ABCs midseason schedule seems to tread the same areas that haven’t worked for them recently. They seem intent on filling holes with ill-fitting shows. They have kept the post Modern Family slot as a revolving door of new comedies not staying there more than half a season, and lately that includes young skewing ones that just don’t match up with MF’s audience at all. I think it’s finally catching up and starting to hurt the anchor comedies on this night. This week both The Middle and Modern Family got numbers so low that they don’t usually see until late spring. ABC has stopped promoting the current occupants of the :30 slots on the night yet they continue to air them. Back In The Game‘s last scheduled ep is this coming Wednesday but Super Fun Night, at present time, is still scheduled to run thru Feb. (ABC will air Goldbergs/Trophy Wife reruns Wed at 8:30 for 3 weeks beginning 12/18).
Meanwhile their most promising new comedy The Goldbergs is scheduled to stay on Tuesday where it is getting no higher than a 1.7. There’s clearly an audience for the show (albeit a small one currently). Both times it followed an Agents of SHIELD rerun it built by .5 out of it. It’s also been getting a .9 increase in L7 these last few weeks. It’s a perfect fit with Modern Family. Both are big mainstream family comedies. I don’t see how ABC thinks its gonna grow Tue at 9, especially as it clearly shares some comedy audience with New Girl.
Now comes word that ABC has to cut 4 eps of their biggest drama Scandal. I wonder if this latest issue, while not planned, forces ABC to rearrange their midseason schedule to better service their hits and make their nights more cohesive and nurture their growing newbies.
SHIELD is an island on Tuesday. It really needs another male skewing show to follow it. There’s also an opportunity to air a reality show in Jan while The Voice isn’t on. (I assume NBC will be expanding The Biggest Loser to 2 hours in Jan but don’t know for sure). I’ve long suggested Shark Tank for Tue at 9p, yet ABC seems reticent to move it off Friday. They also have a very interesting sounding reality show called The Quest that was scheduled to debut this January and now doesn’t have a premiere date. The Quest sounds like the kind of show that could reignite the reality genre. It feels like a reality version of Game Of Thrones. If network TV needs anything now it’s a show that can make some noise. It should also skew more male than ABCs typical reality show and could make a great tandem with SHIELD and help keep some of their viewers and maybe give more people an incentive to watch it live.It’s also likely to do better than the 1.1 ABC is getting at 9:30 now and could funnel more viewers into their new 10p dramas. I’m guessing this isn’t likely to happen since they would need time to promote it and Tue in late Jan has the State of Union address followed by the Olympics in Feb.
At the very least ABC could air 3 weeks of Shark Tank in Jan, and an extra ep of The Bachelor the first Tue in Feb (like they did last year). Then they might be inclined to bring back the DWTS results show in late March. The demo won’t be high but it will be higher than a 1.1, plus it will at least give them 10 million viewers and their new 10p dramas a much better lead in.
Whatever they do on Tue, it will enable them to move The Goldbergs to Wed at 9:30. This will present ABC with their most cohesive comedy lineup in a while: The Middle-Suburgatory-Modern Family-The Goldbergs. The :30 shows are shows that clearly have an audience and are liked and wouldn’t simply be hammock shows. It would also give The Goldbergs its best opportunity to grow. (Trophy Wife could air in the spring after Suburgatory or The Goldbergs completes their run).
I would assume that ABC wants Scandal on all 4 weeks of May sweeps and returning Feb 27th as planned only to break 4 weeks in the middle sounds like a really bad idea to me. They could instead promote the return of Scandal for March 20th which could be a clip show/catch up/behind the scenes special. Then March 27th they would roll out the final 8 eps uninterrupted thru their May finale. What does ABC do those 3 weeks from 2/27-3/20. That would be a good place for them to double up on eps of Mixology. I know broadcast networks are loathe to air comedies at 10, but Grey’s seems like a much more compatible audience for Mixology than MF anyway. It would have the Grey’s Anatomy winter return to lead into its premiere (likely a bigger than normal Grey’s audience) . The young women that watch Grey’s is the exact audience that likely would watch Mixology. If it bombs – it’s only 3 weeks. But it should also be enough time to display to ABC whether it’s a hit or not without hurting them if it’s the latter.
These moves should make each night stronger. They certainly make each night more cohesive. It also gives them the opportunity to grow their new comedies on a night where they won’t face other comedies and match up better audience wise with the existing hits than recent occupants.