ABC is prepping several schedule changes including slotting “Ellen” in the Tuesday 8:30 spot currently held by freshman comedy “Life’s Work,” effective March 4. This means that while the veteran sitcom will be on hiatus from its current slot of Wednesday at 9:30 during March and April, it won’t be off the schedule.
The decision to bring back “Ellen,” albeit in a different timeslot, may be motivated in part by politics. Ellen DeGeneres, star of the sitcom from ABC parent Walt Disney’s Touchstone Television, made it clear that she was less than thrilled with being replaced for six weeks by the new DreamWorks Television Arsenio Hall sitcom, especially since “Ellen’s” ratings had improved since moving from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. “Ellen” has been averaging a 10.2 rating and 16 share in households this season, according to Nielsen.
In a statement, ABC Entertainment president Jamie Tarses said, “Ellen DeGeneres is one of television’s most tal-ented and beloved stars, and we value our longterm association with her.”
Other moves said to be in the works at the Alphabet web include benching the Monday night 8-9 p.m. drama “Dangerous Minds” from ABC parent Walt Disney’s Touchstone Television for the Warner Bros./Universal Television romantic/action hour “Spy Game.” That change could take effect as early as March 3.
Also, the Friday sitcom “Clueless” will likely be replaced by the veteran sitcom “Step by Step” in the 9:30 slot starting on March 7. ABC declined to comment on its schedule beyond confirming the return of “Ellen” in place of “Life’s Work.”
Both “Life’s Work,” which is from Touchstone Television, and “Clueless,” which is a Paramount show, will com-plete their 18-episode orders at the end of the February sweeps and will learn of their fate for next season this spring when the web unveils its fall schedule.
“Life’s Work” had been averaging a 9.5 rating and 15 share in households, according to Nielsen, and usually fell off from its “Roseanne” lead-in.
“Clueless,” which already had moved from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., has been averaging an 8.5/15.
“Dangerous Minds,” which will finish its order of 17 episodes at the end of next month, had been averaging a 6.6/11.