ABC Unveils 2011-12 Primetime Schedule
We may have the first head-to-head faceoff of two-hour comedy blocks in years this spring. ABC, which is launching a new Tuesday 8-9 PM comedy block with the Tim Allen starrer Last Man Standing and Chris Moynihan’s Man Up, leading into the Dancing With the Stars result show, plans to extend the block to two hours between the two cycles of Dancing, ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee announced at a press conference this morning. In what could be dubbed “men vs. women,” the two comedies with male leads will be followed by Courteney Cox’s Cougar Town and freshman Apartment 23 starring Krysten Ritter. Fox, of course, already has a 8-10 PM comedy block anchored by Glee at 8 PM and announced yesterday that it will convert it into a four-show block in March when Glee goes on hiatus. Since Dancing usually returns at the end of March, there is a good chance for the two four-comedy blocks to go toe to toe for a couple of weeks, a return to the old times when comedy ruled primetime with blocks on virtually every night of the week. Read More »
It was another sad Monday ratings performance for NBC, which hit another season low on the night with all original programming. Chuck (1.3/4) was even with last week, tying its series low. But it also delivered NBC’s highest demo rating last night. The Event (1.1/3) was down 13% from its last original two weeks ago for a series low. And the relaunch of Law & Order: Los Angeles continues to sputter. In its second week since the series’ return last Monday, the Law & Order spinoff drew a 1.1/3, down a steep 27% from the two-hour midseason premiere last week. Such an underwhelming performance bodes well for David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law, which did better in the slot earlier this midseason.
ABC’s Dancing With the Stars performance show (3.9/11) was down 13% from last week to rank as the lowest-rated spring performance telecast ever for the venerable reality franchise. In its special airing after Dancing, a new Cougar Town (2.3/6) was down 15% from its last original Feb. 2. Proving that comedy series do better in a block, even with a weaker lead-in, that last original followed a Modern Family repeat. The first of a slew of specials about the upcoming Royal Wedding, ABC News: William & Catherine: A Modern Fairytale, averaged a 1.7/4 at 10 PM. Read More »
ABC has handed early pickups for next season to six scripted series: flagship comedy Modern Family and the other sophomore members of the network’s Wednesday comedy block, The Middle and Cougar Town, flagship drama Grey’s Anatomy, its spinoff Private Practice and crime dramedy Castle. Additionally, a deal for two more cycles of the network’s top reality series Dancing with the Stars is in the works.
Most of the early renewals are in the “no-brainer” category: Modern Family, The Middle and Castle are up in the ratings from last season by double digits. Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy are the highest-rated comedy and drama series on TV among adults 18-49. (Dancing is holding the honor on the unscripted side.) Season-to-date, Private Practice is down 8% in the demo, but that is less than the decline of its lead-in, Grey’s (11%), and Private Practice remains the strongest, highest-rated 10 PM series on ABC. The only mild surprise on the list of early renewals was Cougar Town, which is up only 3% in the demo vs. 36% for its lead-in, Modern Family, but it seems ABC brass opted to pick up its three Wednesday comedies en block, just as the network did at the same time last year. At its TCA presentation last January, the network announced early renewals for Modern Family, The Middle and Cougar Town, which were followed by an early pickup for Castle in March. Sources stress not to read too … Read More »
This trend of comedies at 10 PM seems to be catching on quickly at the broadcast networks. Right after NBC announced that it will expand its 8-10 PM Thursday comedy block to 11 PM in midseason, ABC is doing the same with its Wednesday 8-10 PM comedy block. Beginning April 13, the network will air midseason comedy Happy Endings at 10 PM, followed by Modern Family reruns branded as “fan favorites” at 10:30 PM.
ABC will start warming up the Wednesday 10 PM slot with comedies this month by pulling canceled legal drama The Whole Truth earlier than previously planned and replacing it with Modern Family and Cougar Town repeats. Before that, from February 9 through April 6, ABC’s other midseason comedy, Mr. Sunshine, will take over the network’s plum post-Modern Family slot at 9:30 PM to give the Matthew Perry-starring comedy the best possible launching pad. One Friends alum, Courteney Cox, will make room for another, Perry, as Cougar Town, which airs in the 9:30 PM time period, will go on hiatus, returning on April 13. With the time off, Cougar Town now has 20 of its 22 episodes scheduled, with the remaining 2 expected to get a berth too, either replacing a Cougar Town rerun or in a different spot on the schedule. As previously announced, anchoring the Wednesday lineup at 10 PM from Feb. 9 through April 6 will be the new medical drama Off the Map. With … Read More »