Did ABC Wait Too Long to Create Schooled?

Schooled's untimely ending is bittersweet.  It not only updated ABC's tired family brand of sitcoms, but also creatively surpassed its parent series, The Goldberg's fading quality in later seasons.  Starring former Goldbergs cast member AJ Michalka, the series focused on Lainey Lewis (now a teacher in the 90's) navigating students and the politics of a workplace.  The premise was indeed valid and updated ABC's recycled family sitcom formula featuring a crazy mother, loopy father and a house full of children.  The trouble was Schooled was outsourced from Sony, raising production cost compared to sitcoms in-house with ABC studios.  Low ratings also played a factor as Schooled often only retained 75% of its ultra-compatible lead-in, The Goldbergs.

As examined by this site's series, Spinoff Stories, shows have a critical window of opportunity to generate a spinoff along with other factors.  Shows which generate a spinoff when they have 3-4 seasons completed stand the highest odds of success: Private Practice enjoyed 6 seasons after being launched during Grey's Anatomy's 4th season, Empty Nest enjoyed 7 seasons after being launched out of The Golden Girls at that same age (read about that HERE), and Melrose Place successfully built its own brand during Beverly Hills, 90210's 3rd season (read about that HERE).  Spinoffs which occur at the conclusion of a series also hold decent odds, as Frasier succeeded for 11 seasons following Cheers' ending.  In the case of Schooled, ABC waited too long and launched during The Goldbergs' 6th season.

Other factors which add to success are tie-ins and recognizable cast members migrating over to the spinoff and crossovers from existing cast members.  Schooled had all these elements with recurring Goldbergs cast members Tim Meadows and Bryan Callen being upped to contract status after sturdy exposure on The Goldbergs.  And mainstays Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia and Wendi McLendon-Covey all sprinkled appearances.  The feel was the same with the narrative, and the 90's remained the bubbled timeframe.  By spring 2019 though, The Goldbergs began to age as plotting lacked innovation, viewers were forced to suspend disbelief and ratings were also tunneling lower.

A ratings powerhouse from 2014-18, The Goldbergs began hovering around the 1.0-1.3 range by 2019.  A far cry from it's landmark 2.18 18-49 demo achieved from 2014-15.  Showrunners examined a spinoff in the 2016-17 season when the series averaged a 1.72 rating and remained a sturdy launchpad at 8:00 and Modern Family the same at 9:00 with a 2.23 rating.  By the time Schooled came into prominence, both sturdy shows faced massive declines as they aged and no longer possessed that launch power.  Speechless debuted in the coveted space in 2016 and enjoyed a successful first season, debuting with a healthy 1.8 out of The Goldbergs' 2.0.  Had a spinoff been in place at this time, it would have been a surefire hit if as well-constructed as Schooled.  The following season also presented a ripe opportunity as The Goldbergs and Modern Family still held some launch power.

Schooled failed not because of writing and production but rather timing.  A shame because had it launched in 2016 or 2017, it would be justifiable to keep handy in today's low-rated frontier as ABC  needs as many players on deck as they can get their hands on.  ABC passed on the original script for a spinoff in 2017, which would have been an opportune time.  AJ Michalka was being phased out of the primary series due to storyline dictation and demonstrated she was capable of carrying an ensemble.  The original spinoff centered on newly-introduced Nia Long, and was met with lukewarm results as a backdoor pilot in Season 5.  Had Michalka been selected to carry the spinoff, Schooled could have been on the air for the 2017-18 season when The Goldbergs was still fresh.

Despite today's painful announcement, Schooled enjoyed 34 episodes and delivered quality television.  Television is a business, and unfortunately Schooled came out on the losing end as its surrounding shows fell and faded.  Thankfully, everything is streamed online and future viewers can enjoy the small taste of the magic that was Schooled.

Check out Schooled and The Goldbergs' past-rated seasons in our RATINGS HISTORY LIBRARY.

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