Saturday, May 14, 2011

Playing Programmer: ABC

The Upfronts is the time when US networks announce their new schedule for the next TV season (which starts every September in the US) and also around this time when pilots get picked up to series and current shows get cancelled. It's a bittersweet time since we say goodbye to old shows (a lot of times those shows don't get proper finales) but exciting to see the fresh crop of shows coming soon on the small screen. I personally love this time of the year because I love "playing programmer" and formulate what would be their TV schedules and with the announcement of the pilots going to series and shows cancelled I would start guessing/suggesting/dreaming how the networks would program next season. I usually do this at the website TV By The Numbers (my favorite ratings TV site.) Anyway, I'll start with the network I'm most interested in which is ABC. Shows that were canceled are "Brothers & Sisters" after a 5 season run (the season 5 finale had a series finale feel to it so fans got closure), sophomore "V" and a slew of freshman shows "No Ordinary Family" (like the concept and the cast but the execution was problematic), "Better With You" (I'm very sad about this because this sitcom grew on me), "Mr. Sunshine" (Great cast but it wasn't clicking), "Off The Map" and "Detroit 187". Dana Delany's "Body of Proof" and sitcom "Happy Endings" survived to see a second season. ABC picked up TWELVE new shows (7 hourlong dramas and 5 half hour sitcoms) and you can check out the premises of those new shows via

Here's my 'schedule' for ABC (new shows are in bold).


7pm: America's Funniest Home Videos
8pm: Once Upon A Time
9pm: Desperate Housewives
10pm: Pan Am

I'll stick with AFHV there since it does fine against football overruns and it's a low cost show that has been there for several years and it's a family oriented show that is fit for my prospect 8pm show which is "Once Upon A Time" a fantasy dramedy which tells the story of a woman who discovers a place where it feels like a fairy tale on the modern world. It has family appeal which is perfect for this slot. ABC has aired Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at this timeslot for several years but the recent ratings have been dropping and ABC needs to shake up their Sunday programming and this is the time to be aggressive. DH will stay on the same slot while it experienced series low ratings this season, the show still has some ratings power to help boost a new show at 10pm and I'm picking 60s drama about flight attendants "Pan Am". Honestly, I think this show will be a tough sell, a period drama on broadcast network? Good luck! But I applaud ABC for taking a risk and I think a sophisticated period drama might do well on a Sunday timeslot.


8-10pm: Dancing With The Stars
10pm: Good Christian Belles

Castle does fine after DWTS for the past 3 seasons but it's time for the show to move on a new slot and give it to ABC's most buzzed project "Good Christian Belles" which is a suburban soap ala Desperate Housewives. DWTS is the biggest lead in ABC has so it makes sense for ABC to use it to help launch this high profile project.


8:00 pm: Last Man Standing
8:30 pm: Work It / Man Up
9 pm: Dancing With The Stars Results Show
10 pm: Body of Proof

90s Sitcom star Tim Allen returns on TV via "Last Man Standing" and Tim Allen is a big TV star that appeals to the mass audience and his return to TV will be anticipated so I say ABC risk it and try Last Man Standing launch a new comedy block. Both "Work It" and "Man Up" are male-centric sitcoms that would complement Last Man Standing's", so either show could get the slot while the other will wait for midseason. If only ABC renewed "Better With You" I'll place it at the 8:30 slot. DWTS and Body of Proof will stay on their current slots as it will give the network stability and BOP has been a solid performer on that slot and ABC lacks a procedural hit and BOP is their best bet for success in that genre so might as well nurture it.


8:00 pm: The Middle
8:30 pm: Suborgatory
9 pm: Modern Family
9:30 pm: Apt. 23
10:00 pm: Castle

New show Suborgatory which is about a city girl forced to live with his estranged dad in the suburbs feels like a good bridge between the two family shows since it's family centric show as well. Apt. 23 ( what a boring title from the original "Don't Trust The Bitch in Apartment 23" I hope they change it) is said to be the one among the new sitcoms that tested well so it just makes sense for ABC to give it the best possible launch pad for a new sitcom. ABC has struggled at Wednesdays at 10pm for several seasons so this is my choice to move Castle with. The show has a lighter tone which would complement the sitcoms earlier that night and will finally give ABC a solid player for the timeslot.


8 pm: Charlie's Angels
9 pm: Grey's Anatomy
10 pm: Scandal

Thursday primetime has premium ad revenue due to movie ads (Friday is when new movies open usually in the US) and ABC has struggled with Thursday at 8pm for the past 3 seasons already so I'll put this remake of Charlie's Angels here since it has brand recall already that could help the network gain a traction on that slot once again. I'll place Shonda Rhimes' new drama about public relations "Scandal" after Grey's Anatomy because it will be a good marketing avenue since it could attract Grey's viewers to check out Shonda's new show


8 pm: Celebrity Wife Swap
9 pm: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
10 pm: 20/20

Fridays is terribly too low rated over all that keeping an all unscripted line up makes more financial sense. The celebrity twist on Wife Swap is in the works already and it has a potential to reinvigorate the tired reality franchise just like in The Apprentice. After several seasons on Sunday, I'll move heartwarming reality show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition while it would certainly drop from its Sunday ratings it would likely keep a good chuck of its ratings on the move to a new night.


ABC has college football coverage here

The River

Both these new shows are heavily serialized so it would work best for them if they will air uninterrupted and a midseason launch is the way to go.

Secret Millionaire
Shark Tank
Winter/Spring Wipeout

These reality shows could fill in the gaps when most shows are on midseason break (or plug holes for disastrous freshman flops)

Private Practice
Cougar Town
Happy Endings

The ratings for all these three shows are mediocre so I'll save them for midseason or as back up to replace when a new show flops horribly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your schedule makes too much sense. I'm not convinced that ABC will continue trying to launch new shows at 8pm though.