Friday, November 22, 2013

Midseason 2014: ABC and Fox


Lots of interesting stuff in the ABC/Fox midseason schedule announcements this week. Here are a few thoughts on some of the big moves:

ABC

Mixology to Wednesday 9:30. - Like all the other hangout comedies to get this timeslot, it will probably not work. Unfortunately, I kind of saw this coming when ABC handed only a small episode extension to Super Fun Night. There's really no good place to put Mixology, but the only other idea that seemed even remotely sensible was a SFN/Mixology block sent somewhere separate in the spring (maybe even the Wednesday 10/9c hour). But with less than a full season, SFN wasn't going to have enough eps to make that happen. I'm not exactly clear on Mixology's episode order, but regardless, a late February premiere means I wouldn't yet give up on it getting cleared out by the very end of the season so something else could get a whirl there.

Suburgatory to Wednesday 8:30. - I noted on the Power Rankings a couple weeks ago to keep in mind that a big thing working against Back in the Game was its relative ease of replaceability. This seems to be Suburgatory's "best" timeslot, and it gets it back. While Suburgatory eroded enough last season that it won't be a major improvement on BitG, it'll likely be a minor one. If anything, the bigger surprise in this little cluster of shows is that BitG didn't even get a shot to see if it could do better than the badly struggling The Neighbors on Friday.

Revenge to 10/9c, Resurrection launches at 9/8c. - If cable didn't exist, this would be a nice show of faith to a new show that could be an OK fit with Once Upon a Time. Since cable does exist, this show is instead gonna be dealing with (assuming the scheduling mirrors last year) the tail end of The Walking Dead's season and the beginning of Game of Thrones' season. In other words, it may not be a much (or any?) better slot for Resurrection.

Killer Women and Mind Games to Tuesday 10/9c. - I floated earlier this week that ABC putting midseason dramas in this seemingly very perilous slot might mean ABC is planning to introduce something a little... sturdier at 9:00, like a return to the Dancing with the Stars results show. Though The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife have full seasons, ABC could run through them quickly and/or try them out somewhere else late in the spring, as NBC did with Go On and The New Normal last year. I'm not sold that it's necessarily a great idea... but lighting two dramas on fire with a Trophy Wife lead-in seems odd, even for ABC. Even if Mixology completely bombs, one would think something like the Wednesday 10/9c slot would provide more support than Trophy Wife. But ABC has instead pledged to go wire-to-wire there with Nashville.



Fox

Glee to Tuesday 8/7c. - For the contingent out there who thinks Glee would do much better here than on Thursday... wish finally granted, though perhaps a year too late. Maybe Grey's Anatomy is just completely killing it, but I wouldn't expect much improvement... either on its Thursday numbers or on the Dads/Brooklyn Nine-Nine numbers in the slot. My guess is that the motivation here is not that much about "fixing" Tuesday (that would've been a more reasonable motivation a year ago) but about finding a way to keep Glee from having a massive hiatus when Rake takes over on Thursday. Given the two-year renewal, the network is probably pretty invested in scraping out a somewhat respectable level for this show next season.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine gets a 9:30 shot, Mindy hiatus, Dads gone. - The Glee move means Fox will kill its two-hour Tuesday lineup at midseason for a second straight year. Last year, they axed Ben and Kate and did a bunch of Raising Hope double pumps to use up all those full season orders. This time, two of the shows will share the 9:30 half-hour, as Brooklyn Nine-Nine gets the "cushy" slot (0.4 points higher than its current lead-in!) in the winter, forming the same pairing with New Girl that will air after the Super Bowl. Mindy reclaims it in April. And it looks at least for now like Dads may be getting Ben and Kated; it has no scheduled eps after February 11. However, I still think Dads might get a Sunday tryout; it would make some sense to learn a bit more about the show given Family Guy's usual lead-out American Dad! is ending its Fox run after this season anyway.

The Following Goes Post-NFC Championship. - Fox previously pegged newbie Rake as the "mini-Super Bowl" lead-out but will now go with somewhat more proven commodity The Following. Now Rake will have to hope for the best from its regular American Idol lead-in.

No Monday/Friday changes for now. - Ideally, Fox could've waited on all this for a couple more weeks to see what happens with Almost Human on Monday and whether the Friday lineup can come back a bit from its disappointing start. Instead, they announced nothing on those nights. Two issues stand out here. 1) Did Almost Human start early enough that it can get an extension beyond the initial order? If not, or if Human tanks terribly in the coming weeks, that slot's gonna open up... likely for a Bones return. And 2) I thought one thing that might come out of the Friday numbers was that Fox might try to do a little better by Enlisted, which is currently slated to premiere out of a show that got a 0.8/0.7 last week. Not only did they not announce a change on that front, but the closing of the second Tuesday comedy hour severely limits the possibilities. With the current setup, Fox is essentially throwing away both Enlisted and the already effectively cancelled Us & Them.

17 comments:

Spot said...

Almost Human: I say one and done, but done on Monday. I think it stabilizes in high 1's, 1.5 at worst. Not good enough to get renewal, not enough bad to be dumped to Friday.

Mindy: Fox decided remaining episodes to air on a weekday, but show returns in low-HUT April after 2-months hiatus with half of its (already few) viewers forgetting about show's existence. I say it returns with sub 1.0 ratings, and I count it effectively canceled.

ABC:
Half of their shows is doing good, and other half is doing terrible. They're just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic half of their schedule.

Spot said...

I don't know which network moves I dislike more.


ABC: I believe Mixology has a 10-episode order, which would mean it'd run straight through to May. Unfortunately, that also means it'll have some periods where it has a Modern Family rerun as a lead-in. If ABC's goal is to broaden its sitcom roster, then they need to stop fighting against the natural pairings. Wednesdays this Fall could have easily been The Middle & The Goldbergs (or Surburgatory), Modern Family & Trophy Wife, and Super Fun Night & Mixology. I think the recent history of sitcoms in the 10:00 hour and wanting to avoid another Happy Endings situation is a factor into their thinking, but the end result is a waste of the potent post-MF slot. If either Killer Women, Mind Games, or Resurrection makes it to season 2, I'd be shocked. Really, the only thing I like is Suburgatory back to 8:30 but that's tempered by Back in the Game not displacing The Neighbors.


Fox: If it weren't for the two-season pick-up, I'd think Fox would stop bending over backwards for Glee instead of just burning the show off in the summer. I'm glad that Rake isn't at least being asked to self-start on Tuesdays, but I think Glee's return to Tuesday is partly why Us & Them was pre-canceled & Enlisted isn't getting a chance with Dads or Brooklyn 9-9. Should NBC's plan to move The Voice up an hour to 8:00 post-Olympics stay in tact, Glee will probably take an even bigger dive. As for Almost Human, I wonder if 24: Live Another Day will step into its slot should the freshman drama not get a back-order. Otherwise, Bones has to move back to Monday which makes no sense and begs the question of why it just didn't go on hiatus instead; Fox has Friday options in Kitchen Nightmares and the still-unscheduled Hotel Hell. Again, the only move I like is putting Mindy on hiatus and shifting 9-9 to 9:30, even though it means the tail end of its run is going to have New Girl reruns as a lead-in.

Spot said...

I think FOX played their pieces better, although they clearly don't like Enlisted. Could they have double-pumped Raising Hope to 88-and-out and then tagged in Enlisted/Us & Them? Actually, that'd probably have been wildly incompatible. Is there still a season of Hotel Hell on the bench?

Good call giving the playoff lead-in to The Following. They're basically doing with the conference championship what I expected them to do with the Super Bowl before they announced the New Girl/new comedy plan.

I agree that Glee needed to go back here a year ago. As it is, the winner here is Grey's, and that's the first and last good news they're getting for the spring schedule, because those changes look as famously bad as you'd expect from ABC.

Spot said...

what about Revenge at 10? a good move? a bad move? nothing will change?

Spot said...

"even though it means the tail end of its run is going to have New Girl reruns as a lead-in."
Assuming New Girl has 22 episodes order, then some rerun lead-ins for 9:30 PM show are bound.

However, last year order was 25 episodes. If it is same this year, then there will be only one rerun lead-in for 9:30 PM show. And that would be already scheduled December 3rd TNG repeat leading into The Mindy Project

Spot said...

Surviving Jack, Enlisted, and Mindy should be done before summer.

Spot said...

NBC might have audibled into a 9/8c slot for The Voice on spring Tuesdays, but with the chance to light 10% of next season's FOX schedule on fire (in addition to the 30% that already is with XF doomed and AI collapsing with it), they can't possibly do that now, surely? FOX would be battling with The Originals for fifth in the slot (behind NBC, CBS, ABC, and Univision - probably in that order). And with New Girl effectively also on a 44ep order for syndication, and nothing able to build out of it, that's... Well, frankly the only safe hours on the FOX 2014-15 sked right now are Monday 9/8c (SH/Following tag team) and... With Bones tanking on Friday I don't even think there's a second.

Can't see 24:LAD being kept away from regular season duty now.

Spot said...

I personally think it's a terrible move!

Spot said...

I think Grey's Anatomy benefiting is not as clear to me. I think it's mostly the other way around. When Glee was recently on hiatus for instance, Grey's didn't spike, its numbers were still constant, so I doubt it will matter that much.

Spot said...

I agree with you entirely on the ABC front because the only move I like is Suburgatory going back home. Other than that I absolutely hate everything they've done. I don't remember any network being so incompetent with their schedule for so long. The stupid part is that I still get surprised with what they do and we're talking about the network that thought it was a good idea to air Happy Endings after DWTS Results and PP after Apartment 23 so I should know better.


As for FOX, I disagree with you entirely. I think they were very smart and I like their schedule a lot. I think it's too soon to comment on the whole Monday and Friday situation because we need to see where AH settles, that's probably why it was left out of the schedule. FOX is bold enough to go back there and make moves if need be. As for Glee, I think you're misinterpreting. I don't think the move is meant to favor Glee, at all. I expect Glee to be pretty much in line with the numbers it's pulling now when moved (what GA gives, The Voice takes). As I explained in my comment above, I think it's all about helping New Girl. They used to be wildly compatible back in season 1 of NG. Although New Girl would always outrate it, it would always go down when Glee wasn't on. I think FOX is hoping that New Girl can retain Glee's audience and keep adding on it like it used to do. That, for me, will dictate the success or failure of the move, not Glee's numbers by themselves (ok, if it goes sub 1, then it's a failure, but you get my point).

Spot said...

I think NBC needs the 9pm hour for comedies, period. I think they will want to renew something, some comedy instead of two straight seasons of axing their entire freshman classes. About a Boy is probably that's something and they need to air it after the voice to ensure so...

Spot said...

Good point.

Spot said...

I think that if The Voice moves down to 8:00 in the Spring, Glee gets out of the Grey's Anatomy frying pan and into The Voice's fire. New Girl's season 1 bumps were assisted by a still-potent Glee, but what kind of assistance is a mid-1's show, with a year-to-date average is wildly inflated by a tribute episode, that's going to face another music-related show going to be? Compatibility alone isn't going to help (see: The Mindy Project). My opinion is that Fox decided Tuesdays was the least-bad option they had even though they missed one choice entirely: Wednesdays at 8. Shrinking Idol helps wean the network off of the show, and the 8:00 hour on that night is the easiest of the five weeknights.

For Almost Human, I'm not asking the question of if it's going to succeed. I'm supposing the best case scenario: hanging in the low-2's similar to Bones, and playing out its freshman season on Mondays. But like Spot I don't know if there's time in the production schedule to add episodes to get the show to May. Otherwise that's a lot of reruns. Unless Fox wants The Following to have no support, something would need to move in at 8:00.

Spot said...

I don't know how the damage from the Cory farewell was concentrated everywhere but Grey's. That's second to Suburgatory tanking post-MF as recent ratings surprises on broadcasts go to me. (Cable has been a shock-a-thon, especially AMC Sundays!)

Spot said...

FOX is scheduled
to start the 13-part Cosmos on Sunday, March 9. I'll guess that it will air at 7pm.

Spot said...

As I tweeted to you, I can not stand ABC's midseason moves. Happy Endings, Apartment 23, Super Fun Night and now Mixology will all take their turn behind Modern Family getting steadily worse retention. Of course, come the spring, Mixology will have to go without the strong lead-in as MF goes into reruns, where it'll tank and ABC will wonder "Wha happen'?", just like it has the past two years. Morons.

Why did FOX even greenlight these programs if they were just going to throw them down the chute? Us and Them, Enlisted and Surviving Jack, their entire midseason comedy slate, are all basically pre-cancelled, which is extraordinary. On the drama side, AH should have debuted after the NFC Championship game and The Following after the Super Bowl. By premiering AH early, they haven't helped it or Bones.

Spot said...

According to the guy writing Bubble Watch for TVBTN Gang Related is assumed to take Almost Human slot after AH airs its 13 episodes. Or earlier in case Almost Human collapses.

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