Monday, February 27, 2023

TV: Is ABC even on the board

ABC seems to be on a non-stop losing streak.  ABBOTT ELEMENTARY is supposed to be the network's saving grace -- and it has won critical praise.  It's just unable to deliver viewers.  BLACKISH was cancelled for having similar numbers in its final two seasons.  Prior to that,  BLACKISH did deliver viewers.  Or there's THE GOLDBERGS.  For nine seasons, it delivered some form of an audience.  In its tenth season, the ratings have fallen down to ABBOTT ELEMENTARY level and ABC announced last week that THE GOLDBERGS was cancelled. 


Other programs like THE ROOKIE have also lost viewers but not so many that ABC needs to cancel the show just yet.  It's really not a good time to be ABC.  The network that was on top only a few years ago, now struggles for viewers and has given up in the struggle for significance.  

Losing Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris didn't help them.  Cancelling ROSEANNE didn't help them.  Worst of all, the garbage that they've put on is a non-stop embarrassment.  Possibly they can take comfort in the fact that this season, they only have one embarrassment -- but it's a huge one.

NOT DEAD YET -- unless you count the ratings -- is a a sitcom they wasted too much time and money on.  It was never going to be a hit.  A so-called comedy about death really requires comic genius.  They went with the run-of-the-mill talents both behind and in front of the camera.  

That's most obvious in their choice of a lead actress: Gina Rodriguez.  What made anyone think the tiny headed actor could deliver an audience?

It's not just her freakish appearance (in the land of TV and film, actors often have heads that are too big, they rarely have heads that are too small for their body) or the fact that she's made a career out of attempting to play much younger than she is (and failing repeatedly at that attempt), it's also her glaring lack of talent.  

It was evident in JANE THE VIRGIN.  An overhyped blend of nonsense that critics couldn't stop pimping (maybe with the DOBBS decision, they'd now find the character Jane trapped carrying another woman's fetus less entertaining), the show never reached an audience.

Some tried to argue that it had an audience for THE CW.  No, it didn't.  Non-stop pimping allowed it to deliver approximately one million viewers an episode.  For a few seasons.  Then it fell to half a million.  This at a time when, for example, SUPERNATURAL was drawing in three million or move viewers a week for THE CW.  

She was too old for the role, she looked freakish and she really can't act.  The latter part became especially obvious when she was going to be the next big thing in movies -- she and the press insisted as they promoted MISS BALA.  The film was a huge bomb.  The only thing worse than its ticket sales in North America?  It's global ticket sales.  As it became obvious that Americans weren't interested in financing Gina's deluded fantasy of film stardom, we were told, "She will appeal on the global market."  Did they never see that tiny head on top of that thick neck.  She was ridiculed in Latino markets for her looks and her attempts at acting.

Yet some idiot at ABC thought she was the actress to build a laugh-less sitcom around.  ABC decided the thing to do with NOT DEAD YET was to air two episodes in a row for the series premiere.  The ratings for that night made it clear that the show was a bomb.  At the half-hour, 800,000 viewers chose any other program over enduring a second episode of NOT DEAD YET.  Since it's so-so debut, it's bled viewers each week. 

They can point to WILL TRENT as a critical success and. unlike THE ROOKIE, not something Spelling and Goldberg would have churned out in the seventies.  In terms of viewers, it continues to build on streaming.  They can also take pride in THE COMPANY YOU KEEP.

As one friend said, "What do you know, ABC finally got THE CATCH right."  Exactly.  THE COMPANY YOU KEEP is like the earlier Shonda Rhimes' series only with charismatic leads -- Catherine Haena Kim and Milo Ventimiglia -- who have real chemistry together.  

And, honestly, that's all an escapist series like THE COMPANY YOU KEEP needs.  No one's viewing for social significance or dramatic reveals.  It's escapist entertainment.  

We spent the weekend watching another series on AMAZON, THE AVENGERS.

No, not an animated program about superheroes.  We were watching season five (or 'series five' as they would call it in the UK) of the long running espionage drama.  This was the season that the show switched to color and the second season that the British series aired on the US ABC network.

Yeah, as you try to muddle through an episode of THE ROOKIE grasp that ABC, once upon a time, had Diana Rigg and Patrick Macnee every Saturday night as Mrs. Peel and Steed.  If you weren't already depressed over the current state of ABC programming, that may do the trick.

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