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Sunday, April 7, 2013

WEEKEND REWIND: ABC 2006-07 Season

ABC 2006-07 SEASON
ABC was in an interesting position headed into the 2006-07 season. Two years before, they hit the jackpot with a slew of mammoth hits. Those shows were still going strong but ABC followed it up with a major dry spell as only one new show the next year got renewed (the modestly rated What About Brian). In the 2006-07 season, they found a couple new hits, though not at the levels of the 2004-05 hits like Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy. They made a big gamble by moving Grey's Anatomy to Thursdays and it paid off for them. However, they also had a tough time with several new serial dramas and all their comedies. So it was a mixed year for ABC but it was capped with an excellent showing at the Emmys including a sweep of the four drama acting categories.

(Sep 18-Nov 27)
8:00 Wife Swap
9:00 The Bachelor (starting Oct 2)
10:00 What About Brian (starting Oct 9)

(Dec 4-Mar 12)
8:00 Wife Swap
9:00 Supernanny
10:00 What About Brian

(Mar 19-May 14)
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
9:30 The Bachelor (starting Apr 2)
The 2006-07 season marked ABC's first without Monday Night Football since the 1969-70 season. In its place, ABC went with modestly rated but cheap reality shows including Wife Swap and then The Bachelor followed by Supernanny in December. At 10pm was the second season of What About Brian, the only scripted renewal from the freshman class of 2005-06. It didn't last long though and was cancelled in March. ABC found a strong combo at the end of the season as Dancing with the Stars' performance show moved over from Tuesday and The Bachelor followed with an hour and a half edition starting at 9:30pm. This reality combo proved to be successful and the two shows still air on Mondays now (albeit at different points in the year).

(Sep 26-Nov 14)
8:00 Dancing with the Stars
9:30 Help Me Help You (through Oct 31)
10:00 Boston Legal (through Oct 31)

(Nov 28-Dec 12)
8:00 Various Programming
9:00 Big Day
9:30 Help Me Help You
10:00 Boston Legal

(Dec 19-Jan 9)
8:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (encores, starting Jan 2)
9:00 Big Day
9:30 Big Day
10:00 Boston Legal

(Feb 6-Mar 20)
8:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (encores)
9:00 Primetime: The Outsiders

10:00 Boston Legal

(Mar 27-May 8)
8:00 George Lopez (starting Apr 3)
8:30 George Lopez (starting Apr 17)
9:00 Dancing with the Stars Results
10:00 Boston Legal
"Help Me Help You"
Tuesdays had a lot of different shows from 8-10pm throughout the season. They began with a new season of Dancing with the Stars, which had become a top show the season before and was moved to a higher profile Tues/Weds slot rather than Thurs/Fri. It was followed by the new Ted Danson sitcom Help Me, Help You. This sitcom, featuring Danson as a psychotherapist leading a counseling group, was the first of many failed sitcoms after Dancing, which has yet to be a successful companion with sitcoms. When Dancing ended, various specials occupied the 8pm hour and the new sitcom Big Day premiered at 9pm. Big Day was an odd little sitcom about the lead-up to a wedding day and featuring Marla Sokoloff, Josh Cooke, Wendie Malick, and Kurt Fuller. When Help Me, Help You was cancelled, ABC double pumped Big Day in the 9pm hour. Eventually, they brought America's Funniest Home Videos repeats to the 8pm hour and expanded their Primetime series to a group of specials called Primetime: The Outsiders (one of many Primetime incarnations in this era). Finally, they aired the end of George Lopez's run at 8pm. The show managed to hang around for six modestly rated seasons but it was finally cancelled. It has become a surprise hit in syndication however. With the performance night of Dancing with the Stars moving to Mondays, the results show slid to Tuesdays and took over the 9pm hour. All season long, there was stability at 10pm as Boston Legal occupied the slot. 

(Oct 4-Nov 8)
8:00 Dancing with the Stars Results
9:00 Lost
10:00 The Nine

(Nov 15-Dec 13)
8:00 Show Me the Money (starting Nov 22)
9:00 Day Break
10:00 Various Programming

(Jan 3-31)
8:00 According to Jim (through Jan 17)
8:30 According to Jim
9:00 The Knights of Prosperity
9:30 In Case of Emergency
10:00 Primetime: Medical Mysteries

(Feb 7-21)
8:00 According to Jim
8:30 The Knights of Prosperity
9:00 Various Programming
10:00 Lost

(Feb 28-Apr 11)
8:00 George Lopez
8:30 Various Programming
9:00 According to Jim
9:30 In Case of Emergency
10:00 Lost

(Apr 18-May 16)
8:00 According to Jim
8:30 Notes from the Underbelly
9:00 Various Programming
10:00 Lost
"Notes from the Underbelly"
Wednesday night also went through a lot of changes over the course of the year. The night started off the year with the results of Dancing with the Stars at 8pm, Lost at 9pm, and new series The Nine at 10pm. One of the many shows meant to capitalize on Lost's audience, The Nine was one of the closer clones as it centered on people who became interconnected by a bank robbery gone wrong. Featuring Tim Daly, Chi McBride, and Scott Wolf among others, The Nine lasted an appropriate nine episodes including two that were burned off in August. Due to criticism of the airing schedule of Lost and repeats not really working, ABC opted to air the show through November, then take it off until February where it could run uninterrupted for the rest of the season. It ended around the same time as Dancing and the two shows were replaced by the William Shatner hosted game show Show Me the Money and new drama Day Break. Yet another Lost-style show, Day Break starred Taye Diggs as a man who lives the same day over and over again and must solve a conspiracy. It lasted even less episodes than The Nine as ABC abruptly switched to comedies in January. The long-running According to Jim took over the 8pm hour after taking the fall off. Two new shows aired in the 9pm hour. The odd The Knights of Prosperity was about a group of friends who try to rob celebrities. In Case of Emergency starred David Arquette, Jonathan Silverman, and Lori Loughlin and featured a group of high school friends whose lives hadn't turned out the way they expected. This was an era where ABC had too many niche sitcoms that didn't have mass appeal (a regular criticism of FOX and NBC nowadays). And they had a TON of failed sitcoms this year with Knights and Emergency joining the list. In February, Lost returned, but at 10pm. For the first time in its three years, the show started to lose its audience as it began a slow decline. The rest of the season featured mostly mixed lineups of comedies from 8-10pm leading into Lost. At the end of the season, ABC premiered Notes from the Underbelly, another single camera sitcom. This one was about a group of couples experiencing young parenthood. Much like What About Brian the previous season, this show may have benefited by simply being the last premiere of the season. Since so many sitcoms have bombed, ABC decided to give this one a second chance despite modest ratings.

(Sep 21-Nov 23)
8:00 Ugly Betty (starting Sep 28)
9:00 Grey's Anatomy
10:00 Six Degrees (through Nov 2)

(Nov 30-Mar 8)
8:00 Ugly Betty
9:00 Grey's Anatomy
10:00 Men in Trees

(Mar 15-May 17)
8:00 Ugly Betty
9:00 Grey's Anatomy
10:00 October Road (through Apr 26)
"Ugly Betty"
ABC made some very bold changes to Thursday night as they brought their megahit Sunday drama Grey's Anatomy over to the night that had been trouble for them for decades (except for the short Who Wants to Be a Millionaire phase). This was a major gamble as it had to go again one of TV's top rated shows, CBS's CSI. However, it paid off for them in a big way as Grey's continues to air at the Thursday 9pm slot and CSI does not. It was one of the bolder but more successful scheduling changes in recent memory. ABC also found success at 8pm with the premiere of the critically acclaimed Ugly Betty. The fashion dramedy starring America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams was a surprise success in the 8pm hour with its quirky style catching on. It managed to get respectable ratings airing opposite Survivor and was ABC's first scripted success story in the hour since the 1970s. ABC seemed to have a good thing going for it leading into the new 10pm romantic drama Six Degrees. If you couldn't guess, this show was about people whose lives are interconnected. The show only lasted a few weeks because it lost a huge portion of Grey's audience. It was replaced by Men in Trees, which moved over from Fridays. The show wasn't a huge hit but it did manage to get a second season. At the end of the season, a third drama was tried. October Road was a character-driven drama about a man who returned to his small Massachusetts home town after a decade away. The show also did better than Six Degrees which gave it a second season after its short six episode first season.

(Sep 22-Nov 17)
8:00 Grey's Anatomy (encores)
9:00 Men in Trees (through Nov 10)
10:00 20/20

(Dec 8-29)
8:00 America's Funniest Home Videos (encores)
9:00 20/20

(Jan 12-May 11)
8:00 Grey's Anatomy (encores)
9:00 Various Programming
10:00 20/20
"Men in Trees"
ABC did not do much with Fridays this season as they finally got out of the sitcom business on the night. Most of the season featured Grey's Anatomy repeats in the 8pm hour and they pulled decent numbers. At 9pm, ABC aired the new Men in Trees. Starring Anne Heche, the dramedy featured a wacky cast of characters in the fictional Elmo, Alaska. The show earned comparisons to the early 1990s hit Northern Exposure. The show didn't completely flop on Fridays and got a timeslot upgrade when Six Degrees failed on Thursdays. Various repeats and burnoffs filled in the 9pm hour for the rest of the season as 20/20 continued to air at 10pm. See, very little happened on this night during the 2006-07 season.

(Sep 23-Dec 2)
8:00 College Football

(Dec 9-May 19)
8:00 Saturday Night Movie
Starting this season, ABC started to air College Football on Saturday nights in the fall followed by a movie in the spring. Nothing much to report.

7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
9:00 Desperate Housewives
10:00 Brothers & Sisters
"Brothers & Sisters"
Sunday nights started the same way they had for a couple years with the long standby America's Funniest Home Videos at 7pm, the hit Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at 8pm, and megahit Desperate Housewives at 9pm. ABC had sent Grey's Anatomy over to Thursdays leaving the coveted post-Desperate Housewives slot open. They filled it with the critically acclaimed family drama Brothers & Sisters starring Sally Field and Calista Flockhart among many others. The show was never the mammoth hit that Grey's was but it lasted five full years in the same timeslot. It was criticized at times because ABC never tried other new shows after Desperate Housewives, but it was remarkably consistent for its first four years and gave ABC a very solid Sunday lineup from start to finish.

ABC 2006-07 Stats

Shows in the Top 30
3. Dancing with the Stars (Performance)
5. Dancing with the Stars (Results) 
6. Grey's Anatomy 
12. Desperate Housewives
17. Lost 
25. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Fall Shows Survival: 3/6 (50%)
Men in Trees, Brothers & Sisters, Ugly Betty

Midseason Shows Survival: 2/7 (29%)
October Road, Notes from the Underbelly

Total New Show Survival Rate: 5/13 (38%)

Cancelled/Ended Shows
George Lopez (6 seasons)
American Inventor/What About Brian (2 seasons)
Six Degrees/Help Me Help You/The Nine/Show Me the Money/Day Break/Big Day/The Knights of Prosperity/In Case of Emergency (1 season)

Emmy Award Nominees & Winners (Major Categories)
Boston Legal (Nominee, Outstanding Drama Series)
Grey's Anatomy (Nominee, Outstanding Drama Series)
Ugly Betty (Nominee, Outstanding Comedy Series)
James Spader, Boston Legal (WINNER, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series)
Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters (WINNER, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series)
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty (WINNER, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series)
Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series)
Terry O'Quinn, Lost (WINNER, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
Michael Emerson, Lost (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
TR Knight, Grey's Anatomy (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
William Shatner, Boston Legal (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series)
Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy (WINNER, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series) 

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