Fall Wrap-Up: ABC

With the 2011-2012 fall TV season officially over and a slew of new mid-season spring programs right around the corner, its time to analyze each network’s performance this fall season. Which network was successful in launching new fall shows? Which networks have a have holes to fill and a lot of pressure in launching new spring shows to make up for a lackluster fall season? All of your questions will be answered here in the 1st edition of the TV Talk with JWalk Fall Wrap-Up.


In my opinion, ABC has had the best fall season of all of the broadcast networks. Only having 2 new returning shows from the 2010-2011 season (Body of Proof and Happy Endings – and those shows werent watercooler hits in the first place), ABC had to prove itself this season as it faced a slew of problems which included finding companion shows for its Wednesday night comedy hits The Middle and Modern Family, finding shows to fill the gaps on Tuesday nights, and start developing new hits to replace aging dramas Grey’s Anatomy and the departing Desperate Housewives.

ABC has exceeding expectations this fall, debuting 7 new shows, which is a lot for one network during the fall season, and have developed them into competitive and possible long-lasting hits.

ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee can take credit in having on of the most solid comedy line-ups on TV with its successful Wednesday nights shows. ABC has added the new comedy suburbia-mocking, Suburgatory to Wednesdays, which is the perfect bridge to fill at 830p.m. between The Middle and reigning Emmy Champ Modern Family.

ABC took a chance with renewing Happy Endings for a second season after debuting to less than stellar ratings in April, and giving it the lucrative post-Modern Family timeslot at 930p.m. this season. That gamble heavily paid off. After having a slow start early in the season, Happy Endings surprised everyone by excelling in the ratings, reaching as much as 8 million viewers, and getting a 3.5 rating in the 18-49 demo for its October 26th episode, a huge gain from its previous airings, and that was airing after a repeat of Modern Family. Ratings have been on the rise ever since, solidifying Happy Endings as a true comedy performer it deserves to be for ABC.

Wednesdays wasnt the only night where ABC has found comedy success this fall. The network has also been lucky enough to find a steady comedy performer on Tuesday nights with Tim Allen’s TV comeback in Last Man Standing. Debuting to over 13 million viewers, and outperforming the show that occupied the 8p.m. timeslot last season, No Ordinary Family. Even though ratings have fallen a little bit, Last Man Standing continues to perform well against its tough competition on networks.

On the drama side, ABC has much to brag about also, finding two new hit dramas that have kept viewers coming back all season. Revenge, the networks newest primetime soap has given ABC a hit show in the Wednesday 10p.m. slot, an hour that the network has struggled with for numerous seasons. Revenge has the honor of defeating timeslot competitor CSI in the ratings for a couple of weeks this fall in the A18-49 demo, very impressive for a new drama. ABC’s biggest success by far this is the new fairytale drama Once Upon a Time. Debuting late in the season, October 23rd, the Sunday 8p.m. drama debuted to 13 million viewers and a 4.0 rating in the 18-49 demo, making Once Upon a Time the biggest new drama premiere of the season, and the biggest drama premiere for ABC in 5 years. Additionally, the three episodes after the pilot were consistent in the ratings with more than 11 million viewers.

ABC’s biggest flop of the season: the reboot of Charlie’s Angels. What was thought to be a hit for the network turned out to be a high-profile flop for the network on Thursdays’s before Grey’s Anatomy. The male-centric Man Up! also turned out to be a dud on Tuesday nights, as well as the highly anticipated 1960’s airplane drama Pan Am –  which started out well on Sunday nights, premiering to over 11 million viewers. However, in subsequent weeks, viewers fled for the lavish drama and now the show is flying in limbo to see if it will return to the schedule before May, or face cancellation.

ABC is seemed to save many of its most-anticipated shows for the spring season, which include the new comedy Apt 23, the Shonda Rhimes produced drama Scandal, the paranormal/horror drama The River (Tuesday, February 7th), the hopeful Desperate Housewives successor GCB (Sunday, March 4th), drama series Missing (Thursday, March 15th), and the controversial cross dressing sitcom Work It (Tuesday, January 3rd).

It will be interesting to see if ABC can keep its success streak going into the new year.

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