The Trends Part 2: Massive Time Slot Upgrades to Newer Comedies (REVISED)

UPDATE: This article has been revised to reflect Superstore's return to Thursday at 8pm instead of airing after The Voice.

Welcome to The Trends! In this segment, I discuss some of the trends that we saw in the madness that was early-to-mid-May 2017. This second segment focuses on giving returning comedies massive time slot upgrades.

Many times, when networks see a lot of untapped potential in a show, they move it to a better time slot and hope the show improves. It worked yesteryear with Seinfeld, it worked a couple years ago with The Goldbergs, and next fall there are three comedies getting the same treatment, and the second seasons of American Housewife on ABC and Great News on NBC.

Back when it was a pilot named The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport, American Housewife is the show that I thought was going to be scheduled behind Modern Family due to Blackish moving to Tuesday. I was wrong. In fact, The Middle moved to Tuesday to launch American Housewife while Blackish stayed put. This year is different; Blackish is now airing Tuesday at 9pm, and to pretty much everyone's surprise, American Housewife got the post-Modern Family time slot. This mostly shows that ABC wasn't too into their family comedy pilots, given none of them even made the fall schedule. Since Blackish is now about to get to syndication, ABC seems to be protecting fellow ABC Studios comedy American Housewife now. With Modern Family renewed for a ninth and tenth season, American Housewife can really be nurtured if ABC wants to go that route. While it did well in its first season, getting great retention out of The Middle, is wasn't a show that screamed 8 seasons and anchor material. ABC is attempting to change that by putting new life into the show; in fact, it's entirely possible that it ends up being Modern Family's heir. That being said, we have to remember that they once moved Suburgatory behind Modern Family in its second season and it didn't improve, so maybe the same will happen here. Either way, it's great that they're trying to make it their next big hit.

It's an interesting trend overall; in the 2014-15 season, we saw The Goldbergs, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Mom get massive time slot upgrades, all so-so rated freshmen shows which are now about to enter their fifth season as a result. There was nothing of that type in the two seasons to follow, and now we're seeing it happen again. The difference is while many saw the potential The Goldbergs would have if aired between The Middle and Modern Family, the Internet was blindsided by American Housewife moving behind Modern Family, and Great News even getting renewed.

It is also notable that the big time slot upgrades are going to comedies. Like we saw this season, moving a drama past its freshmen season to a better time slot may not always work out like one would hope (see: Quantico). Comedies are much easier to grow if given better time slots and a big promotional push, and it's quite possible that more than one of these shows will be alive and well in 2020. It reinforces the notion that comedies have a lot of value to advertisers and can be long-term investments, even if they don't live up to their full potential right out of the gate.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! 

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