Let's Talk Smoo About: ABC's 2015-16 Schedule.

A special thanks to Bill2 for posting the upcoming schedule. I'd like to do a complementary analysis to today's posting and evaluate the following schedule
7-America's Funniest Home Videos
8-Once Upon a Time
10-Of Kings and Prophets
8-Dancing with the Stars
8-The Muppets/Fresh off the Boat
8:30-Fresh off the Boat/The Real O'Neals
9-Marvel's Agents of SHIELD/Agent Carter/Marvel's Agents of SHIELD
8-The Middle
8:30-The Goldbergs
9-Modern Family
10-Nashville/Secrets & Lies/Nashville
8-Grey's Anatomy
10-How to Get Away with Murder/The Catch
8-Last Man Standing
8:30-Dr. Ken/Uncle Buck
9-Shark Tank
Another Troubled Sunday Predicted:
I am officially declaring ABC to be to not only lost its hold on Sundays, but also will likely be ABC's problem night next year. Obviously, AFHV and OUAT are obvious choices against minimal scripted competition. But OUAT is fading into middling territory. The 8-10pm timeslots do not seem to present strong scheduling choices. I will check out Oil as I have a vacated soap slot, but that is it. And Kings and Prophets is not only not interesting to my viewing choices, but poorly scheduled. It feels like a show which should have followed OUAT's fantasy theme, as well as being family fare. What respectable parent would allow their children to stay up till 10pm? It will be another DVR choice show, with ABC missing the mark with parents of young children tuning in live. This timeslot would have better suited for Castle or Nashville, as adults like these shows and may have potentially stayed awake to view. I see trouble next season for Sundays.
A Missed Opportunity Monday:
Mondays are a neutral evening on ABC's schedule. It's two strong reality platforms -- Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor/Bachelorette clearly have a niche and perform well enough to keep ABC out of 4th for the evening. Leaving these reality platforms on Mondays i s wise on the network's part, because the shows deliver between 8-10pm. Many weeks, they have even performed in 2nd place above CBS, which previously dominated the evening with powerhouse sitcoms. I'm not a reality TV fan, but have considerable respect for these two franchises as they perform with a touch of class, remain consistent where they need to and even spice in a little variety when the waters grow stagnant.
Where I feel ABC missed its mark is Castle is aging and losing viewers. Realistically, the show has two seasons tops, unless it hits a creative resurgence, it will be a fix it or forget it season for Castle. It's demos dipped to frightful levels at a 1.4 during S7, and the show is clearly aging. I predict they will erode a little further during the next se ason to 1.2 season lows, and ABC will have to make a command decision to move or cancel the show. I would have chosen to move the show to Sundays at 10pm, as its loyal viewers will follow, just like Greys Anatomy viewers chose to do. Even if the show dipped to a 1.0 in this slot, it is an improvement/season match to 2014-15's performance of Revenge. ABC should have moved Castle, but I will finalize my opinion next fall when Castle returns.
Bold Strokes May Work on Tumultuous Tuesdays
Hands Down, Tuesdays have been ABC's problem child for the last three seasons . After DTWS hemorrhaged viewers, ABC wisely condensed the series to winning Mondays and was left with the issue of what to schedule. With three hours free, ABC took risks and completely revamped the night during the 2013-14 season, with mediocre success. Agents of Shield started as a runaway hit and cooled to a middling niche performer by its sophomore season. Goldbergs performed mediocre as well, falling into the risky clutches of cancellation with a series low bottoming at a 1.3. And sigh, Trophy Wife's poor scheduling killed its potential, ending too soon. And the 10pmslot featured an endless barrage of forgettable failed series.
Where I was critical of ABC was killing Body of Proof, which would have provided the perfect bridge on launching 2 hours of entertainm ent. But that autopsy was performed two years ago, so we'll move on. The 2014-15 season proved just as problematic, as two forgettable sitcoms drowned at levels even appalling for Fridays. Shield once again performed mediocre, albeit it cooled its ratings losses to create a bridge for the troubled night. And Forever remained in an anemic, yet stable rating, averaging a 1.1 for the entire season. ABC made four good decisions on this night during the 2014-15 were giving Forever a full season, bringing in bridge series Agent Carter to cover undesirable timelsots during Shield's breaks, taking a risk by scheduling Fresh Off The Boat in the doomed 8pm place and following with reality/variety fare Repeat After Me.
These four choices helped stabilize the hemorrhages. FOTB h as gained critical acclaim, and performing on-par with Goldbergs during the previous season. With two failed sitcoms, Repeat After Me topped their performances, and I'd welcome a return in another tenuous timeslot next season. Forever's ratings were paltry, yet it had a loyal niche following to the end. It had the same stability factor Body did, and perhaps some fans may check out what replaced it. I was pleased with the choices ABC made, as the Muppets is a wise choice for the problematic 30-minute slots pared with FOTB. There is nothing else like the Muppets on this evening, and perhaps young parents will tune in with their children, a la Once Upon a Time. I'll reserve my judgment on Quantico until the season resumes. And we'll see how The Real O'Neal's debuts, but Martha Plimpton's versatile presence will afford my attention for at least the initial showing. She is a Tour de Force, and I'd follow her anywhere. Overall, I see considerable promise on Tumultuous Tuesdays an d will reel my DVR to sample this night as I only watch FOTB on Tuesdays.
Playing It Safe With Willful Wednesdays
Many questioned if ABC should move its successful sitcoms to shake things up on the schedule. But why fix what isn't broken!? With two of its heavyweights, Middle and Modern Family, aging into their 7th seasons, they could experience erosion common to longstanding shows. MF took a dip, and Middle saw some showings drop as low as a 1.7 during the last season. If Middle drops to a 1.3, ABC may move the show and allow Goldbergs to anchor the 8pm slot in favor of a new helping at 8:30. blackish's performance proved it doesn't just ride on MF's coattails, rising when its lead in fell and vice versa. Blackish will likely maintain or grow in its slot, and I am pleased. I record Goldbergs and blackish and eagerly await their returns after this season's closing acts.
With the powerhouse success of ABC Wednesdays and Thursdays, why not let the two strongest nights rest!? Two consistent seasons of scheduling will perhaps enhance viewership, similar to the 2004-06 season which Sundays were dominated by the Desperate Housewives/Greys Anatomy power showing. I still believe Nashville may have been a good option to move, but perhaps ABC may subconsciously be hinting at wanting a 5th season from Nashville. We'll see how it p erforms in the fall, or if CBS fades and allows Nashville to retain 2nd for its timeslot. Secrets and Lies will either be made or broken in this timeslot, which in my view fits this timeslot better than Sundays. Secrets and Lies is dark by nature, and will be offset by the comedies, which means a nice balance.
Thinking Thursdays Are Landmark
TGIT turned ABC's industrial wasteland into an urban hub for young professionals. Falls will remain in tact, and Shonda will reign as the queen again. ABC dropped the ball with American Crime this spring, and The Catch wi ll be better suited to bridge the mid season with Shonda's touch. ABC only runs the risk of oversaturating Shonda's talents across the board, and The Catch may not be surefire. But that is a risk all networks take with the schedule.
I could potentially see Greys eroding without Patrick Dempsey as the show opens S12, but then again, Shonda has reinvented this show so many times it could still survive as a middling drama. With CBS's Big Bang now clearly declining, Greys is still going to take 2nd place, unless Heroes somehow becomes a runaway hit. I'll laugh incessantly if Fox somehow claims 2nd (or even 3rd) place during this timeslot. Overall, ABC knew this was a good night to proudly play it safe.
Why Wiggle Founding Fridays?
The only change in store for Fridays is the graveyard which used to be occupied by Cristela. I'm not particularly excited about Dr. Ken, and that is all I will say. However, I will be keeping an eye out for Uncle Buck. I hope it fares better than the failed 1990-91 attempt by CBS, and also will tune in with intrigue to see how the show's concept is received with a new demographic telling the story. Some nasty commentators chose to sling acid about Shonda Rhimes' desires to eliminate the color lines so some roles could be told from any demographic, creating roles which are told by character instead o f race. This is a prime example, as Uncle Buck can be told with Russians, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, etc....
ABC predominantly shares success with CBS on Fridays, and I don't see any shifts in the network's rankings next season. NBC may present some competition shifting sitcoms to Fridays, but the NBC programming killer seems to have an easy time poking holes through sitcoms in recent seasons. Overall, ABC still stands strong as a junior landmark night.

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