ABC could be heading into one of their most difficult seasons yet. Along with the announcement of the upcoming seventh season of Scandal being the show's last (which was somewhat predictable), one would think ABC would be trying to keep as many of their stable performers on the schedule as possible. This is not the case, as the network recently cancelled their second most watched comedy Last Man Standing after an impressive six season run.The show was a stable performer on Friday nights which are notoriously hard for the shows to find an audience. ABC also cancelled the show's companion Dr. Ken which was also fairly stable despite having less viewers and lower ratings. I have no idea why ABC decide to cancel a successful Friday comedy block.
The network has finally found a brand of comedy which works for them (family-orientated comedies) and the Friday comedy block was yet another example of how successful ABC's comedy development had become.
ABC was the only network to have three separate comedy blocks and during pilot season, I considered the possibility of ABC adding more comedies to Friday nights (the pilot Household Name, which is still in contention, would have been a great addition) or even adding a comedy block to Sundays (Once Upon A Time's ratings have suffered a steep drop, Quantico is a flop and the other dramas ABC have tried on Fridays have also under performed) Only Fox airs comedies (mostly animated) on Sundays so ABC would have been heading into uncluttered territory.
Next season two drama series will air on ABC Fridays: a rebooted version of Once Upon A Time and new Marvel series Inhumans. There are already numerous action-orientated dramas on Friday nights which makes the night more competitive despite being lower rated. Furthermore, Once's ratings are likely to drop in its new time slot which does not bode well for Inhumans, a high-budget limited series. ABC have yet to produce a successful Marvel orientated programme (don't let Agent's of SHIELD's longevity fool you, its ratings are dire) and based on its timeslot and lack of trailer, it does not seem like ABC has much faith in Inhumans.
Agents of SHIELD will take over the slot after Inhumans finishes its 8 episode run, moving from its Tuesday night time slot and I dread seeing the ratings it pulls on its new night. On the other hand, both Once and SHIELD may be able to attract a younger/family orientated audience based on their content. This could explain why Channing Dungey decided to banish both shows to Fridays.
All we can do now is hope the shocking cancellations and new nights are for the best and garner some success for ABC.