A Look At Past Time Slot Changes and Future Schedules--ABC

The Ratings Junkie Monday, January 11, 2016
In a perfect world, a network will be able to solve all their problems in one gigantic game of musical chairs, while the shows moving get to keep their ratings, or even improve, in the process. Unfortunately it hasn't been working that way. Moving shows too often can prove detrimental; not only are they expensive due to promos to alert viewers of the move, but that time also takes away
from time that could have been spent promoting other shows. Additionally, steady ratings are all but guaranteed--just look at The Blacklist. Even The Big Bang Theory can't keep getting jerked around the schedule without seeing some drops, and airing practically everywhere on the schedule has finally caught up to Supernatural and Bones. So let's take a look back at some of the recent moves made by networks, their outcomes, and see if that can help us predict future trends.


1) The Goldbergs moved from Tuesday at 9 to Wednesday at 8:30, resulting in a 30% increase in ratings (that and tons of promotion).
2) Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shifted from Tuesday at 8 to Tuesday at 9, resulting in a drop a little more than the league average if you factor out its huge first few episodes.
3) Grey's Anatomy shifted from Thursday at 9 to Thursday at 8, resulting in a fixed death slot and a slightly above league average drop.
4) Scandal shifted from Thursday at 10 to Thursday at 9, resulting in just a 6% decline and ratings higher than what Grey's Anatomy did there the previous year.


1) Fresh Off The Boat shifted from Tuesday at 8 to Tuesday at 8:30, resulting in pretty much no change

That's a big difference in moves both years; but let's take a closer look at things. Out of those five moves, only one of those consisted of a show changing nights; the rest were just shifts to a different hour or half-hour, making them easier to promote. In the case of The Goldbergs, if kept on Tuesday a league average decline would land it in cancellation territory, and it wouldn't be able to launch a new show at 9:30. That move was pretty much essential for its survival and syndication prospects. So, what kinds of things could we expect out of ABC next season?

My best guess would be Blackish to Tuesday at 8. Fresh Off The Boat, if it makes it out of this season alive, needs some lead-in support and when taking both the Modern Family lead-in AND the Empire competition out of the equation, Blackish is actually a lot stronger show than I thought it was. It's not The Middle or The Goldbergs, but it doesn't have to be to provide some stability to Tuesdays. They can get it to syndication and expect at least mid 1s, if not higher, next season, which I suspect would be around ABC's scripted average at worst. It also wouldn't involve breaking up a block that's super-compatible (The Middle-The Goldbergs) nor creating one either (The Goldbergs-Fresh Off The Boat).

If they don't make that move, that could try How to Get Away with Murder on Sunday, but I think that would be a mistake. I don't think it would get more than mid 1s, and even then that could be generous. Better off putting The Catch there instead if ABC gets lucky and it works out for them.

But both of those are pretty significant moves. Considering ABC is now known from simply shifting shows on a certain night, I could see SHIELD moving back yet another hour for its "syndication season" (aka fourth season) instead of causing guaranteed death of a newbie.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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