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ABC has scheduled a two-night miniseries about convicted investment fraudster Bernie Madoff for Feb. 3-4, 2016. It will run from 8 to 10 p.m. ET/PT each night

It’s an old-fashioned sweeps programming move — but more important, it will also affect the scheduling for two of ABC’s bigger shows, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”

Both shows, along with their TGIT companion “How to Get Away with Murder,” have their fall finales on Nov. 19.

Last season, after airing fall finales the week before Thanksgiving, the Thursday lineup returned the final week in January. Were ABC to do that again, however, it would mean one week on immediately followed by a pre-emption for “Madoff” — the exact scheduling pattern the long mideason breaks are supposed to avoid.

ABC didn’t respond to an e-mail about return dates for “Grey’s” and “Scandal,” but it seems likely that their returns will wait until Feb. 11 to ensure a full run through the end of the TV season. It will then be on “Madoff” to attempt to come close to what those two shows usually pull in the ratings.

(The Feb. 3 debut of “Madoff” is less of a problem for ABC, since the Wednesday comedy block will likely return Jan. 6 to support “American Crime.” It’s also an easier ask for fans of half-hour shows that don’t generally have continuing storylines to take a week off.)

What do you think of scheduling “Madoff” on a Thursday in sweeps?

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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