Dancing with the Stars And Its Success Rate At Launching Shows

The Ratings Junkie Thursday, November 30, 2017

Networks typically like to give new shows, especially the ones they think have the most potential, good time slots. This means airing directly after one of their biggest hits. Here, I take a look at how three of ABC's flagship shows: Dancing with the Stars, Grey's Anatomy, and Modern Family, do at launching shows. Here's a look at Dancing with the Stars.

In the 2005-06 season, Dancing with the Stars got its first shot at launching a show in comedy Crumbs, which aired Thursday at 9:30. Well, for five episodes at least, before it got pulled. In Justice, its Friday at 9pm lead-out, fared a tiny bit better, getting to air out its initial 13 episode order. Two takeaways here: Dancing with the Stars is not at the point where it can launch a show, and it also airs partially on Fridays.

Record: 0 for 2

In 2006-07, ABC moved Dancing with the Stars to Mondays and Tuesdays and launched Help Me Help You Tuesdays at 9, which was canceled after 13 episodes.

Record: 0 for 3

In 2007-08, comedy Samantha Who? launched Mondays at 9:30. It was a top 30 show that season in A18-49 and top 20 in total viewers. However, it collapsed and was canceled in its second season despite keeping the DWTS lead-in. ABC also launched Women's Murder Club after the Tuesday hour of Dancing with the Stars. It was canceled after 13 episodes, and wasn't even in the top 100 in A18-49 for the season, averaging a 2.0 rating out of its 4.1 lead-in. On Wednesdays, Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice was launched. It became a top 30 show in A18-49, averaging a 3.0.

Record: 1.5 for 7 (Samantha Who? gets half a point for its initial success and subsequent collapse).

In 2008-09, ABC tried again on Mondays this season with two new shows. Survivor Suburbia was a comedy than was given a 13 episode order and didn't get a backorder or renewal. Then there was Cupid, a drama that was 7-and-done, one of which was burned off in the summer.

Record: 1.5 for 9

In 2009-10, things changed. A little show named Castle launched Mondays at 10 and stayed there for the rest of its run; it was controversially canceled in 2016. However, comedy Romantically Challenged was also ratings challenged (sorry), getting pulled from the schedule after just four episodes. It's noteworthy that it actually pulled better ratings than already-renewed fellow comedy The Middle, and was on par with already-renewed Cougar Town. However, its retention from DWTS was just not excusable. Finally, they launched a drama called Forgotten Tuesdays at 10. It was canceled after 17 episodes. While it did OK-ish at best with the Dancing with the Stars lead-in, it really collapsed without it.

Record: 2.5 for 12. But that one success was all ABC needed to have a stable Monday night for more than half a decade.

In 2010-11, ABC focused on trying to launch a drama out of the Tuesday edition of Dancing with the Stars, while keeping Castle in the prime Mondays at 10 time slot. Their first attempt was Detroit 1-8-7, was received 18 episodes before being canceled. Midseason replacement Body of Proof fared much better; it was a top 10 drama in total viewers that season. It went on two more seasons before getting controversially canceled, a show that by the end did well in total viewers but pretty shaky in A18-49.

Record: 3.5 for 15

After this, there was a major lull in launching new shows out of Dancing with the Stars. Veteran shows such as Happy Endings and Private Practice (again) briefly aired after the Tuesday hour to weak results, before the Tuesday hour itself was eliminated after spring 2013.

It wasn't until 2016-17 when another new show was launched out of Dancing with the Stars: legal drama Conviction. It didn't last long, as its ratings were very low.

Record: 3.5 for 16

In fall 2017, ABC launched medical drama The Good Doctor out of Dancing with the Stars. While Dancing with the Stars is at its lowest raw numbers ever, The Good Doctor is doing numbers the time slot hasn't seen in several years. It probably didn't hurt that The Good Doctor got a nice lead-in, so I'm counting it as a success.

FINAL Record: 4.5 for 17

The Consensus
There were certainly more failures than successes in new shows that aired after Dancing with the Stars. However, there are more failures than successes in the freshmen TV class every year as it is. It's key that Castle was one of those successes; it helped ABC keep Mondays stable for years while they worked on other nights and went eight seasons. We'll see how The Good Doctor holds, but ABC can keep comfort in knowing that Dancing with the Stars was able to launch Castle and had at least a couple other short-term successes.

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

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