Armchair Scheduling: ABC Fall 2011

At this point, I’m way behind @BigTVFan, who not only completed his thoughts on all four broadcast networks’ fall schedules but also began updating his posts. Still, being slow has its advantages. Last night, Deadline Hollywood’s Nellie Andreeva posted her second Pilot Panic piece, which made the post below slightly easier to write. After you read my take, see what @BigTVFan had to say about ABC at his site.

Sunday Night

7pm: America’s Funniest Home Videos

8pm: Charlie’s Angels

9pm: Desperate Housewives

10pm: Good Christian Bitches

ABC is one of the few networks still actively programming the 7pm hour, and that’s due in large part to the success America’s Funniest Home Videos has had in the slot. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Secret Millionaire have both done fairly well in the 8pm slot this year but neither show generates the type of buzz that ABC Sundays used to. Charlie’s Angels is pre-sold concept, and it has already begun to generate said buzz for the network. Placing it on Sundays would be a risky decision if ABC thinks men will account for a large percentage of the audience, since they’ll be watching football on NBC. But, its the type of  risky counter-programming decision that new president Paul Lee needs to make, if he wants to keep ABC competitive. Leaving Desperate Housewives at 9pm is a no-brainer and having it lead into the similarly themed Good Christian Bitches would create a solid night of female-skewing dramedies.

Monday Night

8pm: Dancing With the Stars

10pm: Body of Proof

With limited space on their schedule, ABC could keep this night intact, which means Castle would stay put at 10pm. But, if Paul Lee really loves new pilot Poe as much as insiders are claiming, he may want to use Castle to help launch it. Body of Proof has preformed incredibly well for the network this spring, and giving it the hefty Dancing with the Stars lead-in certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Tuesday Night

8pm: Dancing with the Stars (Results)

9pm: Castle

10pm: Poe

If ABC has reservations about moving Castle away from Dancing with the Stars this would be the perfect way to handle such a transition. The 8pm hour has proven difficult to program this year with both No Ordinary Family and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution underwhelming. However, when ABC airs encore presentations of Dancing with the Stars the show manages to keep them steady. By moving the actual results show up an hour, they sure up the first hour of the night and allow Castle to lead into Poe.

Wednesday Night

8pm: The Middle

8:30: The Last Days of Man

9pm: Modern Family

9:30pm: Suburgatory

10pm: Cougar Town

10:30pm: Happy Endings

Programming comedies at 10pm was something of an experiment for ABC, when they slotted Happy Endings there last month. At first, it looked like that experiment might be a short-lived one but, over the last two weeks, Happy Endings has shown improvement in the demo, outperforming shows like Off the Map and The Whole Truth. Because of this, I’d reckon that ABC will expand their Wednesday evening to include 6 sitcoms. The Middle has done a fine job leading off the night this season and sliding in the sure-fire Tim Allen vehicle The Last Days of Man at 8:30 would allow a show such as Suburgatory to have the Modern Family lead-in. Given how well Happy Endings has done, it stands to reason that it and Cougar Town would then round out the night.

Thursday Night

8pm: Georgetown

9pm: Greys Anatomy

10pm: Scandal

Not unlike Sunday, Thursday has typically been a night ABC reserves for female skewing dramas. But, FOX’s X-Factor will likely steal away many young female viewers just like American Idol does. Private Practice was renewed by the network, which was probably a mistake in hindsight, but it seems unlikely that ABC will keep it on Thursdays at 10pm. I can see them moving it to 8pm where it will face X-Factor and get walloped. Then again, I can see them holding it until midseason and trying to launch new dramas on either side of Greys Anatomy. If they decide to go with the latter strategy, then Georgetown may be the unlucky drama asked to fend off X-Factor, The Vampire Diaries and whatever the other two networks schedule. At this point, I would venture to say Shonda Rhimes’ new drama Scandal is a lock for the 10pm slot.

Friday Night

8pm: Better With You

8:30pm: Smothered

9pm: SuperNanny Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

10pm: 20/20

Paul Lee has reiterated several times that he’d like to relaunch the famous TGIF comedy brand that ABC was known for in the late 90s. Better With You has been an underachiever on Wednesdays but it had pretty fantastic numbers last week, when ABC aired it after Dancing with the Stars. I suspect ABC will give it a 13 episode order and pair it with their new multi-cam comedy Smothered. At 9pm, they could use the durable SuperNanny as a bridge to Friday stalwart 20/20. It has been pointed out to me that SuperNanny was already canceled. As such, I can see ABC shipping Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to Friday nights.


Private Practice


Pam Am

Once Upon A Time

Apt 23

Man Up!

Secret Millionaire

According to Nellie Andreeva, ABC intends to order between 6 and 7 drama pilots. Assuming they launch 5 in the fall, as I’ve predicted above, that’ll leave room for another 2 at the midseason mark. The 1960’s set drama Pam Am, which has Christina Richie as its lead, seems like a safe bet for one of those slots. Reviews of the fairytale drama Once Upon A Time have also been strong, making that a strong contender. Of their high profile pilots, that would leave Marc Cherry’s Hallelujah and the paranormal docu-drama The River out in the cold. Part of me hopes I’m wrong about the latter, as I’d quite like to see it air. ABC also has the Ashley Judd drama Missing on tap for midseason, having issued it a blind 10 episode commitment and, theoretically, Private Practice. In addition, the network will likely order one or two additional comedies. Apt 23 will almost certainly be one of those two with the other up in the air right now. My guess? Christopher Moynihans overall deal with ABC Studios will help his sitcom Man Up! earn the final spot.

As you can probably tell, that means I’m anticipating a lot of popped bubbles for shows that are currently waiting to hear whether they’ve been renewed or not. Mr. Sunshine would have been renewed, if Happy Endings had flopped. But, I don’t see a scenario where both are on the schedule next year. V simply didn’t measure up, and I think ABC would sooner gamble on a new show like The River than renew it.  Brothers & Sisters looked like it was headed cancellation from the moment ABC announced it had a reduced order this season, but then the network rebuked on that decision and people began to wonder if the Walkers would return. Without getting into a discussion of how much that show has devolved this season, I’ll simply say that its done.


5 Responses to Armchair Scheduling: ABC Fall 2011

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