As you probably all know by now, ABC is in trouble with two of their new shows, Notorious & Conviction, not surprisingly starting poorly, with no hope for potential recoveries over the next few weeks. They can’t even count on a good word of mouth: they were not well-liked by both critics and curious viewers. The question now is whether the network will let them stay on the schedule until the remainder of their initial order (which consists of 13 episodes), trim it to 10 or even less, or cancel them altogether with an immediate effect. Since ABC didn’t order that many new shows for the entire season overall, they will probably stick with them through the fall, at least.
Not everything is this dark for ABC though: Kiefer Sutherland-starrer Designated Survivor looks like a hit with very decent live numbers and huge DVR; and comedy Speechless fits perfectly with the ABC Funny line-up alongside The Goldbergs & Modern Family. American Housewife has yet to start but stuck between The Middle & Fresh Off The Boat, it’s expected to make decent numbers.
While making too many changes too soon is never a good idea, ABC has to make some anyway so they can stay competitive before starting anew next season, with the first shows developed by the new regime. And by the look of things, Channing Dungey shouldn’t rely too much on procedurals: that’s simply not ABC’s brand, even if they’re more profitable when they actually work.
1/ MOVE “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” RIGHT AFTER “GREY’S ANATOMY”
Unless ABC can start the 6th season of Scandal sooner than expected -I doubt it because of Kerry Washington’s pregnancy- they can’t let their best drama lead-in –Grey’s Anatomy– go to waste (Notorious). Since HTGAWM has a hard time at 10 with its live numbers -the +3 & +7 are still potent- it wouldn’t hurt to move it to 9 where it can do a little bit better. The more they wait, the less the move will be effective. They can put Notorious at 10 or…
2/ FINALLY SAVE QUANTICO !
Is it too late so save the L+7 blockbuster? Probably. At least, the show helps keeping the lights on at 10 on sundays, where anything new would crash and burn. And that’s probably why they decided to keep it that way this season. BUT as numbers suggest, Quantico is not dead. Not yet. And it’s still an asset for the network. Giving it a push at 10 on thursdays, which was not possible when the TGIT was still a thing, is now very much possible. It probably won’t rise that much, but any rise is good to take, even for a few weeks! Justice for Quantico!
3/ PAIR THE BACHELOR WITH STILL STAR-CROSSED
They’d make a perfect march, wouldn’t they? Of course, ABC will be tempted to launch the Shondaland’s Romeo & Juliet soap on their TGIT night come spring, but it certainly would be a better fit with The Bachelor, which is now, by the way, a better lead-in than Dancing With The Stars on the demo. They could also put it on sundays after Once Upon A Time, and it’d be fine but not ideal. If ABC wants a try at another hit this season, they know what to do…
4/ GIVE A REAL CHANCE TO TIME AFTER TIME
Don’t make the same mistake you did with Forever, ABC. There are still very angry fans out there, and we can’t really blame them. What you did with Forever made sense somehow but you could have handled things better and give it a push. Give Time After Time -which is not that different tonally- a real chance to shine and find its audience, even though it’s not produced in-house but by Warner Bros. once again. And what does it mean precisely? Don’t hide it somewhere at 10. Don’t put it after Dancing With The Stars for example. It wouldn’t be a good fit. Don’t waste it on fridays. But you’re not FOX, I guess you would never do that, right? So what? Yes, it’s a difficult timeslot but sundays at 9 seems to be the best option. Once Upon A Time is not a good lead-in anymore, but at least Time After Time is compatible with it. Doing the same numbers or slightly better would be a victory of some sort.
5/ GIVE A PRESTIGE FEEL TO YOUR SUNDAYS
Meaning doing this (either during the winter hiatus -if there’s one- or this spring)…
8- IMAGINARY MARY / DOWNWARD DOG
9- AMERICAN CRIME
10- WHEN WE RISE
I know most of you will call me crazy but it’s all about changing the narrative! Let me explain. Can we agree that ABC is dead on sunday for multiple reasons (football on NBC, no sports before 8 to support the night like this is the case on CBS, The Walking Dead on AMC… and of course shows which are not Desperate Housewives)? Yes we can. What if ABC self-proclaimed sunday night as their “prestige night” by scheduling there the shows that critics give much praise to but viewers don’t massively go to? The only “veteran” American Crime could be put at the center, at 9. Right before that, they have two midseason comedies waiting in the wings with a real cable feel: Imaginary Mary & Downward Dog. Make it a combo. And put When We Rise, a period drama about the LGBT movement, at 10. ABC could use the Oscars to promote the four of them heavily for a March launch. Of course, the numbers won’t be impressive but at least ABC could proudly turn a bad night into a prestige night where numbers don’t matter that much.
What’s your opinion? Feel free to comment!