Will ABC's New Shows Take it From Zero to Hero?

The network has slipped to last place for average viewership. Can it reverse its fortunes with its new development slate?

Apr 22, 2014 at 12:47PM

Each May, advertisers gather in New York to buy airtime from television networks at the annual upfronts market. Last year, Disney's (NYSE:DIS) ABC declined to sell the majority of its commercial space at once, which is customary, and instead finalized deals through July, ultimately pulling in between $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion in commitments from advertisers . ABC will present its new lineup on May 13, and look to improve upon those numbers.


Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Current winners
ABC has some solid ratings-earners on its schedule right now. Dancing With the Stars was Monday's most watched show the last three weeks, pulling in 14.1 million viewers last week . Comedic hit Modern Family continues to anchor Wednesday night, consistently winning the evening with its original broadcasts (as opposed to reruns) and even topping American Idol last week with 9 million viewers compared to Idol's 8.9 million . Grey's Anatomy is having its best season since 2009-2010 and is up 5% in total viewers from this time last year . Political thriller Scandal and freshman comedy The Goldbergs are proving to be fierce competitors in their time slots as well.

Despite the success of these shows, ABC is falling behind the other three major networks in total average viewers this season to date:


Average Viewers (millions)









Source: Nielsen Media Research, as of April 8. 

With ratings averages not going its way, ABC will need a strong schedule to present this May. While Fox has already made series commitments to several programs, ABC has not been aggressive with early orders. However, the network does have some interesting projects on its slate.

The new class
In comedy, Kevin Hart's semi-autobiographical half-hour Keep it Together is generating buzz . The project stars Romany Malco (not Hart himself, who has a recurring role) and follows a divorced husband and wife trying to become friends for the sake of their children . In a completely different vein, the network also has Galavant, a musical comedy written by Dan Fogelman (Tangled; Crazy, Stupid, Love) and featuring original music by Academy-Award winning composer Alan Menken.

Like all networks, ABC has a relationship comedy on its slate. Irreversible is based on the popular Israeli format, Bilti Hafich, and follows the ups and downs of a married couple. Friends fans will be happy to know that David Schwimmer stars and serves as a producer .

On the drama side, ABC did make a 10-episode order for a limited series titled Astronaut Wives Club that is set to air mid-season 2014-2015. The project is based on the book by Lily Koppel. Set in the 1960s, it tells the story of the women whose husbands were pioneers during the US Space Race .

ABC's fall lineup may include yet another Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal) project. Rhimes is executive producing what could be another hit for the network, How to Get Away With Murder, a legal thriller starring Viola Davis (The Help ). Another likely winner will be Secrets & Lies, starring Ryan Phillippe, which ABC ordered to pilot and agreed to pay a penalty if it did not purchase 10 additional episodes. Secrets & Lies follows a man (Phillippe) who discovers the dead body of a small boy and becomes the chief suspect for his murder .

Bottom line
ABC's slate is intriguing, to say the least. The network certainly has the potential to build a lineup mixed with new ideas and reliable names that could help it improve its lackluster ratings, and more importantly, woo advertisers. In ABC's case, there is nowhere to go but up.

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple. 


Aimee Duffy has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information