And The Season's Over. Let's Talk Smoo About ABC's Final Decisions

Written by Oh Smoo

Bill2 pointed out to me that my prediction of the Renew/Cancel Announcements being made on Tuesday was likely inaccurate and was anticipated for tonight. And I'm glad he was right! I tend to leave things abstract as I do not want the disappointment if there is a delay. Before continuing on, I would like to leave some praises and dedications to our special readers. First and foremost, thank you to Bill2 for cultivating this platform and allowing me to continue slinging hash, barbs and a heavy seas oning of humor. Special thanks to Rene for so much great and inquisitive dialogue, as well as Chris J, Mr. Edmodo and FanofTVBTN for joining us as we continue to build a new platform. Most of all, I dedicate this article to Aciel Zoubi (currently bannering Farewell Revenge as her name), as I hope you enjoyed the thrill ride and find your next great show to fill the void of Revenge, which helped keep the lights on at ABC during three dark seasons.
To sum up the choices, I felt a great sense of happiness, surprise and even a little sorrow. I frequently coin the term "embarrassment of riches", and I think it suits ABC perfectly. Compared to the last two seasons, ABC had some tough choices as so many shows performed so well. How to Get Away with Murder, Fresh Off the Boat and blackish proved to be the strongest new sensations to come out of the gate. Secrets and Lies performed okay, and even Agent Carter proved to be a capable side dish to an already full pallet. I can mildly understand Galavant's return engagement, but cannot fathom how clunker American Crime survived. Sadly, Revenge, Forever and Cristela will be vacating my DVR. In that sadness, I can take solace in knowing Goldbergs, blackish and FOTB will be there when September comes.
I've discussed Revenge at length, and will save most of that discussion for my article which will be posted Monday morning following the series finale. I will praise the show as it was one of the few bright spots on an otherwise bleak 2011-14 seasons. Moving on, I'd like to discuss Forever. I was rooting for this show to be one of ABC's underdogs, as there hasn't been much to write home about at 10pm on Tuesday. ABC made a grievous error by cancelling Body of Proof two years ago. It was anemic in the demos, but solid. The cavalcade of forgettable disasters that followed are not even worth remembering during 2013-14 season. Then came Forever, which gave a sense of stability. It plunged as low as a 0.9, yet seemed consistent and stable. I enjoyed Judd Hirsch and Ioan Grufford's performances, but that is not enough to justify a return.
ABC needs to make room, and Forever was weak. The procedural worked nicely, but likely was too expensive to justify keeping as it was produced by Warner Brothers. I'll applaud ABC for at least allowing the show to play out for 2 2 episodes and giving the show ample opportunities for growth. Had the show inched to a 1.4, it may have survived. Next, I sighed as Cristela bid adios. Among ABC's promos, I was most eager to watch blackish and Cristela. Cristela had great potential, and even had some creative crossovers and a well-played cameo by Roseanne. Most of all, I enjoyed the struggles Cristela Hernandez faced as she was a creative wanderer living in a perfect sister's shadow and having to prove herself to an all-white office.
But still, the show was disjointed. I grew to love the office setting as the supporting characters proved to have the most appeal. Cristela had a potential attraction/romance with fellow intern Josh, and even caricature privileged child Maddie had room for growth as a foil. But the family never expanded beyond Hispanic stereotypes. I enjoyed Roseanne's cameo, and frankly felt she could have made a great series regular. I saw the writing on the wall that ABC was no longer interested in the series when they couldn't coordinate Cristela Alonzo's General Hospital cameo on the same night as an original episode. After all, the show only saw a 1.3 demo twice, and dipped as low as a 0.8. Impressively, the repeats performed well. But with so many successful sitcoms and Fox producing the show, Cristela's candle burned out.
Forgettably, we'll discuss a reality TV time waster, the Taste. Even for a "non-scripted" platform, this show was low rated and a joke on the weekly ratings reports as it lost its HTGAWM repeat lead-in. Why bother watc hing this frothy filler when viewers already tune into the Chew everyday? At least we know this shallow lifestyle show will be back consistently, much like the loathed Keeping up With the Kardashians. With two Shark Tanks, the Bachelor(ette) and Dancing with the Stars, ABC has strong contenders in the reality TV department. I'm not a fan of the genre, but am happy ABC cut its losses where needed. And lastly, we all knew Resurrection was toast. I enjoyed the show during last season, but with so many great choices, it made it hard to invest. The show debuted at a strong 3.8 rating in spring 2014, but limped down to a 0.8 inside of a calendar year. ABC invests in too many paranormal/sci-fi and dark series, and Resurrection is no different. Any show which hemorrhaged Once Upon a Time's impressive Fall ratings during the Frozen Arc cannot blame anyone but their own production for failing. Let ABC bury this turkey and call in the cement truck to assure it never returns to our TV screens again.
Now onto the renewals. I feared FOTB may have suffered a similar fate as Trophy Wife as it is tasked with bringing viewers to the problematic Tuesday night. FOTB bottomed out with a 1.3, the same frightening level Goldbergs hit last season. Like FOTB, I feared ABC would kill Goldbergs last season and breathed a sigh of relief when ABC came to their senses and moved it to Wednesdays. If ABC wants this show to flourish, they may consider moving it if the show drops to 1.1 or 1.2 ratings next fall. I praise ABC for renewing Agent Carter, as the show maintained 75-percent of Agents of Shield's ratings. It also sports a strong female lead, which is the demo advertisers want to target. Here's to Carter having a strong return.
Which leads us to questionable renewals. Galavant? It's renewal was funnier than it's intended humor in the scripts. Perhaps if the show is cost effective, ABC may perhaps see a cheap opportunity to fill the schedule's undesirable timeslots. I could understand this renewal, but found American Crime's renewal to be a head scratching decision. This show is beyond bleak, and also had trouble maintaining even half of Scandal's lead-in. I won't even get into the make-under Felicity Huffman had to go through for this disaster, a far cry from her glad days on Desperate Housewives when even Lynette's frumpiest days looked better. Secrets and Lies performed okay, but I must question if the viewers were there for Ryan Philippe and will vacate after next season. I see another Resurrection occurring, so sta y tuned. If it was up to me, I would have canned these three pressed turkeys and moved on.
To sum up ABC's final tally, it lost six series, totaling 4.5 hours of programming. I will not bother adding the Taste into that pile, enough said. Out of so few losses, ABC can be proud it will have 17 returning series, as well as four strong reality TV platforms, one steadfast variety fare (AFHV), and possibly Repeat After Me. MIA is Last Man Standing, which we will hopefully know of its fate soon. ABC has three solid nights, two potential shows to move which have made it to syndication (Castle and Nashville), and a plethora of solid sitcoms.
My suggestions to ABC for the 2015-16 season go as follows:
1. Find a suitable companion to FOTB if the network is dead set on keeping two comedies on Tuesdays. Otherwise, both shows will suffer.
2. Free up the 10pm spots on Monday and Wednesday. Unless the network foresees Nashville having a 5th season, start preparing for Castle and possibly Nashville ending. Moving one of these fares to Sunday may help if Secrets and Lies plummets, and either will lighten up the tone of the recent ly darkened Sundays.
3. Consider moving the Middle to keep new life on Wednesdays. Middle's audience will follow it wherever ABC places it, and I foresee at least two more seasons for this winner.
4. Find a solid sitcom performer for Fridays. If LMS does return, it will likely be its last season, and we will need a familiar anchor in its departure.
5. Consider expanding another hour of sitcoms. ABC has perfected six great sitcoms, while failing to find a great drama or procedural. Instead of limiting its sitcom platforms to eight timeslots, forcing new pilots to fend for themselves on Tuesdays and Fridays, shake things up! I'd welcome Once moving to 9pm on Sundays freeing up an hour for sitcoms on Sundays, or even relocating Shark Tank and resurrecting TGIF.
Here's to a great season for ABC, and I hope it maintains or continues to grow. If they keep up the good decisions, they may even see 2nd place soon!

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