ABC's big problem: too many holes to fill. Even if its pilots are all amazing, they have to learn from the last two years and not spread their marketing so thin than none of them succeed. Which means that ABC, as I see it, is going to have some rough patches next season, but will hopefully not be entirely bleak.
- 8-10pm/8-9:30pm: ABC will be fine with DWTS here and The Bachelor worked this season between cycles.
- 9:30pm: New comedy (though I'd wonder if the network will burn off the remaining Samantha Who? episodes here... the odd thing about the post-DWTS comedy slot is that, since DWTS's duration is so erratic, you really only get 6-7 episodes with the lead-in per cycle)
- 10pm: New drama (though if ABC is going to stick with any of its midseason replacements, it's going to be Castle and ABC may be curious to see how it will do when it doesn't have NBC to compete with... still, my advice is PROGRAM AGGRESSIVELY)
- 8-9pm: New comedy block (if the network is sticking with Samantha Who? for another season, it may put it at 8:30pm here behind a new comedy and just pray that, unlike the In The Motherhood experiment, the lead-in succeeds). OR Ugly Betty. This timeslot, no matter what is put here, will be massacred when Idol returns. No stopping that. Ugly Betty's final season as sacrificial lamb?
- 9pm: DWTS Results show. Some reality show fodder between cycles (if it works this summer... Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?)
- 10pm: Brothers & Sisters. Again, ABC needs to program aggressively. That means taking B&S away from the post-Desperate Housewives so that can be put to good use leading into a new series. B&S has its own audience (the 2-hour "movie event" proved that). NBC won't be here next season and the timeslot is traditionally weak for CBS.
- 8pm: Flash Forward. This is the timeslot that ABC launched Lost in. It is the weakest timeslot, competition-wise, on the Sun-Thurs schedule. Lie To Me won last night with a 2.3. A 2.3. Granted, CBS's comedies were in repeat, but even in originals they haven't averaged a 2.3 since the fall. Programming FF on Wednesdays at 8pm would also, for the most part, get it out of the way of American Idol in the winter/spring.
- 9pm: Lost come late January / early February. Until then, I suggest a comedy block. Better Off Ted hasn't been killing in the ratings, but it has been pretty decent (for ABC and comedy) and holds its Scrubs lead-in. If ABC has another male-skewing comedy in its development, group that with BOT and see what happens.
- 10pm: Good luck, ABC! Hah, no, seriously... I haven't done my reviews of either Empire State (Romeo and Juliet between 30-somethings from a real estate magnate family and from a construction union family) or Inside the Box (hardnosed female news reporter in DC), but if either of those pilots are good, try them out here. It's an exciting opportunity at 10pm across the board with NBC out of the mix, but one thing ABC can't do is try crime dramas anywhere CBS has a crime drama.
- 8pm: ABC really ought to move Ugly Betty out of this timeslot next season. Really not sure what to put here in its place, though, since the comedy block idea failed (might just have been those comedies).
- 9pm-11pm: Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice. If it's, um, working... ish?
Friday/Saturday - I have no opinions.
- 7pm: America's Funniest Home Videos ain't going anywhere.
- 8pm: Neither is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
- 9pm: ... or Desperate Housewives.
- 10pm: Eastwick.
Major marketing pushes: Brothers & Sisters move, Flash Forward, Eastwick because I really do believe that all of those should be where I put them. Not knowing about comedy blocks or Ugly Betty's timeslot, I can't recommend anything... but three major pushes is really the limit for ABC. Unfortunately that leaves Wednesday at 10pm out in the cold... but, y'know what... ABC just has to deal with the fact that it's going to take time to fully rebuild its schedule and it has to do it by really pushing certain things hard, not doing mediocre jobs promoting too many new series.