ABC Schedule Analysis: Puzzle Pieces Are

ABC has lined up what looks to be one of its strongest schedules in years, making key moves midweek, but largely keeping Friday, Sunday and Monday intact.

For a second straight year, the Alphabet is making big changes on Tuesday — but at least this time, the selections make some sense. “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” was a self-starter in its rookie season, and should do fine as it moves to 9. And this allows the net to use it as a lead-in to the intriguing “Forever” at 10. Starring Ioan Gruffudd as an immortal medical examiner, “Forever” has something of a genre feel to it, and should fit well here.

In recent years, ABC’s Tuesday has been all over the map, and the net had a very difficult time closing out the night (think of the 10 p.m. bombs this season: “Lucky Seven,” “Killer Women” and “Mind Games”), but a solid 9 p.m. drama should make it a bit easier. Also giving “Forever” a better chance it’s that it’s a procedural (albeit with a supernatural twist).

The 8 p.m. block of new female-friendly comedies “Selfie” (new title, please) and “Manhattan Love Story” isn’t an ideal lead-in to “Agents of SHIELD,” but the upside is that there will be no other comedies in the hour. Also, the laffers can be promoted in the net’s heavily female-skewing Sunday and Monday lineups.

As suggested earlier, the moves of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” to 8 and 9 p.m., respectively, make sense as they put the hotter “Scandal” in the highest-viewed hour, takes the pressure off “Grey’s Anatomy” as it enters its 11th season, and also allows for the net’s favorite new show, “How to Get Away With Murder,” to benefit from a “Scandal” lead-in and cap the night.

On Wednesday, “The Goldbergs” is moving over from Tuesday and should thrive in the half-hour between “The Middle” and “Modern Family.” And at 9:30 p.m., the family-themed “Black-ish” (pictured) has a better shot than the young-singles comedies airing in the slot of late (“Happy Endings,” “Super Fun Night,” “Mixology”).

ABC has been strong on Fridays despite its softness at 8:30 p.m. between “Last Man Standing” and “Shark Tank.” New multi-cam “Cristela” should be a good fit (better than this season’s single-cam “The Neighbors”) and could help the shows on either side of it.

Sunday didn’t need any tinkering, as the addition of “Resurrection” and timeslot change for “Revenge” brought pretty good results late this season. “Resurrection” won’t be a full 22-episode order, and a new drama likely will bow in its spot after the Oscars.

I wondered how musical fairytale-themed comedy “Galavant” might fit into the net’s plans, and slotting it in the Sunday 8 p.m. “Once Upon a Time” slot when the drama’s on hiatus makes sense. And I was happy to see that Marvel’s “Agent Carter” is being held for midseason and will spell “Agents of SHIELD” when it takes a break, rather than asked to carry a timeslot itself.

The Alphabet, which is closing the season on a winning streak, could be a real contender for the 18-49 crown next season. And certainly, cutting down on repeats and strengthening its midweek — including that bugaboo hour on both Tuesday and Thursday — are big steps toward getting there.

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