The Future of the Night: ABC Monday

Welcome to a segment I call "The Future of the Night". The format is I take a look at a night on the network's schedule, see what could use improvement, and come up with scenarios which could potentially solve it. First, I present a short argument as to why it could work, then play Devil's Advocate with my reasoning, and then present the bottom line. Enjoy, and fee free to leave your opinions by leaving a comment!
Monday isn't in nearly as bad shape as Sunday, with Dancing with the Stars pulling above-average ratings for two hours of the night (and bridge series The Bachelor is one of ABC's highest rated shows). The 10pm hour has become a little troublesome as of late though, with Castle falling 34% already year-to-year and is barely above fractional. It went as low as a 0.8 when it aired Sunday at 10, away from its cushy lead-in. Even then, it doesn't fully capitalize on Dancing with the Stars, and is way past its heyday (in raw and relative ratings). With all the new dramas failing (Quantico isn't, but even that is barely keeping its head above water), Castle could squeak out a ninth season. Here are some options ABC has for Monday--specifically, Monday at 10--next season.

Option 1: New Drama
Why It Will Work: ABC did so well in the 2014-2015 TV season because they opened up time slots behind their #1 comedy (Modern Family) and their #1 drama (Scandal) and aired two very compatible and promising pilots after them. Since the 9:30 portion of Dancing with the Stars is always either the #1 or #2 highest-rated for the network, why not try to air a new show out of ABC's #1 fall reality series? I would vouch for a soapy drama.

Why It Won't: Why would said new show do any better than Castle is doing when ABC can't get any drama to work this season? Also, Castle has been behind Dancing with the Stars for all 8 of its seasons and could continue to do so next season. Maybe save a new drama for the post-Bachelor spot, but Castle deserves a spot on a schedule where there are already many drama holes.

Bottom Line: I think trying a new drama would be in ABC's best interest Monday at 10. You don't know it's going to fail unless you try, and we already know how Castle will do. Renew Castle for a short final season if contracts can be worked out, and bench it in anticipation of a flop.

Option 2: Castle
Why It Will Work: ABC is known for stability in their schedules, and Castle isn't doing all that bad compared to some of their other dramas. For a ninth season in a row, do a Dancing-Castle lineup and focus on the other nights instead.

Why It Won't: If ABC renewed Castle, puts it on the fall schedule AND airs it in that cushy time slot, they are asking for low ratings. The pairing is past its heyday, and it's time for ABC to move on.

Bottom Line: I actually wouldn't be all that surprised if ABC keeps Castle Monday at 10 next season, assuming they can work out contracts. Do I think it's the right choice? Hard to tell, but it's definitely the safest.

What do you think? Are there any other somewhat-plausible options that I didn't cover? Let me know in the comments below!

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