That ‘Roseanne’-Sized Hole in the Fall Schedule: Here’s What ABC Should Do (Commentary)

It’s something Channing Dungey should have done in the first place

Last Updated: May 30, 2018 @ 2:57 PM

Roseanne Barr’s bad behavior on Twitter has left people without jobs and ABC without a Tuesday night launching pad this fall. So what is the Disney-owned broadcast net supposed to do without its hit property, and now with a key half-hour to fill each week? We’ve got a suggestion — and it involves something ABC should have been doing anyway.

ABC Entertainment Group president Channing Dungey and her team of merry schedulers ought to pull “American Housewife” from Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. and fast-track the midseason-scheduled “Goldbergs” spinoff “Schooled” for the time slot instead. That protects Adam F. Goldberg’s new series, sandwiching it between his original I.P. and ABC’s crown jewel “Modern Family.”

“The Goldbergs” and “Schooled” should have been paired to begin with — just look how well being behind “Big Bang Theory” on the schedule worked out for “Young Sheldon” this past season. We did.

Behind its sequel (of sorts), CBS freshman comedy “Young Sheldon” has averaged a big 3.3 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic this season, per Nielsen’s “most current” ratings data set. That made “Sheldon” higher-rated than all but four entertainment shows on broadcast television — and one of those was sister series “BBT,” while another was “Roseanne.”

“Young Sheldon” may even end up one slot higher and overtake “The Good Doctor” when seven days of delayed viewing for the sitcom’s season finale is counted. In other words, the strategy has worked out pretty well for CBS.

Why was ABC willing to miss out on an admittedly more modest one-two punch like that in the first place? “The Goldbergs” and “Schooled” would be the broadcast channel’s most cohesive comedy hour, if not its highest-rated.

And don’t worry, we’re not canceling “American Housewife” here — we’re actually giving the Katie Mixon sitcom a promotion. Why not shift the Ottos to the “Roseanne” time slot: Tuesdays at 8? “Housewife” was already moving this season anyway — what’s a new night?

The switch to a re-established and even-earlier time slot should only help “Housewife’s” ratings, and that show should pair with new sitcom “The Kids Are Alright” about as well as any non-“Roseanne” series the network currently has. At least, it’d better — TheWrap has all-but-declared it the new lead-in.

Or hell, we don’t care: Swap “Housewife” and the under-rated (and lower-rated) “Speechless” in our plan. In any event, what ABC knows it cannot do is plug a brand new show in to be a self-starter Tuesday at 8 — that would be series suicide.

Here is how ABC’s fall schedule currently looks — new shows, nights and times are in bold.

MONDAY
8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
10:00 p.m. “The Good Doctor”

TUESDAY
8:00 p.m. [EMPTY “ROSEANNE” SLOT] 8:30 p.m. “The Kids Are Alright”
9:00 p.m. “black-ish”
9:30 p.m. “Splitting Up Together”
10:00 p.m. “The Rookie”

WEDNESDAY
8:00 p.m. “The Goldbergs”
8:30 p.m. “American Housewife” (new time)
9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”
9:30 p.m. “Single Parents”
10:00 p.m. “A Million Little Things”

THURSDAY
8:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
9:00 p.m. “Station 19”
10:00 p.m. “How to Get Away with Murder”

FRIDAY
8:00 p.m. “Fresh Off the Boat” (new day and time)
8:30 p.m. “Speechless” (new day and time)
9:00 p.m. “Child Support” (new time)
10:00 p.m. “20/20”

SATURDAY
8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night Football”

SUNDAY
7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors”
9:00 p.m. “Shark Tank”
10:00 p.m. “The Alec Baldwin Show” (new title)

As far as the new midseason hole we’ve just created — who cares? That schedule is not even made yet. But fine, here: ABC can order one of its bubble pilots for the springtime, or maybe even consider rebooting another old series.

Whatever, you’ve got time now, and you’re welcome.

Check out descriptions for the pilots ABC has passed on here. Let us know in the comments section which one you’d like to see get a second life via a late pickup.