Media Life Magazine has an article on what ABC needs to do to increase ratings overall. It seems to suggests nurturing new shows and cutting the safe. But read on and see what you think.
ABC still has three of the top shows on television in “Dancing with the Stars,” “Modern Family” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
But its schedule also includes a large number of low-rated shows, equal parts failing new programs and struggling veterans, and the network has stumbled when challenged to find new shows to replace the aging ones.
In plotting out next season, new president Paul Lee’s mandate is clear: find some strong new shows that can ease the burden on the older, increasingly expensive ones, allowing the network to retire them.
It’s the same mandate that the network failed to fulfill last year under then-president Stephen McPherson.
ABC holds its upfront presentation next Tuesday, May 17.
Here’s a look at what the network’s big concerns are for next season and how it did this year.
This is a first in a series of stories on the broadcast networks in advance of next week’s presentations.
Averaging a 2.4 adults 18-49 rating and 7 share, down 11 percent from last year
Top returning shows
“Dancing with the Stars” (fourth overall in total viewers); “Modern Family” (sixth in 18-49s) “Grey’s Anatomy” (ninth in 18-49s)
ABC’s trio of top shows are very strong, with “Stars” challenging Fox’s “American Idol” in recent weeks for No. 1 among total viewers and “Family” and “Grey’s” among the most DVRed shows on television.
The new drama “Body of Proof” has done well at 10 p.m. Tuesday behind “Stars” and will likely be renewed for a second season, although its audience has dipped a bit since NBC’s new hit “The Voice” began airing in the same timeslot two weeks ago.
ABC still does well among young women, the audience who turned “Grey’s” and “Housewives” into hits. That’s why borderline shows like “Private Practice” and “Brothers & Sisters” continue to make the schedule; they also generate a great deal of online buzz.
Media people are generally optimistic that Lee will avoid some of the pitfalls that befell predecessor McPherson, such as failing to shake up the schedule when some shows were clearly no longer working.
With Lee, the former head of ABC Family, the network gains a new perspective with less sentimentality for some of the shows that may have lingered too long on its schedule.
ABC’s drama development has been poor the past few years. Not only did new shows such as “Off the Map” and “The Whole Truth” garner low ratings, they were creative disappointments as well.
ABC also has troubles on Sunday and Thursday, where declining ratings for its veteran shows have media buyers concerned. They would like to see some changes on those nights to address their concerns, such as moving a new show behind “Housewives” in what’s expected to be its final season.
Finally, the network has had little luck using hit shows such as “Family” to launch new successes. If it could find such a pairing, that would go a long way to helping the network’s overall standing; it will likely finish third this season behind Fox and CBS but in front of NBC.
Promising new shows
The network has two-dozen shows in development, with three considered the strongest bets to make the schedule. One is a comedy pilot from Tim Allen that focuses on the issues of being a man amidst a gaggle of women. It’s similar in theme to Allen’s one-time hit ABC show “Home Improvement.”
Drama “Poe,” in which Edgar Allen Poe is cast as a 19th century detective, is considered a strong contender for fall, as is “Good Christian Bitches,” about women who return to their childhood homes, from “Sex and the City’s” Darren Star. But don’t expect that title to make it on the schedule.
Assuming “Stars’” and “Grey’s” ratings don’t fall too much more next year, it would only take a few tweaks for ABC to reverse this year’s ratings declines.
It did as poorly as it did because its crop of new shows performed so dismally.
A strong development slate is therefore a must.
Seven years after the debuts of “Grey’s,” “Housewives” and “Lost” revitalized the network, ABC needs the next “Grey’s,” “Housewives” and “Lost.”
(Source|Media Life Magazine)
Thank you to Uniquely Yours for sending this in!
This article is a little contradictory in my opinion. While it seems to heavily suggest that shows like Grey’s are continuing to carry the network it is also suggesting that they need to find a newer show to perhaps replace it.
The trouble is that by finding a “New Grey’s” it instantly becomes compared to Grey’s. I think that may have been the downfall of Off the Map. It was viewed as Grey’s Anatomy in the Jungle. While the writers may have wanted to distance themselves, the viewers couldn’t. When you create a show that is either related or in a similar vein, the show will automatically get compared. Both the positives and the negatives become focal points but not to the merit of the show but in terms of its comparisons.
It is extremely hard for any show to exist now without it being compared to something else. Grey’s gets it with ER and other hospital based shows. Unless it is something completely unique and so off the wall that there has never been anything similar, a show will find it extremely hard to come into its own.
I think networks need to look more into their shows which are continuing to bring in revenue and reward them for that giving them better budgets and staff, rather than spreading themselves thin with shows which prove to be pale imitations and unable to hold up in an increasingly critical viewer market. When you see the best and are impressed with it, you want to see better. And when “better” falls flat, it falls hard.
What are your thoughts?