Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2016 Upfront Answers: ABC

With the schedule now official, here are the Upfront Answers! Analysis coming shortly.

ABC's upfront previews: Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Fall 2016 Schedule
8 pm Dancing with the Stars

Spot's Question: Is it finally time for Castle to leave?

Oh yeah. It left not just the Monday 10/9c hour, but the schedule entirely. After years and years of Castle at 10/9c, a new procedural will finally get the Monday 10/9c perch that so many episodic efforts of the recent past (most recently Forever two years ago) did not.


Fall 2016 Schedule
8 pm The Middle
9 pm Fresh Off the Boat
9:30 pm The Real O'Neals
10 pm Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD

Spot's Question: How thoroughly will ABC revamp Tuesday?

Well, the first two hours of the spring Tuesday lineup become the last two hours of the fall lineup. With marginal renewals Real O'Neals and SHIELD returning to the night, all will not be immediately well; SHIELD in particular will probably be in for continued rapid erosion. But ABC is giving the two-hour Tuesday block the best possible chance by moving one of its Wednesday "big guns" to the night. The Middle is definitely the most logical choice of the three; it's about equal in strength with The Goldbergs, and the younger of the two (thus the one that will probably last longest) stays at home on Wednesday.


Fall 2016 Schedule
8 pm The Goldbergs
9 pm Modern Family
9:30 pm Black-ish

Spot's Question: What takes over the 10/9c hour?

It's perhaps ABC's most buzzed newbie of all, the return of Kiefer Sutherland in Designated Survivor. Should something of this stature have been buried in the 10/9c hour, where it leads into local news and may have a cap on its same-day ratings potential? It's not necessarily ideal, but it would've been surprisingly hard to put it in an earlier hour where it could've helped something else that is actually worth helping. Even with Castle and Nashville gone, the network has quite a few modest-rated 10/9c masters to serve.

Another interesting question here is whether the network should've flipped Black-ish and Speechless, keeping the newbie after a "big gun" lead-in while allowing Black-ish to get away from African-American magnet Empire. I'm not feeling too strongly either way on this one; it'd be another move on a sked that already has a lot of them, and it allows Designated Survivor to not have to sweat out a newbie lead-in.


Fall 2016 Schedule
8 pm Grey's Anatomy
10 pm How to Get Away With Murder

Spot's Question: With Scandal bumped to midseason, what inherits the 9/8c hour?

ABC found a way to its best solution in theory, which was a drama with a back-nine option that could stay here if it really works. They did so by thinking outside of the Shondaland box, but Notorious is still a female-led drama that seems like a pretty good TGIT fit thematically. Would ABC actually be willing to throw Scandal to 10/9c or even another night if Notorious is big? I think they should be. Admittedly, that would be a great problem to have.


Fall 2016 Schedule
8 pm Last Man Standing
8:30 pm Dr. Ken
9 pm Shark Tank
10 pm 20/20

Spot's Question: Will those 8:00 hour comedies pull through?

Yep. That made the return of this schedule the easiest decision that ABC had, and ABC didn't get cute. (Not even sure what form "getting cute" would've taken in this case...)


Fall 2016 Schedule
7 pm America’s Funniest Home Videos
8 pm Once Upon a Time
9 pm Secrets and Lies
10 pm Quantico

Spot's Question: Where and what is the network's third Sunday hour?

It's the return of Secrets and Lies, a slow-starting but strong-retaining newbie in this hour during spring 2015. This seems like a fine way of plowing through on a very difficult night. It's been such a long hiatus for Secrets that I'm still not really sold that ABC actually likes/believes in it. It's a flier worth taking, and there will be some new blood at midseason. (The newbie Time After Time is the current plan.)


As I said in the Power Rankings two weeks ago, there was really only one "power move" in the ABC arsenal, and that was moving one of the Wednesday big guns to another night. Going to two comedy hours on Tuesday and not doing that would be a half-measure that could've left the whole night in huge peril yet again. But they went and did it, allowing both of their comedy newbies to get big gun lead-ins, and they should have at least some improved pulse on Tuesdays now. The new dramas also seem pretty well-situated. If this lineup doesn't work out for ABC, it will certainly not be for lack of trying.

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