Network Upfronts Preview: ABC

abc logoSimilar to FOX, ABC is in trouble.  They launched a number of new series that failed to catch on, with three of them coming from the Tuesday 10/9c timeslot.  Despite all of the misfires, they did find some traction with Agents of ShieldThe Goldbergs, and Resurrection, although none are breakout hits.  Where does ABC have to put its focus next season?  I’d suggest a makeover of Tuesday night (again), and a few changes on Monday and Wednesday.  In a bit of a surprise this season, ABC has a number of multi-camera comedies in development.

MONDAY
8 – Dancing with the Stars
10 – Secrets and Lies (new drama)
Analysis: After somewhat of a resurgence this season, Dancing with the Stars isn’t going anywhere.  I would; however, move Castle after six seasons in the timeslot.  It should have its own audience by this point and clear the timeslot for a new series.  ABC seems to be high on Secrets and Lies, so I’d suggest placing that in the hour.

TUESDAY
8 – Agents of Shield
9 – Untitled Kevin Hart comedy (new comedy)
930 – Untitled Anthony Anderson comedy (new comedy)
10 – Castle (new night)
Analysis: Tuesdays are a mess for ABC, but I still could not figure out a schedule that was 100% perfect.  Agents of Shield has done well enough in the lead off spot to remain there for at least another season.  Now here is where it gets tricky.  ABC has two mutli-camera pilots that are testing very well, one from Kevin Hart, the other from Anthony Anderson.  ABC will most likely not place them on Wednesdays, where single-camera comedies dominate.  Thursdays at 8 is a no-no, given they’d have to face the NFL and, most likely, The Big Bang Theory later on.  That basically leaves Tuesday and Sunday, and ABC isn’t placing comedies on Sunday.  Will it work?  I’m not quite sure, but with FOX comedies slipping, ABC has a chance to dominate with more broad-appealing comedies.  I’d round out the night with reliable Castle.

WEDNESDAY
8 – The Middle
830 – Suburgatory
9 – Modern Family
930 – The Goldbergs (new night and time)
10 – How to Get Away with Murder (new drama)
Analysis: I wanted to make big changes on the night, but I don’t see it happening, especially if ABC launches five new series (as I have done here).  The MiddleSubugatory, and Modern Family all retain their timeslots.  I think ABC may ultimately go with The Goldbergs at 830, but what would they place at 930?  Placing The Golbergs at 930 would at least provide somewhat of a picture as to how much of a lead in the 10 o’clock series would have.  Speaking of 10 o’clock, go with much-discussed How to Get Away with Murder, starring Viola Davis.  ABC may go with a three hour block of Shonda Rhimes shows on Thursday, but it may be overkill.  I think Murder could find its own audience here and win the timeslot.

THURSDAY
8 – Nashville (new night and time)
9 – Grey’s Anatomy
10 – Scandal
Analysis: Call me crazy if you want, but I would move Nashville to Thursdays at 8.  The timeslot has always been trouble for ABC, so move a veteran to the lead off spot.  I don’t see anymore of the audience fleeing, and if ABC can live with a 1.2-1.4 on Wednesday night at 10, they should be able to live with it on Thursday at 8, right?  Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t seem to have much of a bounce from the 8 o’clock show anyway, so Nasvhille can hang around for a year or two.  As much as people want Scandal to move, I think ABC likes its affiliates and Jimmy Kimmel benefiting from the number one 10 o’clock drama.

FRIDAY
8 – Last Man Standing
830 – Saint Francis (new comedy)
9 – Shark Tank
10 – 20/20
Analysis: I do not see ABC making many moves on Friday nights. After all, why mess with success?  Keep everything on the night intact except the 830 comedy.  Yes, that even includes the number one show on the night, Shark Tank.  At 830, I would go with new multi-camera comedy Saint Francis .  Should the show fail to catch on, have The Neighbors waiting to return.

SUNDAY
7 – America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 – Once Upon a Time
9 – Resurrection
10 – Revenge
Analysis: With so much focus on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Sundays are best left alone.  Are the results spectacular?  No, but each show has done well enough to return for another season.  Revenge may be the sole exception; however, it needs only one more season for possible syndication.  I think that ultimately means one final season for Revenge and  ABC can advertise it as such for a possible ratings bump.

New shows I expect to be picked up for midseason: multi-camera comedy Cristela, as well as dramas American Crime, and Clementine.

Coming tomorrow: CBS

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