Last Season: Last season we saw some viewer erosion for the Alphabet, finishing fourth in the coveted 18-49 demographic and third overall in ratings. Additionally, the network seemed to strike out on multiple fronts, with many of its’ new dramas getting quick leashes, while it’s two more adult comedy offerings (including critical darling Happy Endings) got the ax. The ratings erosion even affected ABC’s centerpiece series Dancing with the Stars, which is starting to show it’s age.
This season: It seems like ABC is generally staying the course wherever possible, with it’s strong focus on female and family-friendly television. What this means is that the network tended to stay the course most nights, with the exception of it’s Tuesday night lineup.
Speaking of it’s Tuesday night lineup, it starts with some cross-marketing and what in my humble opinion is the most hyped new show of the season: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The show, which clearly falls into Disney’s cross-promotion wheelhouse, follows the smaller happenings of the Marvel Universe and is leaned to not only provide a backdrop to the greater Marvel movieverse, but also is the clear tentpole show of the night. It is followed up by an hour of new sitcoms in The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife and the drama Lucky 7. All of those shows debut on September 24th.
This new Tuesday lineup exists due to reduction of long-time ratings bulwark Dancing with the Stars (9/16) from two nights to one. It continues to occupy two hours on Monday night followed by detective show Castle (9/23).
From there, we see much of the same with the rest of ABC’s lineup. Wednesdays and Fridays remain family comedy nights, with the return of Wednesday night juggernaut Modern Family (9/25) and 8 p.m tentpole The Middle (9/25). However, the next week we see ABC’s only attempt to break from the dom-com heavy comedy lineup with the Rebel Wilson vehicle Super Fun Night (10/2). Music drama Nashville closes out the Wednesday lineup.
Sunday and Thursday, meanwhile remain as ABC’s nights for it’s soapy, gossipy dramas. The Sunday lineup remains relatively untouched, with last years combo of Once Upon a Time, and Revenge being joined by Betrayal starting on September 29th. Similarly Thursday nights are the domain of veteran medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (9/19), which is flanked this year by political soap Scandal (9/26) and spin-off Once Upon A Time in Wonderland (10/3).
Finally, Saturdays in the fall are typically occupied by college football on ABC, so there isn’t particularly much to comment on there.
Tomorrow: Tomorrow we take a look at ratings’ leader CBS to see what new tricks the Tiffany network has up its’ sleeve for this year.