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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FALL TV REPORT CARD 2009: ABC

Now that the fall season is winding down (November sweeps is considered the final ratings period before special-filled December gives the nets a breathing period before January and, more importantly, February sweeps), here is a look at how ABC did this fall.

NEW SHOWS: ABC had a terrific, buzz-filled fall. Shows like MODERN FAMILY, COUGAR TOWN, FLASHFORWARD and V all hit their marks. On the flip side, THE FORGOTTEN, EASTWICK, HANK, and SHARK TANK, well, tanked. And somewhere in the middle was, um, THE MIDDLE. After huge premieres, though, all of ABC's new shows fell significantly, and if FLASHFORWARD continues to sink, it's chances of a second season will be questionable. Ditto V. The show is still buzz-hot, but can't afford too many more dips in the 18 to 49 demo. Will the 8 week hiatus hurt it? Not sure. Overall, I would give ABC a B+ for it's new shows.

RETURNING SHOWS: ABC had a terrible fall for its returning shows, as evidenced by the declines for DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, BROTHERS & SISTERS and DANCING WITH THE STARS. All three shows have seen their best days, I'm afraid. And forget about UGLY BETTY seeing a fifth season. GREYS ANATOMY continues to slide, but is still a player, which has helped PRIVATE PRACTICE. CASTLE has seen some recent progress, but is still considered an under-achiever.
Overall, I would give ABC a C- for it's returning shows.

LOOKING AHEAD: Very iffy! BETTER OFF TED had a terrible summer run, and SCRUBS is coming back revamped (but is it better? And keep in mind, SCRUBS has never been a ratings powerhouse for either ABC or NBC). HOwever, ABC also has the final season of LOST on deck, so that's comforting news. As for the new shows, HAPPY TOWN looks interesting, but I can't say the same for THE DEEP END.

ABC NIGHT BY NIGHT:
MONDAY: DANCING WITH THE STARS and CASTLE (Still a good night, but nowhere near what past seasons have provided the alphabet network. Ratings will continue to slide as DANCING gets older. Now is the time to be thinking about a future on MOnday nights for ABC). B

TUESDAY: V, DANCING RESULTS and THE FORGOTTEN (V is still promising, improving vastly upon SHARK TANK, DANCING RESULTS continues to see erosion, and THE FORGOTTEN is toxic. With SHARK, this night was a D) But with V saving the day (so far), this night also gets a B.

WEDNESDAY: Ballsy, and reminiscent of the PUSHING DAISIES/PRIVATE PRACTICE/DIRTY SEXY MONEY scheduling a couple years back, ABC went with an all-new line-up of shows, and the result was hit and miss. THe misses were HANK and EASTWICK (both now cancelled), and the hits were MODERN FAMILY and COUGAR TOWN (with an assist from THE MIDDLE). That averages to a C+. If ABC can work some more hits into the night, by the end of the season, ABC could be in the B range for this night as well.

THURSDAY: One of ABC's better nights, with the buzzy (but faltering) FLASHFORWARD, the still-mighty (but faltering) GREY'S ANATOMY and the so-so PRIVATE PRACTICE grabbing viewers. ABC usually wins the night, and so it grades at an A-

FRIDAY: UGLY BETTY didnt improve the hour, which was a disappointment. And SUPERNANNY and 20/20 are what they are: filler. GRADE: C-

SATURDAY: A weak night for all the nets, and so I wont be grading this night. But if I were, ABC had the success of college football to power the night.

SUNDAY: AMERICAS FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS does well enough and will be around forever, but what troubled ABC were the huge declines for EXTREME MAKEOVER HOME EDITION, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (it still wins its time slot, but the averages are off in the double digits), and BROTHERS & SISTERS. If ABC can schedule some new juice around their HOUSEWIVES, the effect could rub off on the DESPERATE show and pump up its numbers. GRADE: B-


ABC overall GRADE (Average between the nightly grades:) B-

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