Monday, October 08, 2018

TV: Who's destroying ABC?

In March 1981, Rona Barrett infamously broke the news that a psychic, Beverly Dean,  was running ABC.  Were she on NBC’s TODAY SHOW currently, her breaking news would be that an idiot, Channing Dungey , was running ABC.  She makes that ever more clear with each passing day.


Take Fridays.  She’s decided to bring back TGIF – Thank Goodness It’s Friday.  She even brought some old faces on for the promos – people who used to appear on TGIF programs.  They aren’t on any now.

TGIF programming began in 1989 and would go on to offer shows such as FAMILY MATTERS revolving around Jaleel White’s Urkel, BOY MEETS WORLD revolving around Ben Savage’s Cory and Danielle Fishel’s Topanga, STEP BY STEP revolving around Staci Keanan’s Dana and Sasha Mitchell’s Cody,  and SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH revolving around Melissa Joan Hart’s title character.  As the nineties wound down, so did TGIF.  In 2003, they briefly tried to bring it back with HOPE & FAITH, GEORGE LOPEZ, LIFE WITH BONNIE, LESS THAN PERFECT, 8 SIMPLE RULES, COMPLETE SAVAGES and MARRIED TO THE KELLYS.  It was a failure, a complete failure. 

HOPE & FAITH was often funny, that wasn’t the issue.  The issue was this wasn’t TGIF.  It was never going to be TGIF.  It lasted two years and was quickly gone, a failure. 

It takes a real idiot not to learn from mistakes.  Enter Channing.  She’s returned the TGIF logo.  She hasn’t learned a damn thing. 

Restarting TGIF, for the idiot Channing, meant adding FRESH OFF THE BOAT and SPEECHLESS to the line up that already includes the hour long CHILD SUPPORT and 20/20.  Let’s review.

CHILD SUPPORT is a game show starring Fred Savage.  Fred starred in THE WONDER YEARS which was a sitcom that did not air as part of TGIF.  20/20 is ABC’s attempt to be 60 MINUTES.  

Neither screams “TGIF!”  Honestly, they don’t even whisper it. 

To this mix, she adds two struggling, low rated sitcoms and calls it TGIF. 

Why in the world would moving SPEECHLESS to Friday nights increase the ratings?  It should have gotten the axe at the end of season one after it’s 7.8 million viewers for the debut fell to four million by the end of the season.  Season two saw it frequently struggle with three million viewers.  Moving crap to Friday nights does not make anyone say THANK GOODNESS IT’S FRIDAY!

FRESH OFF THE BOAT has similar ratings problems.  This is season five for the show – a show that loses about a million with each season debut episode and then struggles further the rest of the season.  It ended last season with 3.6 million viewers.  These are flop numbers.

So two shows that should have been axed forever ago are being carried by Channing for what reason? 

And why dump them on Friday as part of a TGIF banner?

SPEECHLESS showed up last Friday with Minnie Driver dragging the gang to London so she could make nice with her father.  That’s not TGIF material.  It may be GOLDEN GIRLS material.  Minnie’s passed the mid-point for middle age, after all. 

How stupid is Channing?

Remember when we went over the golden era of TGIF above?  The focal points were Urkel, Dana, Cody, Topanga, Corey, Sabrina, etc.   All but Cody were kids.  (Cody was a young adult Dana fell in love with.)  The shows focused on kids.  Kids watched because the shows focused on them.  How hard is that to grasp?  It’s fairly obvious. 

More to the point, the shows featured break out characters.  Urkel was someone kids loved, for example.  FRESH OFF THE BOAT and SPEECHLESS have both been on for years now, there are no break out characters.  That’s why around Staci Keanan’s Dana continued to matter to audiences even after Sasha Mitchell’s character was written off the show.

How do you miss that?  In 2003, when ABC attempted –and failed – to resurrect TIGF, they missed it.  You’d think Channing could learn from that but she appears incapable of learning.  And the proof is in the ratings:

ABC’s revived TGIF lineup got off to a rough start, with relocated comedies Fresh off the Boat (0.6, 2.9 million) and Speechless (0.5, 2.5 million) both down sharply from their previous averages to mark across-the-board series lows. At 9 PM, Child Support (0.4, 2.1 million) was down nearly 50% from its season average on Friday last winter. The performance of the four shows was below that of Once Upon a Time and Marvel’s Inhumans in the time period last fall and it was also below the two-hour documentary special Truth and Lies: Jonestown, Paradise Lost (0.6, 3.1 million) the network aired from 8-10 PM last Friday.

Join us at the Pentagon on October 21st. Hear from Mnar Muhawesh and others as we call for an end to the bipartisan war machine.


Those are awful ratings for any network except THE CW.  For ABC, they’re worse than awful because people do tune in on Friday nights, as Nellie Andreeva notes, they just tune in for CBS and to FOX.  In fact, FOX has the highest rated program of the night: LAST MAN STANDING.

The crash you hear is Channing tossing everything on her desk against the wall.

LAST MAN STANDING would be a great TGIF program because the kids on the show are so popular.  And it is a hit Friday night program. 

If that doesn’t bother Channing, certainly the fact that this hit show used to be on ABC until she cancelled it has to bother her.

That’s right, ABC had the biggest hit of Fridays until Channing cancelled it.  Now FOX has the program and now FOX has the highest rated program on Friday nights.  And Channing?

Take it away, Rona.

Rona Barrett, “I am breaking the news today that an idiot is running – and ruining – ABC. . . ”

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