November 2, 2013

THE SKED: ABC Culls the Herd


It was high time for ABC to make decisions about its new sitcoms, and now it has.  Both THE GOLDBERGS and TROPHY WIFE have received full 9-episode back orders, and SUPER FUN NIGHT a more half-hearted order of 4 additional episodes, while BACK IN THE GAME will not extend beyond its 13-episode initial order (much of which, one would think, may be burned off during the relatively dead December/January period).

Some of these decisions are moderately surprising–for example, the support for Trophy Wife, which is the lowest-rated of the new sitcoms.  The Goldbergs seems to have survived largely on the strength of its performance last week, where it held its full audience from a week before (albeit an unthrilling 1.7, and airing against a special X Factor rather than New Girl on FOX) despite having a rerun Agent of SHIELD as its lead-in.  Trophy Wife seems to have been endorsed because of all the shows it has its creative house most clearly in order.  That’s not the same as saying it’s any kind of great comedy, but it’s a show that has a clear picture of what it’s trying to do, and mostly does it.  It also helps that the show airs against The Mindy Project, FOX’s lowest-rated comedy, which gives Trophy Wife some company at the bottom.

The extra 4 episodes to Super Fun Night feel more like an order to fill a scheduling hole than a real show of support, and it would require an awful development season (or an unexpected uptick in the ratings) for the show to return next fall.  Back In the Game, for its part, was inoffensive enough, but it wasn’t doing anything with the post-Middle timeslot, and had attracted no real buzz.  Perhaps the more interesting implication here is that ABC is sticking by The Neighbors for now, rather than moving Back In the Game to Fridays, in what would have seemed like a natural spot after Last Man Standing, another comedy about a grumpy old man.

On the drama side, Betrayal was always meant to be a fall run only, and it appears that ABC will stick it out (much as CBS is doing with Hostages) until the show runs out of episodes.  Once Upon A Time In Wonderland is unlikely to receive an additional order, but the spin appears to be that it was intended as a limited run as well.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."