Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 Upfronts: ABC Fall Schedule

Monday

8:00 - Dancing with the Stars
10:00 - Castle

If it's not broke, don't fix it.

Tuesday

8:00 - Last Man Standing (NEW)
8:30 - Man Up (NEW)
9:00 - Dancing with the Stars Results
10:00 - Body of Proof

ABC has a strangely large number of male-centric sitcoms on tap this season, two of which were chosen to lead a brand new comedy hour in a timeslot the network has previously struggled with. Tim Allen should prove enough of a draw for Last Man Standing, but I can't help but wonder what type of audience is expected for his new show; presumably the audience is older, comprised of those who remember Home Improvement, a sitcom with a mostly female fanbase. Will they stick around for the very male-heavy Man Up at 8:30? I don't think they will. Allen's new show would've been better utilized in the Wednesday comedy block.

Wednesday

8:00 - The Middle
8:30 - Suburgatory (NEW)
9:00 - Modern Family
9:30 - Happy Endings (New Timeslot)
10:00 - Revenge (NEW)

The ratings-challenged Cougar Town will be held till midseason in favor of the new addition Suburgatory, which should do fine but should have been launched after Modern Family to maximize its exposure. Instead, the floundering Happy Endings will get a boost in its second season. I don't understand the thought process behind the teen-oriented, WB-like soap drama Revenge at the tail end of the comedies however. The preview makes it look like Eastwick, an ABC failure from a couple seasons back which debuted in the same slot.

Thursday

8:00 - Charlie's Angels (NEW)
9:00 - Grey's Anatomy
10:00 - Private Practice

Apparently this reboot of Charlie's Angels will be a bit more family-oriented to go on at 8:00, but I don't see it doing well against The X Factor or American Idol, should it survive that long.

Friday

8:00 - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (New Timeslot)
9:00 - Shark Tank
10:00 - 20/20

Extreme Makeover is still a relatively strong performer for ABC, so I suppose if they want to move toward Friday programming then moving their reality flagship there is the best opening move.

Sunday

8:00 - Once Upon a Time (NEW)
9:00 - Desperate Housewives
10:00 - Pan Am (NEW)

It's exciting to see that ABC is trying an all-scripted night on Sunday, since I don't recall any other network doing that recently. Unfortunately, Once Upon a Time doesn't look too promising from the initial footage released. It does have a family-friendly vibe however, like a live-action but slightly darker Disney film that should keep families around who were watching America's Funniest Home Videos at 7:00. I'm torn on my feelings for Pan Am's timeslot, as I think the show itself has potential; but it will likely divide many viewers who will either find it derivative (as it is very similar in style, period, look and premise to Mad Men) or just a boring soap.

Midseason

Like NBC, ABC has saved its most buzzworthy and promising pilots for midseason. That's when we'll get the debuts of the soapy drama Good Christian Belles; the horror thriller The River; and the high-testing sitcom Apartment 23, among others.

Midseason will also see the addition of the borderline-offensive, cross-dressing (and, again, male-centric) sitcom Work It and the return of Cougar Town. On the drama side, the Ashley Judd vehicle Missing, originally intended as a ten-episode summer miniseries, will debut at midseason as well. It will likely be used as filler between cycles of Dancing with the Stars. On Tuesdays in March, the comedy block will extend an hour to include Apartment 23 and Cougar Town. It will be interesting to see how this comedy block does against the Fox one, which will be extending to two hours at the same time.

Overall this is the most disappointing schedule so far. All of the pilots I was looking forward to (GCB, The River, Apartment 23) have been held for midseason. Is no one trying to compete this fall? NBC has saved both The Voice and Smash, and Fox has held Alcatraz and ordered Touch for midseason as well. I don't get why these networks are putting their weakest efforts out first and saving the big guns for spring. Looking at ratings, shows that debut in the fall will almost always do better than those in the spring. A recent example would be Hellcats on CW, which was one of the network's strongest performers in the fall, even after a timeslot shift, which fell sharply in the spring and is now officially canceled. Why not come out strong right out of the gate? With this lackluster lineup, ABC may very well fall below NBC and become the fourth place network.

1 comment:

  1. It does look like the networks are definitely holding back this fall.

    They must not have confidence in some of their efforts, and are holding back some potential hits for February and March 2012 tryouts.

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