TV Feature: 2011 Fall Network TV Schedule Predictions

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ABC (May 17th, 2011)

Update (May 13, 2011): ABC has renewed “Happy Endings,” canceled “V,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Mr. Sunshine,” “No Ordinary Family,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” and “Off the Map”

Happy Endings
Happy Endings
Photo credit: ABC

Bubble Shows: “Better With You,” “Body of Proof,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Happy Endings,” “Mr. Sunshine,” & “V”

Ugh. My head hurts when I think about the life of an ABC programmer. They have had SO many programs that somehow just missed the mark, even though they must have looked good on paper. It’s like they’re cursed by the ghost of “Lost.” How else to explain the total failure of “FlashForward,” “No Ordinary Family,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” “My Generation,” and “V”? Half of those programs have already been canceled and the ones that haven’t are likely to be so next week (with the possible exception of “V”).

The biggest question mark for ABC has to be what to do with their marginal comedies. “The Middle,” “Modern Family,” and “Cougar Town” have already been renewed, and I think that ABC will agree with NBC that three hours of comedy will simply never work and pull Wednesdays back down to two. That leaves one spot at 7:30pm CST for three shows — “Better With You,” “Happy Endings,” “Mr. Sunshine.” The numbers first looked most positive for “Happy Endings,” and that’s the program that I still think has the best chance, largely due to the best reviews that could build word of mouth. (Please watch it. Don’t make me review “Mr. Sunshine” again this fall. It won’t be pretty.)

As for dramas, it took almost all year for the network to find a reasonable hit in “Body of Proof.” It’s not a breakthrough, but they’ll take it. “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Castle,” and “Private Practice” have been renewed, and it would be stunning if “Desperate Housewives” didn’t come back. The network has hits — they just can’t find any new ones.

As for “Brothers & Sisters,” most of this year it looked like it would be canceled, but recent stories about budget cuts and a possibly shortened season makes it look like it’s coming back. At least for one more year. Or half a year. It’s better than nothing.

Sunday: NEW DRAMA/REALITY, Desperate Housewives, Brothers & Sisters
Monday: Dancing With the Stars/The Bachelor, Castle
Tuesday: NEW DRAMA, NEW DRAMA, Body of Proof
Wednesday: The Middle, Happy Endings, Modern Family, Cougar Town, NEW DRAMA
Thursday: Wipeout (or other special/reality programming), Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice
Friday: Supernanny, Primetime, 20/20

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