The Future of the Night: ABC Sunday

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!

Right now, ABC gets respectable 7pm ratings out of America's Funniest Home Videos, which probably costs pennies. Thing is, the way things are going it will be ABC Sunday's #1 show! And that's not a good thing for the rest of the line-up. Once Upon a Time is showing its age at marginal numbers, Quantico is hanging in there in the low 1s but never really became the breakout hit it had potential to be, and nothing will resonate at 9pm. Sunday doesn't have to be a Wednesday or Thursday for ABC, but the network should also think about making itself a little more competitive on the night. Once Upon a Time might not have much left in it, and we can't have a night where the highlight is America's Funniest Home Videos. Here are a couple options ABC has:

Option 1: How to Get Away with Murder
Why It Will Work: How to Get Away with Murder, despite ratings declines, still remains a solid player for ABC and could be able to bring ratings above a 1.0 to Sunday nights. Which sad as it is, would be an improvement over what's there now.

Why It Won't: Being a serialized drama that's losing buzz, can we really trust HTGAWM all that much away from TGIT? And that they'll find something to replace it on Thursday?

Bottom Line: This could be a solid option, as it'll provide a solid lead-in to Quantico, which will no longer have to stand 100% by itself, and will save a new show from having to be launched out of Once Upon a Time.

Option 2: Marvel's Agents of SHIELD
Why It Will Work: It will stop from ABC have to try a new show on Sundays, so why not try the struggling SHIELD here? During breaks, the time slot could be kept warm by a Marvel bridge series or even Marvel movies.

Why It Won't: If SHIELD is fractional now, why would it do better on Sunday? To add on to that, it's a male-skewing show airing on an hour already dominated by male-skewing shows.

Bottom Line: They probably won't see much time slot improvement here, though at the very least it won't be worse nor at the expense of a new show.

Option 3: New Drama
Why It Will Work: If ABC just schedules the right show here, people will find it. A political drama like ordered-to-series Designated Survivor or pilot Conviction could work, as fans of The Good Wife will be looking for something new to watch. Well, unless CBS moves Madam Secretary there. But we can't make assumptions.

Why It Won't: Ever hear of the "throw it against the wall and hope it sticks" theory? It's one that's been tried before and failed. If networks want a new show to work, they have to give it lead-in support, and Once Upon a Time isn't that.

Bottom Line: This is the conservative option, and it's what they've been doing for the past couple years. It hasn't worked. I think it's time to move on from this option.

Option 4: Comedy Hour
Why It Will Work: America's Funniest Home Videos is a cheap, retro comedy-variety show. That could pair nicely with 80s Goldbergs and 90s Fresh Off The Boat at 8pm, shifting Once Upon a Time to 9pm.

Why It Won't: Too many moves? Possibly. ABC is a network that needs to focus on dramas, so I'm
not sure how radical they'll get with comedy.

Bottom Line: Compatibility-wise this seems like a nice match. But if we move The Goldbergs and FOTB to Sunday, we're leaving holes somewhere else. It's a puzzle that can't be solved. Unless ABC does a schedule overhaul, I think they'll shy away from a comedy hour. For now, at least.

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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