May 13, 2012



Mitch Metcalf and I, along with veteran network executive Ted Frank, have put together our own versions of the schedules (the real ones will be announced at the nework Upfronts in New York next week).

We’ve posted our recommended schedules for NBC, FOX and CBS.  ABC will announce its schedule on Tuesday, but before that, now that we know what the network will be picking up, renewing and canceling, here’s what we’d recommend, night by night:

MONDAY:  DANCING WITH THE STARS isn’t at all what it used to be, and barring the participation of some super-exciting contestant, it’s not likely to be again, especially airing against The Voice.  But it still provides 2 hours of solidly rated, advertiser-friendly content for the network, and unless ABC is extraordinarily hot on its new shows, it should pick its battles and leave Dancing where it is.  Castle has found a loyal audience at 10PM, no reason to change it.  

TUESDAY:  LAST MAN STANDING dwindled all season, and even though it’s been renewed, it shouldn’t occupy such important real estate.  The network should stick with comedies here, however, even against FOX’s anticipated 4-sitcom night.   The exhaustively titled HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE (between this and Don’t Trust the B____ In Apt 23, does ABC hate Twitter?), and Dan Fogelman’s NEIGHBORS could go here, followed by the returning DANCING WITH THE STARS RESULTS hour.  (We now know that NBC is moving The Voice Results to 8PM, which should help ABC.)  Body Of Proof was another renewed bubble show that should go somewhere less valuable.  Until last week’s strange plunge, PRIVATE PRACTICE was doing nicely in this spot, so let’s assume for now that was a glitch and the show can run out its final season there.

WEDNESDAY:  At some point in the season, ABC will probably want to test out a new half-hour after MODERN FAMILY at 9:30PM.  But for now, DON’T TRUST THE B___ IN APT 23 is still a new, growing show, and could use a little more time in its sheltered timeslot.  The 8PM hour is working just fine, and REVENGE, which has been more of a bubble show in the ratings than the hype suggests, should stay put.

THURSDAY:  8PM has been a black hole for ABC all season, and the network will have to keep trying.  The Anthony Edwards conspiracy vehicle ZERO HOUR can be the next offering, leading in to the Shonda Rhimes pair of GREY’S ANATOMY and SCANDAL.

FRIDAY:  Here’s the place for ABC’s multi-camera (and let’s face it, old-skewing) sitcoms, an hour of LAST MAN STANDING and the new MALIBU COUNTRY with Reba McEntire.  PRIMETIME and 20/20 keep the lights on the rest of the evening.

SATURDAYCollege Football occupies this night in the Fall.

SUNDAY:  An evening of great risk and opportunity for ABC.  ONCE UPON A TIME has been a night-opening hit (after the eternal filler of AMERICA’S FUNNIEST HOME VIDEOS), but with Desperate Housewives and GCB both gone, new blood is needed.  This is the place for the network’s most highly-touted new drama NASHVILLE, followed by the more adult soap-meets-gangsters drama RED WIDOW.



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."