Market Overview

What Investors Need To Know About ABC's New 2016 Fall Season

What Investors Need To Know About ABC's New 2016 Fall Season

It is that time of the year again when networks reboot themselves with a brand new schedule and a brand new crop of rookie series. For investors, it is an important period as well, as it can give them a snapshot of how a network will do over the next season, and in many cases, how that will impact the network’s parent company.

Below is a network-by-network breakdown of the "big five," showcasing all the big moves, risky decisions and most interesting new shows that could impact the ratings starting this month.

ABC (parent company, Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS)) ended the 2015–2016 lagging rivals to the point that its board ousted Paul Lee from the president position and installed Channing Dungey. Dungey wasted no time putting her mark on the network by axing a sizable number of under-performing shows. A lot is riding on this new roster, and ABC is confident it will reclaim a number of viewers as a result.

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Biggest Move: Expanding Comedy


ABC’s strong suit for years has been comedy. From multi-Emmy winner “Modern Family” to the under-appreciated “The Middle,” Wednesday night has long been home to some of the best laughers on TV. This fall, ABC is smartly further expanding its comedy footprint to Tuesday where its dabbled as of late. Moving “The Middle” to serve as a anchor is a prudent move and shifting “The Goldbergs” to fill that empty position should pay dividends

Riskiest Move: Remodeling 10 p.m.

10 p.m. is a important hour for the major networks, but ABC rarely had success in that slot over 2015–2016, so the decision to start basically from scratch was needed. The question becomes, did the right shows go into those slots? Two of the new rookies installed there are highly buzzed about (“Conviction” and “Designated Survivor”) and going into slots that had previously been occupied by long-running series (“Castle,” “Nashville”), while the other changes involve shows being moved up a hour (“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” and “Quantico”). Nothing about those shows gives any guarantees, but it puts the network in a better position to start.

New Show Most Likely To Succeed: ‘Designated Survivor’

“24” worked for a number of reasons, but chief among them was the appeal of lead Kiefer Sutherland. ABC signing the Emmy-winning star was a smart move, and the project has been among the most anticipated since first hearing its premise. The drama follows a low-level Cabinet official who, after a mass terror attack, is elevated to president. The concept of a “designated survivor” is a real thing, and that’s of interest to audiences.

New Show Most Likely To Be Cancelled First: ‘Downward Dog’

In full disclosure “Downward Dog” is a mid-season replacement, but the cut-down trailer is hard to watch, and it is only a few minutes long. The massively talented Allison Tolman deserves a better show than one that revolves around (and is narrated by) a dog’s inner thoughts.

New Show To Keep An Eye On: ‘Speechless’

ABC has slowly built a roster of comedies centered on different types of families (“Black-ish,” “Fresh Off The Boat,” “The Goldbergs,” etc.). “Speechless” continues that trend by focusing on a special-needs family and the early footage looks promising. Headlined by the likable Minnie Driver, this ensemble could easily resonate with viewers.

Full ratings data available on Benzinga Pro.

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