For many, the new year offers a time for change, an opportunity to clean up poor behavior from the previous year and shake up one’s life in a positive way. Whether it’s drinking more water, spending more time with loved ones, or figuring out what you want to do with your life, turning the calendar from December to January can be a catalyst for personal growth through a combination of reflection and action.
In a similar way, TV networks get to shake off any negativity they encountered in the fall once the TV season shifts to winter; between the introduction of exciting new shows and the phasing out of what didn’t work some months ago, midseason offers a chance for the broadcast networks to make the changes necessary for optimum performance. But in order to truly move forward, the networks have to be willing to look back with clear eyes and assess what worked, what didn’t, and what they can learn from the past few months.
Which is kind of where we come in, as KSiteTV Editor-in-Chief Craig Byrne and site contributor Shilo Adams will be analyzing the fall performance of each of the five broadcast networks, naming everything from the biggest surprise to the worst scheduling move and the bubble show that deserves a chance. First up is ABC, which has had a pretty rough fall with the underperformance of Conviction and Notorious, the sharp ratings downturn of Once Upon a Time and Secrets and Lies, and network darling Quantico flirting with cancellation-ready numbers before getting a reprieve. While the network does have promising new comedies in Speechless and American Housewife, as well as continued strong performances from the likes of Grey’s Anatomy and The Middle, midseason will be a time for them to make up the ground they lost during the fall. But does ABC have the shows necessary to dig them out of the hole they’re currently in? Or will they come up empty in terms of finding new hits?
Before you check out what we have to say about ABC’s fall season, here’s a look at how we thought their schedule could break, as well as links to the other report cards thus far.
On to our thoughts!
BEST SCHEDULING MOVE
Shilo: Splitting up The Middle and The Goldbergs has panned out pretty well, as each has successfully launched a new comedy while providing a solid foundation for a night of comedy. ABC has a pulse on Tuesday for the first time in a while and I feel like having two full nights of comedy has only deepened and solidified their comedy brand, which has kept them afloat amidst some serious drama struggles.
Craig: I agree: Putting The Middle on Tuesdays and moving The Goldbergs to lead Wednesday nights seemed like a great move and a fantastic way to strengthen Tuesday’s comedy block while at the same time allowing at least a little bit of new blood on Wednesday nights. It seems this idea is working well. Likewise, Designated Survivor seems to work in the Wednesday at 10 slot.
WORST SCHEDULING MOVE
Craig: Castle was very familiar on Monday nights at 10, and I think something a little more comfortable would have fit better after Dancing With The Stars. Obviously, Conviction was not the right choice. Likewise, Notorious just didn’t work on Thursdays at 9, wasting its lead-in and hurting How To Get Away With Murder in the process. Not good, and potentially damaging to nights where ABC previously had no problems.
Shilo: Keeping Secrets and Lies off the air for over a year wasn’t the best move. A serialized show having that long of a hiatus has enough trouble sustaining audience, but having a moderately rated close-ended anthology return with only one cast holdover, giving it a weak lead-in, and expecting it to air against upper echelon competition is some major self-sabotaging. If ABC were serious about turning this show into a steady property for them, they would have put it on Thursdays in place of Scandal.
Shilo: I thought Conviction would’ve done better than what it did. While I doubted that it would turn into a world beater, I assumed it could become a solid, peak Castle-esque player, thereby plugging in a scheduling hole and giving ABC a foothold in their procedural rebranding. But even with a pretty decent lead-in from Dancing With the Stars, the show simply wasn’t the type of procedural that an older audience would go for, nor was it soapy and serialized enough to lure in ABC’s normal drama audience. In trying to become something for everyone, it came into this world a show for no one.
Craig: I was surprised by just how badly Notorious did in Scandal’s place. I guess if people want a Shonda night, they won’t accept any imitations.