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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

UPFRONTS 2014: What ABC Should Do

ABC has had a rough year with their new shows from underperformers like Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Goldbergs to several straight up bombs. They do have one of TV's top success stories in Scandal though and they also have several cornerstone shows. I think ABC needs to shake up its schedule for than they usually do because they can't keep letting shows fail in the same slots (like three of them bombing on Tuesday at 10pm).

Past Years: 2013   2012   2011

8:00 Dancing with the Stars
I have often advocated for ABC to move Castle and I'm saying it again. This is not because I think Dancing with the Stars is a great lead-in but because Castle is needed elsewhere. Plus, if NBC does in fact move The Blacklist, there may be a chance for a new show to gain some ground here. I would propose the soapy Dangerous Liasons, which would be a good fit out of both Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor. Part of me still thinks The Bachelor should be the show airing two cycles but Dancing has done alright this spring and it might keep The Bachelor fresher to just do one cycle a year.

8:00 Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
10:00 Castle
The comedy block on Tuesday hasn't worked for a couple years now so I think it's time to abandon that idea. Despite underperforming, I would give Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. one more chance on Tuesday at 8pm and hope it can at least level off. At 9pm, I would try a new drama and the dark, gritty American Crime would be an interesting choice, even if it seems more like a 10pm show. ABC had three failed new dramas in the 10pm slot this year with Lucky 7, Killer Women, and Mind Games. All three bombed horribly and so it's time for ABC to move an established show here. I think the best bet to get ABC out of the doldrums in this slot is for them to move Castle over a night.

8:00 The Middle
8:30 The Goldbergs
9:00 Modern Family
First of all, ABC needs to correct one of the most egregious errors of this year and put The Goldbergs where it belongs: on Wednesdays between The Middle and Modern Family. I don't blame them for trying to jump start Tuesdays but when it was clear it wasn't working, this show should have moved because it has surprised at times on Tuesdays. It is a perfect fit with the existing anchor shows. At 9:30pm, ABC needs to add another family show - not a show like Super Fun Night or Mixology. I think the 90s-set Far East Orlando could be an interesting addition. I think ABC needs to save either Revenge or Nashville for midseason. Both shows have some serious issues and ABC needs to take more chances in the fall. I would bench Revenge and ship Nashville to Sundays so I could launch the new Shonda Rhimes drama How to Get Away with Murder. It shouldn't be with the other two Shonda Thursday dramas but it should be nearby. It could be an upgrade from Nashville if it catches on.

9:00 Grey's Anatomy
10:00 Scandal
Pretty much the only thing ABC has not tried in the Thursday 8pm slot is comedies so why not give it a try with two new multi-camera sitcoms? They might be able to carve out an audience before The Big Bang Theory returns after CBS' eight weeks of football. Cristela has been testing well and Kevin Hart is attached to Keep It Together and he's a huge name right now. Both have minority leads and that population is underrepresented on sitcoms right now. Basically what is there to lose? Another drama here would be ridiculously foolish and Shark Tank has proven to be better on Fridays. The hit Shonda dramas should stay from 9-11pm. Some think Scandal should be a lead-in somewhere else but this is one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" situations for me. There's no saying that Scandal will be as strong elsewhere or that a different drama would do as well. People have made Thursday 10pm appointment viewing for Scandal. No reason to mess with that.

8:00 Last Man Standing
9:00 Shark Tank
10:00 20/20
I would keep Fridays mostly the same except I think ABC can do better than The Neighbors at 8:30pm and a multi-camera family comedy like Last Man Standing makes more sense. Henry Winkler's vehicle The Winklers is a great fit with Last Man because it also features an aging sitcom veteran in a new family sitcom. It seems like it could have the same type of audience. I wouldn't move Shark Tank or 20/20.

8:00 College Football
As usual.

7:00 America's Funniest Home Videos
8:00 Once Upon a Time
9:00 Resurrection
10:00 Nashville
I think Sundays need to not be the main focus because 8pm is solid with Once Upon a Time. 9pm is a question mark with Resurrection because it has been consistently falling, but it could revitalize itself if it has a big season finale and can market itself well over the summer. I would save Revenge for midseason and instead put Nashville at 10pm. I guess Nashville could live another season but I would maybe only give both it and Revenge a half-season and see which one is stronger or if both need to go if ABC can find some new drama success stories. Let them duke it out in the Sunday 10pm slot between the two halves of the season. Maybe one will surprise.

I don't think ABC needs to keep a lot of its bubble shows. In fact, I would only save The Bachelor and Revenge for midseason unless they want to keep a filler show like Celebrity Wife Swap or The Great Christmas Light Fight. ABC could do some split seasons again with fillers in-between. It didn't work great this year but it might work better if they have better fillers. That's where I see the dramas potentially going while sitcoms An American Education and Irreversible could go any number of places especially since I had four hours of sitcoms on the fall schedule.

CANCELLED: The Assets, Back in the Game, Betrayal, Black Box, Celebrity Wife Swap, The Great Christmas Light Fight, Killer Women, Lucky 7, Mind Games, Mixology, The Neighbors, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Suburgatory, Super Fun Night, The Taste, Trophy Wife
ABC's bubble shows like Suburgatory, The Neighbors, Mixology, and Trophy Wife should not survive. It's time for ABC to be more aggressive.

Tomorrow: CBS!

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