Updated: ABC Announces No Ordinary Family Time Slot Change For a Few Weeks

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

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October 15th, 2010

Update: within 5 minutes of posting this ABC announced its plans to air No Ordinary Family Tuesdays at 9pm between November 30-December 14.  Edit: Julia notes Josef Adalian at Vulture tweeted about this more than an hour before I posted.  In my defense, I originally wrote this post on Wednesday!

This post was originally titled: Should ABC Move No Ordinary Family to a New Time Slot?

In e-mail and elsewhere I’ve heard cries that ABC should move No Ordinary Family to a “better” time slot.

Any scheduling change has to have an overall net benefit.  If it benefits one show at the expense of another show for the same (or worse) net ratings,  scheduling moves don’t pay off.

With that in mind, the following seems likely based on ABC’s current ratings performance:

  • ABC isn’t going to change its Monday schedule
  • ABC isn’t going to change its Wednesday schedule between 8p-10p unless the change involves a 30 minute sitcom.
  • ABC isn’t going to change its Thursday schedule between 9p-11p
  • ABC isn’t going to change its Sunday schedule with the exception of 8p-9p
  • Nobody wants to see No Ordinary Family moved to Friday

You can add on top of that, that ABC really doesn’t want to air No Ordinary Family in the 10pm slot, but I think it’s a reasonable for discussion purposes anyway, at least for Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10pm.

The above assumptions leave the following as options:

Sunday at 8pm:  I wouldn’t see that as a favorable move for NOF, particularly against  30 minutes of NFL.

Tuesday at 9pmV returns January 4th and it will air at 9pm.  For purposes of this analysis I was considering the possibility of any imminent moves before January.

ABC could flip-flop No Ordinary Family & the DWTS Results Show.  But ABC deliberately wants to keep Dancing with the Stars away from Glee.

Even without Glee (and the same scheduling dynamic is in place for ABC whether it’s Glee or American Idol)  there’s the question for ABC of are they really any better off by such a move.  The move would likely boost No Ordinary Family at least a little bit, but it would also likely hurt DWTS at least a little bit (and putting DWTS against Glee likely means more than a little bit).  This past Tuesday No Ordinary Family got a 2.3 adults 18-49 rating and DWTS a 3.5.

Even without Glee for such a move to be worthwhile, it needs to help No Ordinary Family more than just a little bit.  While it might be fun for fans of No Ordinary Family to imagine a world without Glee or American Idol, the ABC schedulers have no such luxury.  ABC will want to protect the decent DWTS ratings.

I don't see such a move happening, though assuming a back order for No Ordinary Family, and assuming it isn't mostly in reruns during V's run, wondering whether ABC should flip-flop it with V during V's run is a reasonable thing to wonder.

Tuesdays at 10pm:   10pm is supposed to be the hallowed ground of more adult-themed dramas.  On the other hand, whether  The Forgotten or Detroit 1-8-7, ABC hasn’t had any success there recently.  Clearly Detroit 1-8-7 isn’t taking advantage of a DWTS lead-in.   But the truth is, nobody does all that well Tuesdays at 10pm.  Blame the DVR, people needing sleep, Sons Of Anarchy (and all the other cable options), but this past Tuesday, Parenthood barely scraped by with a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, Detroit 1-8-7 a 1.7, and The Good Wife a 2.5  (in a tie with The Defenders for CBS’s lowest-rated non-Friday scripted drama).

If it’s a “Good news, we’re giving you a DWTS lead-in, bad news, you’ll be on at 10pm,” none of the data points to No Ordinary Family being better off for that move.

Wednesdays at 10pm:    10pm is supposed to be the hallowed ground of more adult-themed dramas. Whether Eastwick or The Whole Truth (or even a 20/20 special on the Chilean miners, which only pulled a 1.7 rating) ABC hasn’t had much success there recently.  But the truth is, nobody does all that well Wednesdays at 10pm.  On Wednesday night Law & Order: Los Angeles dipped below a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, the aforementioned 20/20 special pulled a 1.7 (a week earlier The Whole Truth had a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating), and CBS’s The Defenders pulled a 2.5 (in a tie with The Good Wife for CBS’s lowest-rated non-Friday scripted drama).

Those who believe in the majesty of scheduling shows so that the shows flow together might see a plus here.  It could be argued that No Ordinary Family would flow better out of Cougar Town than The Whole Truth.   But such a move would mean not only a new time, but a new day.   Any outcome that didn’t produce higher ratings than Tuesdays at 8pm (and if I had to bet, I’d bet the move produced lower ratings) would lead to ABC being pelted with “What did they expect, they moved the show to a new day and put it on at 10pm!”

I can’t see this move happening.

Thursdays at 8pm:  Into the scrum against The Big Bang Theory, Bones and NBC comedies?   I don’t see it.

Other considerations:  I know that some think that Castle, now in its third season, should be able to stand on its own without a Dancing with the Stars lead-in. It’s a reasonable thing to think, but with the ABC Mon-Thurs 10pm hour being 50% bad news and with Castle being in the 50% that’s good news, I don’t see ABC tinkering with Mondays in the near term.

Predicted Outcome:  ABC leaves No Ordinary Family exactly where it is and hopes that things pick up a little with daylight saving time.

 
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