In the last two days, ABC picked up more episodes of The Forgotten, canceled Eastwick, and announced the Ugly Betty would replace Eastwick at 10pm on "ABC Comedy Wednesday." I happen to disagree with all three of these decisions (though the Ugly Betty decision sits better than any of the others... I just don't feel it's a 10pm show, but better Wednesday at 10pm with a semi-decent lead-in than Fridays).
My preference would be to:
- cancel The Forgotten
- move Brothers & Sisters to Tuesdays at 10pm
- move Eastwick post-Housewives (at least for a tryout)
- move Betty to Tuesdays at 8pm (or moved the Wednesday 8pm comedies to Tuesdays at 8pm and Betty to Wednesdays at 8pm)
- reality / repeats / whatever on Friday at 9pm
But, hey, I'm not in charge.
I know, I know, I'm always the one saying "you can't move everything at once!" But in ABC's case... they kind of need to figure something out. They've got a lot of middling success and modest returns, but, at this point, three big hits by today's broadcast standards:
- Grey's Anatomy
- Desperate Housewives
- Dancing with the Stars' performance show (for viewership)
ABC also has a few mid-level hits
- Modern Family
- Extreme Makeover Home Edition
- Private Practice (thanks to its lead-in)
- Brothers & Sisters (thanks to its lead-in)
- DWTS Results (for viewers)
Beyond that... ABC has a few modest shows that, for the most part, are lead-in (or lack of competition) reliant but don't deliver the same returns that PP and B&S do.
- Cougar Town (if the last two weeks are more indicative of a future trend than the first few weeks of near-perfect retention out of MF were)
- Flashforward (wish is in serious need of rescue via a strong lead-in if it's going to survive to a season season given it's high profile and cost)
We'll see what V does tonight and in the coming weeks to see if it can be the lead-in Flashforward needs... in March when it returns.
But let's say that happens and someone at ABC decides "let's make a block of V and Flashforward" (let alone V, Lost, and Flashforward as I've seen suggested). Where can you put V and Flashforward together on ABC's schedule?
- Monday has two hours blocked out for DWTS / The Bachelor
- Tuesday is interrupted by DWTS Results at 9pm (and I don't see ABC sliding it forward to 8pm to face Idol... though I'd welcome it, if it meant making room to utilize audience flow)
- Wednesday from 8:30-10pm is, shockingly, kind of working for ABC... and 9-10pm certainly is, so I don't see them moving it (and, remember, that Idol will be airing from 8-9pm this season on Wednesdays)
- Thursdays from 9-11pm aren't changing
- The shows are too expensive to risk a Friday slot (and, I mean, really, this wouldn't never happen)
- Sundays aren't changing with AFHV, EM:HE, DH, and B&S all doing fine
In short... there is nowhere to create audience flow to save Flashforward, and this isn't even considering the rest of ABC's midseason shows:
- Lost (back in January or February, depending on ABC's counter-Olympics decision)
- V (back in March... will it stay on Tuesdays at 8pm? Will it continue to be as successful as its premiere was?)
- Happy Town (though I have my doubts that this will see the air)
- The Deep End
- Romantically Challenged (which will be replacing Hank and paired with The Middle on "ABC Comedy Wednesday" should 8-9pm stay intact / on Wednesdays).
Since Scrubs / Better Off Ted are replacing DWTS: Results in December and airing, probably, through the March return of DWTS, you can disregard Scrubs/Better Off Ted and think about the dramas, and where you're putting The Middle/Romantically Challenged. Including Flashforward and a few more hours of The Forgotten, that's 7 hours of programming.
So, I ask... where do you put ANY of these shows to try and build hits (and build on hits), given that ABC isn't going to be moving what is working. You have these timeslots available, as I see it:
- Tuesdays at 8pm (versus Idol...)
- Tuesdays at 10pm
- Wednesdays at 8pm (versus Idol...)
- Wednesdays at 10pm (but, oh wait, Ugly Betty is there now)
- Thursdays at 8pm
Stumped? Me, too. Hence my wholesale schedule renovation suggestions way above.
To put it bluntly: it's a problem. I'm kind of glad I'm not the one who has to execute an attempted solution.