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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

UPFRONTS 2013: What ABC Should Do

It's ABC's turn today. This is what I think ABC should do, not my prediction of what they will do. ABC has a lineup that's all over the place. They had great news from Shark Tank and Scandal as both shows have shown remarkable growth. However, Dancing with the Stars, Once Upon a Time, and Revenge are fading and no new shows have broken out. So ABC needs to be aggressive with new shows and not rest on their laurels. Some long needed timeslot changes are necessary too and they have to fix the troubled Thursday 8pm and Sunday 10pm slots. Check out what I said ABC should do in 2011 and 2012 as well as a rundown of ABC pilots.

8:00 The Bachelor
I would make big changes on Monday. First of all, I think ABC needs to give Dancing with the Stars a rest. I think taking a cycle off would reinvigorate the fading franchise. With the Olympics in February on NBC, what I would do with Mondays is: air The Bachelor through November, air Celebrity Wife Swap and Body of Proof in December/January, and then air Dancing with the Stars in March. This way, Dancing only gets one cycle and The Bachelor doesn't have to compete with the Olympics. Now part of me wanted to keep Castle where it is because of the 8pm changes but I also think it's time for ABC to let Castle shore up Tuesdays and give a new show a chance. A possible replacement is Murder in Manhattan, which seems like it could have the same appeal Castle does with its crime themed dramedy feel.

9:00 S.H.I.E.L.D.
10:00 Castle
I would swing big on Tuesdays if I'm ABC. One of the most anticipated pilots on any network is S.H.I.E.L.D. from Joss Whedon.. The superhero show should be ABC's new 9pm anchor especially if they don't have results from Dancing with the Stars to air. If any show is likely to breakout, this is the one and they don't have to protect it with a lead-in. I would gamble at 8pm with Big Thunder, an adventure series based on the Disney ride. This seems like a family friendly show for 8pm and could be a good lead-in for S.H.I.E.L.D. These two shows put together could really revitalize ABC. The 10pm slot could go to Castle and I think it would manage to get similar numbers to what it gets on Mondays right now. I really think this is ABC's best bet for getting things kick-started on Tuesdays and they could really make their mark on this night.

8:00 The Middle
9:00 Modern Family
9:30 How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)
10:00 Nashville
Wednesdays will of course continue to be a comedy block with The Middle at 8pm and Modern Family at 9pm. In-between, I would keep How to Live with Your Parents at the 9:30pm slot. It has been a decent partner to Family this spring, enough so to deserve another chance at following to see if it can be the long-desired companion to Family. I don't think Suburgatory deserves to stay on this night after it mangled the 9:30pm slot this year. I would instead launch the most promising new one which, to me, seems like it would be How the Hell Am I Normal? The 80s family comedy seems like it would be the best fit on the night. I also think the 8:30pm slot might be a better spot because sandwiching a new show between The Middle and Modern Family seems to be a better option than the post-Family slot (look at Suburgatory's first year). I struggled with 10pm but I guess I would keep Nashville there. They should have never moved Revenge and aired Nashville at 10pm Mondays but that didn't happen. Now that they've committed to Nashville, I'd keep it here and hope it grows. ABC needs to air the episodes in more of a straight sequence next year.

8:00 Shark Tank
9:00 Grey's Anatomy
10:00 Scandal
Thursday at 8pm is one of the most challenging slots for ABC. Nothing has worked here in years so I would give it to Shark Tank, which continues to overperform on Fridays. Reality is probably the way to go so if they don't put Shark Tank here, I would put a different reality show. 9-11pm certainly shouldn't change and anyone who thinks Scandal should air at 9pm is crazy. It's putting up 10pm numbers that no other network show is, there is absolutely no need to change that.

8:00 Last Man Standing
8:30 Malibu Country
9:30 Suburgatory
10:00 20/20
I think it's time for ABC to gamble and restore a four comedy Friday night block for the first time in years. The Last Man Standing/Malibu Country pairing was ok and I think it should continue. Having more comedies after that might actually help the 8pm show. I would air the new entry - the Cullen Brothers project starring James Caan - at 9pm and lead that into Suburgatory, which should be on a different night. I don't think the 9pm comedies would pull the numbers Shark Tank was but I see it as a win overall because Shark should certainly improve the Thursday 8pm slot. We may be past the point of being able to restore TGIF but it's worthy one more try.

8:00 College Football
As it should be.

7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00 Once Upon a Time
10:00 Revenge
Sundays have started to fall apart this midseason. I'm not sure this is a real better solution but it should be an improvement. Revenge proved it couldn't handle the 9pm slot so I would slide it to 10pm where it should be able to improve on the ugly numbers 666 Park Avenue and Red Widow got this year. At 9pm, I would air Gothica, which seems like a darker version of Once Upon a Time. It would be a nice bridge from Once to Revenge. This night might still need some attention if Once or Revenge continue to fall, but I do think it's a better option for the night.

MIDSEASON: Body of Proof, Celebrity Wife Swap, Dancing with the Stars, The Neighbors, SUPER FUN NIGHT, TROPHY WIFE, KILLER WOMEN, ONCE: WONDERLAND, THE RETURNED
I struggled with whether to put Body of Proof on this list or the cancellation list but I would keep it around just to have one veteran drama on the bench. As I already said, that and Wife Swap could go on Mondays to bridge The Bachelor and Dancing. The Neighbors can be a Friday replacement whether because of cancellation of another show or just a hiatus. I would give it a short episode order. As for the new shows, Super Fun Night seems worth a pickup to snag Rebel Wilson but I'm not really sure where it would go. I would pick up Trophy Wife which has a good cast and could be a Friday or Wednesday option if something fails. Frankly, I don't think ABC's development is that strong based on loglines and especially in the drama department. As for the dramas, Killer Women could take a 10pm slot somewhere while Once: Wonderland can be on deck for Sundays and The Returned can fill in a gap somewhere. With so many serialized dramas that don't repeat well, ABC should really consider sharing timeslots.

CANCELLED/ENDED: 666 Park Avenue, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, The Family Tools, Happy Endings, Last Resort, Primetime: What Would You Do?, Private Practice, Red Widow, Splash, The Taste, Zero Hour
Nothing too surprising here. Yes, I'm cancelling The Family Tools before it airs. I'm just that down on it.

Tomorrow: CBS!

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