ABC Needs New Blood

Posted by on May 11, 2011 in Gossip | 15 comments

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.

Season-to-date average

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?



  1. i assume they mean that they need a new show just as popular as greys? cause NOTHIGN can ever replace Grey’s Anatomy and our own favs as MerDer (<33333), Calzona, Slexie, Crowen and whatever the couples are.. But i mean nothing can ever beat that, not for me anyways.. It's like trying to start a new OC without the fab 4 ?! yeah, N O T gonna happend! :)

    • @linda, I really agree with you. Greys anatomy has been one of the best shows and most viewed shows in year. We cant deny the ratings have fallen but you cant really expect for a show to have the same 23 million viewers for 8 years in a row. Plus, we as fans, are he viewers that really count and to me, greys is like the only reason to actually watch abc. And how do they pretend for off the map to not be compared to greys when they always say in the promos “From the producers of greys anatomy” really?!?! we do have to accept the fact that greys will eventually end but no show will ever be compared to what it is.

      • @G_lover123, I am with you 100%. Another thing to keep in mind is the proliferation of cable programing. With so many cable channels that are developing very competitive programming, it is natural for viewership to spread thin. With a couple of exceptions, network programs don’t seem to attract more than 10 to 12 million viewers. Just a few years ago, programs with more viewers than that were canceled. Also, now there are more alternative to viewers to catch up with the programs such as online and DVR’s.

  2. One of the problems I have with new shows on ABC is that they promote them to freakin early! I might have been interested in Off the Map but by the 1500th commercial, i didn’t want anything to do with it. Then they pre-empted Private Practice with little notice with a very weak episode just when PP was picking up steam.

    I know we have at least 1 more season of Grey’s to enjoy. I hope we get more though. My Thursday nights will not be the same without it.

    • @VictryAngel619, that is very true about the commercial -.- i started hating their commercials and especially when they used the tick of the sneak peak for the musical episode after off the map and then they gave us a shitty sneak. My life will not be the same at all without greys :(

  3. Grey’s is my favorite show on TV. It has been since it’s premier. Renew it in Season 9 and as long as it remains popular. If that means giving more money to the stars of the show, do what it takes to keep them. I can’t imagine life without Grey’s and MerDer, Bailey, Alex, Slexie and the most of the others. Keep the stars happy so you can have your money making show, Grey’s Anatomy!!

  4. “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.”
    Sadly enough, unique and original shows are not received well either-one example is the wonderful Pushing Daisies. Reality TV is taking over, and it kind of makes me not want to even turn on the tube anymore. Grey’s has been creative this season with trying some new things, but those were considered some of their lowest rated episodes. I wish Grey’s could continue forever, but with the main catered-to demographic watching less each week, it’s not likely to succeed. Once GA goes off the air, it’s gonna be a sad day for me.

  5. One thing the article does not mention is the writing. Some of the shows had a really strong premise but the writing or even the casting was just god-awful. IMO, Off The Map had the potential to be a good show. The cases were really interesting and writing was pretty good, but the casting was way, WAY off. These actors had no screen presence, no chemistry. It was actually painful to watch them. And as far as the writing, you have a show like “Happy Endings” and “Better With You” that have the potential of being good ensemble shows and they get totally killed by the poor, poor writing. The writing on H.E. is so incredibly juvenile that it ceases to be funny. I root for ABC, they are my favorite network and I hope they can come up with better material/writing/casting for next season.
    BTW, Shonda is working on a new pilot also about a publicist that sounds, really, really interesting. I hope they don’t promote it as ‘from the creators of Grey’s Anatomy’ because GA stands on its own and I don’t think fans appreciate the association. I know I kind of resented Shonda for getting involved in OTM, especially when it drove her to do only 22 episodes for GA and PP because she was so over-committed.

    • @Enforce,

      Agree with what you said here and in your previous post.I’ve been following the buzz on pilot season and it seems that Shonda’s show – and Charlie’s Angels – will probably get picked up (which will mean that if it gets a decent run we will have seen the last of Thatcher as JP is cast as a regular in the new show)

      This will be the new head honcho’s first pilot season and I do hope he has better luck than McPherson had in the past couple of years .

      And Body Of Proof will probably get a fall pick up as well so thats 3 slots off the table –

      Do you think they will continue to play safe in the slot before Grey’s with Wipeout after the last 4 dramas in that slot have all been cancelled

      • @Humbugged, Like you said, Wipeout is a safe bet. Not great. Not awful. That time slot pretty much goes to American Idol anyways. So that considered, Wipeout is not too bad. They are not going to win the 18-49 as long as Idol is on anyways. While I don’t watch Wipeout, at least it seems to be an entertaining show for a younger audience. If I was a suit at ABC, I wouldn’t invest on trying to dethrone Idol. I would reformat DWTS before it slips too low and focus on the time slots that actually have a chance at being competitive with solid writing and out of the box programming. The 18-49 demo is demands creative, contemporary shows and ABC needs to appeal to that. And I’m sure Body of Proof will get picked up. It actually does better than ‘The Good Wife’ on the 18-49. And it’s actually a good show. Not great or outstanding, but solid.

  6. I glad they are looking for new blood. Grey’s need to get the pressure off its shoulders. So the writers can give a end.

    The best shows are those who have a end,not those who doesn’t. That why people like show on HBO more, because they don’t go on and on and become ridiculous.

    • @psyisnotcrap, Grey’s, an any other older show, will end when it stops being profitable to the studios. Not before. Grey’s continues to put out great, controversial and edgy story lines and they continue to win the 18-49 demo ratings. And with the new characters, new paradigms and the evolving nature of the medical profession, there are still plenty of stories to tell.

      • @Enforce, Sorry but I could never watching this show for 15 seasons, I getting bore with it as it is.

        • @psyisnotcrap, And that’s ok. If enough people feel like you, they will stop watching, the ratings will drop, and the show will be canceled. But while some old viewers are tuning out, there are also new followers that are tuning in. Only time will tell. I think 15 years is really pushing it though.

          • @Enforce, I rather this GA end in a good note than see go like ER with a fizzle rather than a bang. I rather see Shonda end it on her terms than GA ends because is old.