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Update (17/01):

TV Line is reporting that ABC has placed a bid to acquire the rights to air Thursday Night Football next season! If that happens, both Grey's Anatomy and Scandal would have to be moved, which certainly opens up a number of infinite possibilities.

Personally, I have no interest in football and the more scripted content the better. But as far as ABC is concerned, this is the best move they could do! For reference, here are some numbers posted by Thursday Night Football vs how ABC has rated those nights:

(Date - Thursday Night Football vs. ABC)
12/12 - 3.3 vs. 2.2
05/12 - 1.7 vs. 2.1
21/11 - 2.9 vs. 2.1
14/11 - 2.4 vs. 2.1
07/11 - 2.4 vs. 2.1
31/10 - 2.5 vs. 2.6
24/10 - 1.8 vs. 2.4
17/10 - 2.3 vs. 23
10/10 - 3.1 vs. 2.5
03/10 - 2.8 vs. 2.8
26/09 - 3.2 vs. 2.7

So yeah, football has been slightly higher rated than ABC (2.59 vs. 2.35) but, IMO, that's not the correct comparison to be making here! If football takes up Thursdays in the fall, ABC would be able to move up GA and Scandal to another problematic night (Monday or Tuesday seem the likeliest)! Assuming the ratings of theses show hold more or less, that means the correct comparison would be to compare the ratings football gets with the hours it would replace on the other days (in other words, the slots of Lucky 7/Killer Women, the Sunday at 10 hour and potentially the Nashville or the Tuesday comedies hour) and when you make that comparison, the win is incredible for ABC!

This certainly opens up a lot of possibilities schedule wise!! How would you go about it? Remember, there are three issues here:
- Which hours would go to make room for this?
- Where would you move Grey's Anatomy and Scandal to? (Remember: football takes up all the 3 Thursday hours!)
- What would you program on Thursday in the winter/spring?

Have at it and let's see some opinions!

Original Post

Hey everyone.

Today I've decided to leave the analysis a bit on the side while the networks finish premiering their winter schedules and go for something a bit different. It's an experiment around here, so let's see how it goes! We've all been puzzled with the way network program certain shows and we've all come up with suggestions as to how they should do it better - today I've decided to give us the power to effectively do so in an integrated manner!

I will be presenting my own fantasy schedule and then I will invite you to do the same, following a series of guidelines that aim to keep the situation as realistic as possible! Hopefully you find it fun and it is also an interesting way to get some more insights on what goes behind networks' decisions.

Let's kick things off with the network that is having by far the worst start to the Winter Season, which is ABC. Here is how I would do it:

Bearing this in mind, this is how I would program ABC next year:


The main points I would highlight from this schedule:

1) The most important move to me is for ABC to change its reality to Sundays and to get OUAT out of Sundays. Sadly, I cannot in good conscience move Revenge as well at this point, because the show is already too weak for a slot that is not at 10pm and I cannot justify premiering a new show on the Sunday environment while giving Revenge the midweek slot (it could be swapped with Nashville, maybe even at midseason, but for the sake of minimizing moves, I am leaving them put). ABC should have moved it this past season but now I think it's too late for Revenge. Regardless, I could see it severely improving with The Bachelor as lead-in and with no major competition at 10pm while also avoiding awards season entirely. As for OUAT, maybe it doesn't improve much on what DWTS does Mondays at 8 but I think at least the bleeding slows down and if the reality franchises improve with the swap, it's already a win anyway. It's not like OUAT as a bunch of drama competition at Mondays at 8 anyway and despite the presence of the voice, remember that the slot should be significantly easier next year as How I Met Your Mother departs. As for DWTS, reducing it to 1 season a year should slowdown the bleeding and making it feel more like an event type of program.

2) On Tuesdays, I would absolutely swap Shield and the comedies because 1)it gives less comedy competition to the comedies, because 2)it takes Shield away from NCIS which is clearly hurting it as seen by the numbers it posted when the CBS procedural went into repeats and because 3) it would give the Shield lead-in to a 10pm drama. Why ABC hasn't done this already at midseason is beyond me!

3) The main point about Wednesday would be to have it STABLE the entire year. They cannot keep changing the block as much as they have been doing and they cannot keep mixing up originals and repeats as they love to do as no show can benefit from that. Keep Suburgatory where it belongs and post a FAMILY (no more hangouts there) comedy that is able to make for a consistent block.




4) On Thursdays, it's all about moving up Shonda one hour. While I understand ABC's resistance to do this, I think it's sort of inevitable, especially with the news that Shonda will launch a third drama, which seems the perfect fit for this 10pm slot. The other alternative I see is if they find a strong reality brand that they can get behind and seriously promote to take the 8pm slot, but if that doesn't happen, I think they ought to move GA and Scandal up an hour.

5) Keep Fridays consistent as there are already plenty of moves everywhere. I realize they could probably do a bit better than TN but I doubt a new show would do better than MC and that wasn't good enough for them, so I don't know what they can expect. I want to avoid them premiering too many new stuff anyway, which is also why I think Suburgatory should remain on Wednesdays. I don't think it's too big of a deal to leave TN here, but I don't feel strongly about it anyway.

6) Keep airing serialized shows in bunches and replace them with reality at midseason like they are doing on Thursdays this year.

7) Order another couple of dramas and comedies in case the new ones flop. Worst case scenario, they are included in the summer scheduled replacing some of the low-rated reality or repeats planned.

8) For the summer schedule, try to launch two new dramas and promote them as serious investments like CBS did with Under the Dome. Repeat the comedies and the procedural (Castle) but replace the rest with cheap stuff.

9) This assumes that Mixology, Ressurection and Mind Games are all cancelled. If the ratings warrant a different outcome, I would have to adjust this accordingly. This also assume that shows that are not here have been cancelled (Trophy Wife, Killer Women, Super Fun Night, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Betrayal).

10) I have two big moves on the fall schedule which are The Bachelor to Sundays and OUAT to Mondays. There are also moves within the same day both Tuesday and Thursday but I think those are easier to promote and for people to realize. Therefore, I consider my amount of moves to be reasonable!

11) Remember that this is how you would program REGARDLESS of your preferences! Sometimes that will require you making tough choices like putting shows you like on bad slots or cancelling shows you like!

So, there it goes, this is my ABC schedule! Thoughts about it?

I would now like to invite you to follow my lead and come up with your own schedule as well. A few guidelines for that:
1) Aim for year-round programming, which means including Summer (that's the challenge networks have too!)
2) Use repeats as you deem fit but remember that you should not have systematically programmed repeats for the fall.
3) Decide which shows to air with repeats and breaks the whole year (except summer) and which to air with split seasons.
4) You must premiere 4-5 new hours (comedy, reality or drama) in the fall. No limits for the winter, summer or spring, but remember to be reasonable (networks cannot promote too many shows not they have the budget to greenlight too much)
5) If you do two cycles of a reality franchise, remember that it requires a replacement for the hiatus in between
6) Watch out for the moves you make! Networks cannot make too many moves at once as it requires a lot of promotion!
7) You cannot program a Sunday edition of DWTS during fall because the judges are busy with the UK version of the program. Winter, Spring or Summer are available.
8) No more than 25 episodes per season of any comedy, 24 of any procedural and 22 of any serialized drama.

To facilitate your making of the schedule, just copy paste what is below and fill it up in the comments section. Add half hour slots whenever you need to or simply use a "+"! Separate the four different seasons (Summer / Fall / Winter / Spring) with "/" (Ex. In My schedule, Monday 8h: The Bachelorette/ Once Upon a Time / The Quest/ Once Upon a Time!)

Monday 8h:
Monday 9h:
Monday 10h:
Tuesday 8h:
Tuesday 9h:
Tuesday 10h:
Wednesday 8h:
Wednesday 9h:
Wednesday 10h:
Thursday 8h:
Thursday 9h:
Thursday 10h:
Friday 8h:
Friday 9h:
Friday 10h:
Sunday 8h:
Sunday 9h:
Sunday 10h:

I will be looking forward to see what you can come up with and also to see what are your thoughts on my own schedule! Thanks for reading, as always!

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