The Voice leading into it. Shark Tank got a 2.1 on FRIDAY last week out of a 1.6.) In January there’s no Voice and even with 3 nets surrendering at 9, the best NCIS:LA can do is get a 2.8. Shark Tank could at the very least be a strong #2 in the hour and make a ABC a player on a night they havent been for quite some time. The 10p hour isn’t getting more than a 1.9 on broadcast and Sons of Anarchy will be done by January. Zero Hour would seem a good fit out of Shark Tank. I would have suggested ABC try Last Resort here, but now that that is moot,  ZH seems a decent possibility.
  • I appear to be in the minority on suggesting ABC rest DWTS this Spring.  (abc-should-rest-dwts-after-this-season-concludes-yes-that-means-sit-out-the-spring-season). It’s been trending down for the last 3 seasons and even with a new cast, I can’t imagine its gonna suddenly bloom this spring with DST and The Voice returning. This past week its 2 shows got a 2.1/1.9. That ain’t good and more importantly –  any lower will absolutely finish the franchise. Rest it until the very least, next fall and they have a chance to reboot it (and in the process The Voice might be less potent) like they did with The Bachelor 6 years ago. In my post suggesting they rest it, I suggested they move to Castle to 9 in the spring. That show is basically getting the same DWTS numbers at 10. Is it ideal? No. but neither is another lower rated DWTS season this spring. In fact, that’s worse for them in the long run. (If ABC does indeed air another cycle of DWTS this spring, I think they should air the first couple of weeks on Sunday. This way they won’t be competing directly with The Voice and their Sun dramas will need a 3 week rerun break anyway).

So what does ABC do with the big holes – Tue at 8/Thu at 8/Wed at 10. On deck ABC has the dramas Zero Hour, Red Widow, and Mistresses (originally pegged for Sumner with The Bachelorette and unless ABC rests DWTS, I see no reason to change that. If they do rest DWTS this Spring it will be needed and can be used Sun or Mon). They also have the comedies How To Live With Your Parents For The Rest of Your Life and Family Tools. They have two reality shows in production – the Anthony Bourdain cooking competition The Taste and the Celebrity Diving show, Celebrity Splash. I don’t know the status of either and its possible only one or neither of them will be ready for January, so any suggestion on where to put them might prove futile. It’s also possible once in production, ABC was less enamored with their prospects and one or both become less than ideal midseason options.

Pavan At SitcomsOnline.com Suggests that ABC slot Celebrity Splash Tue at 8. (showpost.php?p=4743492&postcount=167). I am inclined to agree with him. If ABC does indeed do Shark Tank and Zero Hour from 9-11, the diving show would be a compatible lead into ST. The Bourdain cooking competition show also could be an option for Tue at 8, as there is no reality competition in that slot til The Voice returns the last week of March. The current plan for Tue at 8 is for FOX to stay status quo with their underperforming comedies and NBC to schedule an hour of Betty White off Their Rockers. The only real competition in the hour is NCIS and a Celeb Diving show or Cooking Competition could make enough initial noise to stick out.  Part of me thinks NBC and FOX might blink, aware that their prospects in the hour make them vulnerable and might change course (FOX has that Office Firing reality show that could make some noise as well and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them schedule the 4 eps here for example. Otherwise it sounds like a 4 week experiment post IDOL on Thursday).

I also am inclined to agree with Pavan that ABC could expand TGIF to include The Neighbors and Family Tools from 9-10 Friday at 9. While The Neighbors is doing okay Wed at 8:30, it’s dropping from The Middle and that will likely only get tougher with Idol in the mix. When it premiered, a few critics noted that The Neighbors would make a good Friday show and I could see it doing okay Friday. (If not, Wife Swap. What Would You Do or Secret Millionaire would be good Fri 9p options). But once again, it’s entirely possible ABC says you know what, we were #1 on the night with Shark Tank and What Would You do and just return to that OR leave the night as is with the comedies at 8 (after 3 weeks they’re getting a higher total viewer number than WWYD and about the same demo number) and ST at 9 (until Nightline moves in, in March). It’s entirely possible ABC won’t want to mess with ST just yet (though their special Tue airing on December 4th leads me to think they are seriously thinking about it).  

How To Live always seemed like a good Wednesday option. I thought it was ABCs backup should The Neighbors flatline immediately. I do think if it joins Wed in January, it would make sense for ABC to move Suburgatory back to 8:30 where it was a better bridge to Modern Family than The Neighbors is and schedule How To Live at 9:30 where it should be able to get the same 2.4 that Suburgatory got this week.  

So what do they do Thu at 8p? Well it’s clear at this point that they won’t try another new drama here. As much as I was in favor of that last spring, it’s clear that’s not a great option now, especially with the stronger Idol about to premiere. Plus I don’t think any of ABCs midseason options are remotely as strong as Last Resort. So it would appear that reality is their best option. But the thing is, if ABC has a strong NEW reality option (if they are bullish on The Taste or Celebrity Splash), I don’t think Thu at 8 is a great place for it. TBBT just got a massive 5.7 this week. Idol will do at least a 4.0. So that leaves Wife Swap and I don’t think that’s the right show or fit for important Thu. It doesn’t match up well with the the strong dramas ABC has on the night. I’d be suggesting Secret Millionaire here, but I assume ABC feels less confident after how the show performed this past Summer.  My suggestion at the moment is leaning towards Body of Proof. Yes it’s an older skewing procedural but there isn’t one in that hour currently where Bones once flourished. Last spring it got 10 mil  1.9/2.0. Do I think it will set the world on fire? No. But it has to go somewhere and I’d rather it go in a troubled timeslot where it will do a number as opposed to Tue at 10 (where many think it will end up). At best it will be a 1.5 Tue at 10 and I think ABC has an opportunity to air a new drama like Zero Hour there where there is no competition. Thu at 8 is a busy timeslot and if BoP gets a 1.5 and 6-7 million that’s no worse than any previous occupant has gotten and as a drama it will lead well into Grey’s. They will be able to command more ad money with that show than any reality show. The show is moving in a more Castle direction (with the addition of Mark Valley) and slotting this show here gives this show a spot on the sked where a lower number will be acceptable (unlike Tue at 10). It will lead well into the other dramas, command higher ad rates than a reality show, be good counterprogramming to other shows in the hour, and give ABC a show that doesn’t require lots of promotion in a tough slot. (If ABC does indeed rest DWTS, it might be needed elsewhere but it’s not looking like they will).

That leaves Wed at 10. I think what ends up going here depends on what they do with the rest of their schedule. Obviously this would seem a decent place for Happy Endings/Apt 23 on paper, but ever since that spring ’11 experiment, ABC seems reticent to try comedies at 10 again. I kind of understand it since they probably need to make sure their affiliates have a decent lead to their local news and Apt 23 at 10:30 won’t do more than 4 million. While I’m less convinced about the future of Apt 23, I assume ABC is committed to Happy Endings at least though its 22 order this season. They co own the show and its one of their more critically acclaimed comedies, and ABC themselves appear to be big fans. But in all honesty, even a middling performer like Body Of Proof will assuredly get a higher total viewer and demo number Wed at 10 than those comedies and I’m sure ABCs affiliates would perfer that lead in, as would ABC prefer a bigger number for their nightly average. This all makes me think ABC is not gonna move comedies to this slot. Should they move Nashville to Sunday, this might be a good slot for Red Widow, but I believe that only has an 8 ep order. Hence, I’m not really sure on Wed at 10 yet and will revisit.

I assume ABC will set their midseason sked before Thanksgiving Eve this Wed, so we’ll get clarity on this pretty soon.

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3 Responses to Attempting To Guess ABCs Midseason Sked:

  1. forg9587 says:

    I’m all for DWTS taking a rest so for my imaginary schedule. So this is more “fantasy” than a guess to what their schedule will be:

    Sunday

    7 PM – AFHV
    8 PM – Once Upon a Time
    9 PM – Revenge
    10 PM – Mistresses

    Monday
    8 PM – Bachelor
    10 PM – Castle

    after Bachelor ends

    8 PM – The Taste
    9 PM – Castle
    10 PM – Red Widow

    Tuesday

    8 PM – Shark Tank
    9 PM – Zero Hour
    10 PM – Body of Proof

    Wednesday

    8 PM – The Middle
    8:30 PM – Suburgatory
    9 PM – Modern Family
    9:30 PM – How To Live With Your Parents
    10 PM – Nashville

    Thursday
    8 PM – Celebrity Wife Swap
    9 PM – Grey’s Anatomy
    10 PM – Scandal

    Friday
    8 PM -Last Man Standing
    8:30 PM – Malibu Country
    9 PM – The Neighbors
    9:30 PM – Happy Endings / Family Tools
    10 PM – 20/20

    I think Apt. 23 is done. Happy Endings will likely get pushed to syndication numbers since it’s produced buy Sony and ABC who both have syndication needs so it will likely get a Friday slot ditto The Neighbors.

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